The King Has Come (John 12: 12-19)

The King Has Come (John 12: 12-19)

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MPS: The King has come and can only be properly understood through the lens of the cross.

I. The King has come in victory. (12-13)

12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”

There are two crowds at this point; those who were at the feast and those who had heard what transpired with Jesus and Lazarus. The crowd that had witnessed the resurrection of Lazarus went on to proclaim the magnificent work of Jesus. This brought more worshippers of the King.

And how did these people display their love for their king? How did they rejoice? They shouted in praise and laid down palm branches which symbolized royalty and military victory to the ancient audience. They recognized that Jesus was royalty. He is the King of Kings. Although there is truth to the claim that Jesus would come in and be victorious they misunderstood what this meant.

The crowd believed that Jesus’ coming was one signaled political and military conquest.They believed that the King had come to take His throne by removing the Roman Empire from their control over Jerusalem and Israel. It was believed that this would result in military conflict.

Despite some of these misunderstandings we see that Christ the King truly does come in victory. He displayed His victory over death by raising Lazarus. He displayed His victory over nature when He stopped the storm on the Sea of Galilee. His victory is only properly understood through the lens of the cross. It is there that He fully defeated death. It is at the cross that sin has lost its hold on God’s people. It’s at the cross that our victory was sealed by our glorious King. “he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death,ak to present you holy, faultless,al and blameless before him” (Col. 1:22)

II. The King has come as prophesied. (14-15)

14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” 

John is referencing the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 that the Messiah would come in on a colt and defeating all of His enemies. Some have mistaken the donkey to be a symbol of peace, though it is a symbol of humility, in the context of Zechariah 9 we see the King removing all tools of power and oppression over His people. The King, the Savior prophesied in Zechariah would come in humility but would also see His enemies submit without exception. “But behold, the Lord will strip her of her possessions and strike down her power on the sea, and she shall be devoured by fire.”(Zech. 9:4)

The Messiah would defeat His enemies and free His people , “because of the blood of my covenant with you. (Zech. 9:11) This reminds us of the history of Israel. God made a covenant with Israel through Abraham and that covenant remained throughout the history of God’s people. In spite of Israel’s unfaithfulness to her God, He remained faithful. 

God remained faithful when Israel worshipped a golden snake and a golden calf. God remained faithful when she turned to the gods of the Babylonians. God remained faithful to David and Samson despite their disobedience. God remained faithful to a nation that would reject Him through the persecution of His Son. We see that God stays true to His promises and those promises are sealed by His own blood in Christ.

III. The King’s coming wasn’t understood rightly until His resurrection. (16)

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.

The witnesses to Jesus and His signs all had perspectives as 1st century Jews. Even those who spent the most time with Jesus didn’t fully understand why He came, they didn’t even understand why He needed to die. They understood Jesus to be the Messiah, but their perspective would change at Christ’s resurrection. They would no longer view the Messiah as a King who would lead a warring Army against their oppressors. They would see Him as “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Col. 1:15)

We must look at ourselves and see what assumptions affect our perspectives. How we view Jesus is influenced by those who have taught us, our experiences, and what we’ve read. Just like these 1st Century Jews we can completely misunderstand Jesus. But we should live lives in a perpetual state of learning and worshipping. Our perspective changes as we learn more about Christ through study, prayer, worship, and fellowship. When Paul writes, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[b]may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16) He is informing us how our lives change as we are equipped for every good work by the Word of God and through the Holy Spirit.

IV. The King’s coming evokes a reaction from all. (17-19)

 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.” 

Lazarus’ resurrection by Christ continued to have influence the King’s followers were  emboldened to proclaim His glory. We have seen throughout the Gospel of John a number of signs and miracles that revealed Christ’s glory. As the Gospel has progressed we are given more and more evidence as to who Jesus is. For these followers of Jesus they couldn’t be held back from witnessing to others about what Jesus has done.

For those who follow Jesus their reaction is to share in His glory by spreading it. This aligns with the Great Commission as Jesus says in Acts 1, “8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”” (Acts 1:6-8) So we are Christ followers are expected to be His witnesses. 

To be witnesses we must go and share with others what we have seen. For how long? That’s none of our business. Jesus responds to His disciples in the same passage, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” (Acts 1:6-6)

The second reaction that we see is a crowd of pilgrims coming out of Jerusalem to welcome the King as a result of His glory being proclaimed by the witnesses to Lazarus’ resurrection. So due to the witnesses fervor in sharing what they had seen a great crowd of thousands who had come for the Passover come come out to welcome their King. Many of these same people would be mocking our King Jesus as He made His way to the cross. Fervor and excitement doesn’t always result in faith and repentance.

The last reaction that we find is from the Pharisees whose attempts at stopping Jesus had proven to be ineffective up to this point. We discovered last week that the Pharisees not only planned to dispose of Jesus but also Lazarus who had been raised from the dead. They still desired to snuff out this potential revolution and realize that their efforts to arrest Jesus would need to be covert in order to not cause too big of a stir with His followers.

So we have these three reactions of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We have the witnesses of Jesus who went around telling everyone they knew that the Messiah was here. Then we had those who came out of the city willing to worship Jesus even if they didn’t quite understand who He was or why He was there. Many of these folks could have been sincere in their devotion while many others might not have been. Lastly, we see the corrupt intentions of the Pharisees to eliminate Jesus.

Likewise, we see the same things in today’s church. There are those who are absolutely committed to the cause of Christ. They partake in His glory by witnessing to His greatness wherever they find themselves. We have those who are cautiously optimistic, checking things out, and could go either way. Then we have those that act as gatekeepers to the faith. They act as though if you don’t agree with every jot and tittle of their own imaginary Gospel then you can’t be a Christian. And they seek to teardown the work of others and call themselves righteous. 

What is your reaction to the coming of the King?

 

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