They Were Dancin’ In the Streets
Can you just see the headlines some 2000 years ago in the Jerusalem Times - THEY WERE DANCING IN THE STREETS – Jesus of Nazareth has the town rocking and rolling in the streets. This Jesus has everything all shook up.
Dancing in the Streets – Marvin Gaye
All we need is music, sweet music,
There'll be music everywhere
There'll be swingin' swayin', and records playin,
Dancin' in the street
“All Shook Up” – Elvis Presley
My hands are shaky and my knees are weak
I can’t seem to stand on my own two feet
Who do you thank when you have such luck?
I’m in love
I’m all shook up!
Hard to believe, but it’s been 54 years since Elvis Presley’s song “All Shook Up” was at the top of the charts. It reached the pinnacle of Billboard magazine’s charts in April of 1957, and stayed there for eight weeks.
But Elvis is not the first to shake things up. Jesus shook things up – He created quite a stir – He got people excited about God. They were excited enough to have a impromptu parade. Jesus the King of kings and the Lord of lords leaves the city of Jerusalem “all shook up and dancing in the streets.” But Jesus is on top of the chart for over 2000 years.
Jesus has just finished telling his followers the parable of the greedy and vengeful king, a shocking story (which has some similarities to the parable of the talents) which ends with the monarch giving the command, “But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them--bring them here and kill them in front of me.' “(Luke 19:27)
- Some of the people in the parade were imaging a King that would Slaughter them! Wipe them out! Kill ’em all, and let God sort ’em out. Even some of the followers Jesus were thinking it was His time to get things right – like getting rid of Rome and King Herod.
- At this moment the disciples and the crowds around Jesus are having a hard time predicting what Jesus is going to bring. Salvation or slaughter? Reconciliation or revenge? Peace or a sword? The disciples are feeling the anxiety and the possible expectations.
- They’re nervous wrecks. It’s hard to tell what Jesus is going to do as he approaches the city of Jerusalem.
- They really don’t think that Jesus was going to die even though He had told them what was in store for Him.
As he approaches Jerusalem, it appears that Jesus has another agenda.
- From the Mount of Olives, Jesus dispatches two disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here” (v. 30).
- He picks a colt, because He wants to fulfill the words of the prophet Zechariah, “Lo, your king comes to you … on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9).
- He hungers to show the crowd humility, instead of arrogance — He enters the city as Zechariah predicted He would, “humble and riding on a donkey” (v. 9). The choice of a donkey also sends the message that He is the bringer of peace instead of violence. If He had wanted to take down the Romans, he most certainly would have entered on a war horse.
I. Looks like this king is more interested in reconciliation than revenge.
- Jesus sends the message that his entrance isn’t human — it’s divine.
- When the disciples go into the village in search of the colt they find that everything is supernaturally scripted and perfectly prepared. When the owners of the donkey ask, “Why are you untying the colt?” the disciples reply, “The Lord needs it,” and this simple answer seals the deal (Luke 19:31).
- When Jesus rides along, people spontaneously spread their cloaks on the road, showing their awe and acclamation. They seem to be saying “I’m in love with you Jesus – so let us dance to your majesty.”
- At the same time, the whole multitude of the disciples grasps the divine dimension of the moment, and begins to praise God for all the deeds of power that they have seen (vv. 37-38).
- What begins as an ordinary parade for the possible king ends as an extraordinary procession for the Messiah. “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” shout the disciples. “Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” (v. 38).
1. You can almost hear an echo of the angels that welcomed the baby Jesus in Bethlehem —"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." “Luke 2:14
- Clearly, this Messiah is more focused on salvation than on slaughter
- Of course, not all is peaceful in the city of Jerusalem. The Pharisees aren’t dancing in the streets – they are pretty shook up.
- They complain to Jesus – make them shut up. “Teacher, order your disciples to stop,” scold some of the Pharisees.
- And Jesus, knowing that his kingship is beyond human control, answers them, "If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!"
- There would have been a rock concert if the people wouldn’t have sung His praises.
- So Jesus enters Jerusalem, and he gives the city a shake. The shock waves continue as he weeps over the city, cleanses the temple, denounces the scribes and predicts the destruction of Jerusalem.
- The chaos increases as Jesus is betrayed, arrested, sentenced to death and killed on a cross. It is hard for us to get into the excitement that is happening because we know what’s coming.
- But what an experience this must have been. Would we have been in the crowd? Would we have celebrated His coming and join the parade?
- When we follow our divine king Jesus, we are making this move out of love — not obligation. If we are going to the parade it is out of a desire to see and experience the Grand Marshall of life – He is at the head of the parade.
- It’s entirely voluntary, like any connection of the heart. We should follow Jesus because we find ourselves intensely attracted to Him and to His mission and His message, deeply drawn to his work of salvation, reconciliation, and peace.
- Jesus is the generous and forgiving Messiah who enters Jerusalem with the sole purpose of sacrificing His life for us.
- He wants Dance Partners – Wouldn’t it be great to Dance with the STAR of Life.
- Following Jesus as the Messiah means that we’re going to be “all shook up.” As Disciples of Christ, we’re going to find ourselves out of sync with a world – marching to a different Drum Major.
- For example our Grand Marshal tells us “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28) — this approach to life doesn’t necessarily fit the highly competitive and conflict-driven world we live in, whether we work in business, politics, education, or the military.
- Follow Jesus, and you might find yourself feeling as out of place as I would dancing in the streets
There is a huge benefit to following Jesus, especially if we don’t mind being “all shook up,” there will be the “sweet music” of Jesus and dancing to a different world beat. When we walk behind Jesus in the parade of life and when He takes the lead as our Dance Partner life becomes a whole lot clearer.
Jesus comes to us as a king, and gives us clarity about what it means to be a Christian. He loves us, he invites us to love him, and he challenges us to focus on salvation, reconciliation and peace.It’s a life worth living; even when He shakes us up.
Please click here for slides to accompany the sermon.