Palm Sunday – Crown Him – John 12
This message is a part of our series on the Gospel of John.
Find the rest of the messages in this series here.
I’ve got a love/hate relationship with politics. It’s more like a passionate/disinterested relationship with politics. I’m passionate and interested because I love my country. I know that I was incredibly fortunate to be born in America. In Global terms, I already won the lottery.
I’m disinterested because I don’t believe that the great changes we need in our nation will be brought about by the government. It won’t come from the top down. I know the real difference will come in the hearts and lives of people and the government will reflect that difference. The reason we have such a polarity in our nation’s politics is because there’s such a polarity in our people’s hearts. In my interested side, I’ve found it very interesting over this past year as people have tried to intuit which democrats will be seeking a nomination to run against our incumbent president.
There have been several moments where people will point at some trip, action, speech, law, that a politician has introduced at a key moment and people point and say, look! He’s running! Look! She’s running!
There are some obvious clues when a politician is making plans to put their hat in the ring of the primary, but it isn’t official until they file paperwork and make a formal announcement. For many people, Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem for Passover on a donkey right after raising Lazarus from the dead was His formal announcement that He was the Messiah. To them, it was like the formal announcement that He would ascend to bring them political freedom.
Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem was one of many formal announcements that He is the Son of God.
Jesus had been saying the Kingdom is at hand in messages from the very beginning. He had been doing incredible miracles and he’d been claiming to be the Son of God, but this direct fulfillment of prophecy immediately following one of His greatest miracles created this moment when everyone was filled with excitement.
Read John 12:9-15
I’m so glad to be back in the pulpit this week after hearing from our guest speaker last week, but man didn’t he do an incredible job? He had us crying with his opening song before he even started preaching- and the conversations I’ve had with many of you this past week have been incredible. As we come off of this heavy sermon series on suicide, anxiety, and depression and look toward Easter from the perspective of Palm Sunday- I want you to see a clear connection between the two. There was a theme that arose through all 3 weeks on Suicide, Anxiety, and Depression.
In the testimony that Mandy gave about coping with the loss of her father and nephew to suicide, she said that praise was a major part of her emotional well being today. She said that she’d grab her guitar and sing praises when things got dark. When we looked at the topic of anxiety, we saw that Peter wrote to people facing persecution with a list of reasons to be thankful, and then when James opened up the message last week with a song entitled “praise the pain away” I saw that this thread had run throughout the whole series…
Praise is practical.
Today I want you to see that Praise more than just practical. When the people worshipped Jesus, it was fitting. It was right. He deserved it. He was worthy of it.
Praise is more than practical, praise is appropriate.
It was right that the people praised Jesus in this way. Not everyone thought so, in fact some of the religious leaders told Jesus that he should rebuke his followers.
Luke 19 gives us this perspective:
39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
When Jesus says the stones would cry out, He’s saying this moment is so powerful, so poignant that if no one speaks up, if no one was lifting up praise, that it would be such a vacuum, it would be so out of place, that the rocks themselves would offer up praise to fill the void… Now, something that’s incredibly interesting about this passage is what John says in the verse right after what we read…
16These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.
John says, that at this point the disciples didn’t really understand what this was all about. They didn’t even realize the role that they were playing in all of it, but looking back they realize what was really happening.
The reason I want to point this out to you, is that I think you might be in the same place that the disciples were in on Palm Sunday. You know it’s important, but you don’t really know why…. And because you don’t really know why Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are important, you don’t realize just HOW important it is.
If we don’t understand the how of Easter, we can’t fully appreciate the what or why.
Let me illustrate what I mean by sharing a story I heard Tim Keller tell years ago. Imagine a woman has a pendant or brooch that was given to her by a great aunt. The brooch is pretty and she likes it, but it’s not really the kind of thing she would wear, it’s not really in fashion.
She even lets her daughter play with it when she’s playing dress up and it goes missing. They aren’t really worried about it, life is busy, and it is lost for quite some time.
When they buy the daughter a new bed, they find it against the wall behind the old bed. She puts it back in the drawer of jewelry she rarely wears… She tells this story in passing to a friend who asks a couple of question about the brooch and says, you know that might actually be worth something. You should get it checked out.
