Theme: The Only Kingdom That Will Remain
During this week leading up to Easter Sunday, we look at the story of Jesus’ coming into Jerusalem and learn about the nature of his kingdom as seen in his own suffering and death for sinners.
Scripture: Matthew 21:4-5
And then finally, you see the devil tempting Him to a shortcut to a great kingdom. He said to Him, “If you’ll just fall down and worship me, I’ll give you all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.” I’ve noticed the plural there. All the kingdoms of the world and their glory. I supposed that’s a contrast to that little kingdom of Judah. It’s almost as if the devil would say, “Why are you going to waste your time on this little people, this far- off corner of the world? It’s ridiculous. Who even cares who is the king of Judah? But if you’ll fall down and worship me, I’ll give you something that’s worth being king of. I’ll give you the glory of Greece and the grandeur of Rome. I’ll give you the power of Europe in the Middle Ages. I’ll give you England. I’ll give you the United States. All of that can be yours if you’ll just fall down and worship me.”
But Jesus turned His back on that. Not because He didn’t care about a great kingdom but because He had His mind set on a kingdom that was even greater. That’s why He came in the way He did. He came to show that His kingdom is built not with the stir of drums or the clash of cymbals, but by the transformation of the heart in gentle and meek ways.
What I commend to you today is a consideration of that kingdom, because, you see, the value of that kingdom is that it will always remain. We look at the kingdoms of the world with their glory and we look at that which is spectacular, and living in the midst of them we marvel. People are so attracted to the seats of power. And yet we have to realize that all of that will pass away. It is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the invisible kingdom, the kingdom established in gentleness and meekness, based upon His own death and resurrection, that alone that will remain.
When we were in Washington, D.C., for the second Congress on the Bible, on the final evening Chuck Colson was speaking on the kingdoms of the world and the kingdom of God. Near the end of his address, he said something like this: “It’s a nice warm night tonight. The sky is clear. The stars are sparkling. When you leave here, I suggest that you don’t just go back to your hotel room, but that instead you walk on down Pennsylvania Avenue to that point where as you look up the avenue to your left you can see the Capital glistening in the lights at night. And as you look to the right you can see the White House and then the Washington Monument in that direction. He went on to say, “It’s one of the most beautiful sights in the world. It’s my favorite sight in all the world. It represents the power and the glory of the United States of America, something of which I am very, very proud.”
Then he said, “As you stand there looking at it, these great monuments in all their glory, remember this: The day is coming when those monuments, glorious as they are today, will all be ruins. They will all fall away into the dust. And as you think of that, remember that it is only the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ that will remain. I would say that as you stand there quietly, if you listen very carefully you ought to be able to hear the words of Handel’s Messiah which sings of that day when the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.”
What Colson said is true. That is what Palm Sunday is all about. Why should we who are Christian people give our lives for human kingdoms? We’re citizens of the world and we have our duty to the state. But to sell your life for that kind of glory is to buy the whole world at the cost of your soul. We build for that which is eternal. When all of this has passed away, those whom God has brought to Himself by faith in Jesus Christ are going to be gathered around the throne of grace. Let’s build for that day. Let’s teach about that king. Let’s proclaim that gospel. Because in the final analysis that is the only thing that will ever transform the world.
What is the third temptation Satan uses?
What is the significance of Satan’s reference to more than one kingdom that would be given to Jesus in exchange for His worship?
Application: Are you allowing yourself to be captivated by aspects of the world’s kingdom? What affections and aspirations need to be altered or stopped in order to seek first Jesus’ kingdom and his righteousness?