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March 24, 2024

Let the Same Mind Be in You

Pastor KJ Kim

Philippians 2: 5-11; Matthew 27: 19-26

On Palm Sunday, Jesus, with his little company, rides a little donkey entering the city of Jerusalem. Jesus’s arrival in the city of Jerusalem caused upset, as Jesus challenged head-to-head with the settled power, as Jesus brought the good news to the city that concerns the left behind.

Everything Jesus did and said contradicted the values and expectations of state power and synagogue tradition. Jesus obeyed only God, who led him to a new kind of foolishness, a new kind of vulnerability, and a new kind of world. Of course, the authorities could not tolerate such a radical and subversive person who contradicted their truth. And so, they executed him as an enemy of the state.

Jesus is not crucified because of some theological concept. Jesus is crucified because the Roman empire cannot tolerate such a transformative force set loose in the old world. That brings us to Jesus’s triumphal entry on Sunday, his last supper on Thursday, and his death on Friday, all because of his uncompromising obedience to God’s way in the world.

This story, a seemingly strange and challenging story; however, we are called to journey—all the way in obedience to death, then a long desperate pause, and then exalted in honor—from Palm Sunday through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and to Easter Sunday. It is the story of our faith journey and the task of this holy week.

That is the reason Paul wrote today’s passage to the specific congregation in the Greek city of Philippi, the congregation that Paul loved best of all the churches that he had planted. It is because Paul is not concerned about the Easter mystery but concerned about the reality of the church.

Paul says to the church, be like Jesus, think like Jesus, have a mind like Jesus, have a sense of self in the world like the way Jesus has shown to us by emptying himself, even the death on the cross. We are reminded once again in this Lenten season not to be so mindless. Do not be like sheep that imitate the old world. Do not act like fearful citizens of the Roman empire.

Instead, be like Jesus, think like Jesus, have a mind like Jesus, and have a sense of self in the world, like the way Jesus emptied himself on the cross. That is why we, as the church, keep practicing the Lenten journey, which is a calling for us to be deeply and intentionally different. This is a long week in our faith.

This journey is a calling for the church to be like Jesus, think like Jesus and have a mind like Jesus—proclaiming the truth that the church should be an exhibit to the world how our common life can be ordered differently—all of that requires a different mind of obedience.

Thanks be to God.

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