So she takes the brooch to a jeweler and he pulls out his jewelers loope and puts it under his looking glass.
The Jeweler says, hmm. interesting. Then he starts speaking excitedly and fast… It’s some old type of Jewelry work that has been lost to time, and it’s rare, and precious, and priceless.
The change in actions of the jeweler bears out in the life of the woman because she realizes this thing she hasn’t really valued is really the most valuable thing she owns! She treats it differently. She keeps it safe. She stares at it, she tells her friends the story, she looks forward to passing it down to her children.
John 12:16 says that when Jesus was glorified, they realized these things. In other words, once Jesus had resurrected form the dead, all the things Jesus had done and said made sense to them.
When the disciples saw Jesus through the lens of His resurrection they recognized His true purpose.
When the disciples could view Jesus’ life through the lens of His death, burial, and resurrection they realized he hadn’t come to over throw some oppressive government or corrupt religious system, but rather he’d come to battle cosmic spiritual forces and balance the sales of sin and justice.
Jesus did not come to overthrow an oppressive government or corrupt religion, but rather He came to battle cosmic spiritual forces and balance the sales of sin and justice.
They saw that when Jesus arrived, He came to die for the sins of mankind. They saw that all of the prophecies and practices of their people through the generations has been pointing to this sacrifice and payment for sin.
From the very beginning God had been telling them that He would send His son to do this very thing…
In the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sin and death and corruption begin their run into all of the world and into every story, God says that he will send a son who will crush the work of the serpent- the snake. In crushing the head of the serpent, the heel of the Son will be bruised…
Then God speaks to Abraham and tells him that through Abraham’s descendants all of the world will be blessed.
One of Abraham’s descendants, Moses leads all of Abrahams descendants out of bondage and God tells Moses that they should worship God through the rituals of the Temple, all of which point to the separation that sin and uncleanness bring between God and Man and how the cleansing of Truth and the sacrifice of shed blood bring back that relationship.
God speaks to Judah and says that a king will arise from his descendants who will rule forever…
A king named David ascends, but he’s far from eternal, he’s very mortal and very imperfect- the curse of sin chases him like it has all other men…
All of this was point to the Son of God who would arrive and arise to conquer sin once and for all.
All along the way, people had a hard time seeing what God was up to because they looked only in their limited perspective or in their current situation-
The people did the same on Palm Sunday- they were looking for a king who would fix their current situation.
Jesus came to conquer sin for all people in all generations.
Like the woman who missed the value of the brooch because it was in style, it wasn’t fashionable in her current context, we often miss the power and value of what Jesus did because we’re just looking for what would be helpful in this current moment, what would be expedient right now,
But Jesus din’t come to be fashionable or powerful in one day, one nation, or one age… He came to conquer sin for all people, for all ages, and when He was glorified, the disciples could see this…
Jesus is the conquering King for us in 2019,
He was the victorious King for the Jews 2000 years ago.
He was the victorious King for the American pioneers.
He’s the conquering king from the powerful Europeans in the middle ages
He’s the conquering king for the Samburu people in Africa
He’s the conquering king for the Japanese people in Torkazawa…
He does this by taking the punishment for sin of all mankind on His own shoulders, He carries it up a hill just outside the city He rode in on to shouts of praise, and there He dies to make the once and for all payment for my sin and yours.
When we realize this glory, this value, how can we not, like the people who gathered on that Palm Sunday, worship?
Worship comes from the old English word “Worthship” meaning to give something the appropriate value.
When we worship, we simply respond appropriately to the great worth, the great price, the great value of the king!
There’s a pastor retiring today. He’s been in the ministry for 50 years. He was pastor to Nicole and I for just a brief time while we were in Bible College.
I wish I could shake his hand today and say thank you.
But we are separated by many miles.
We were separated from God by our sin, but Christ’s sacrifice on the cross makes it possible for us to be restored to Him, to be brought back into relationship with Him.
The cross isn’t just a reason to wors\
The highest form of praise you can give is to decide you’ll follow Him for the rest of your life, to turn from your sin and follow Him.
Because of his sacrifice on the cross, you can be restored to fellowship with Him.