Sunday, March 20, 2016

Triumph Or Tragedy?



SERMON               GMT16-043

SERIES:              Topical Messages:  Special Days – Palm Sunday

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM (March 20, 2016)

SUBTITLE:        Triumph or Tragedy?

SCRIPTURE:     John 12:12-19

SUBJECT:          The Triumphant Entry of Christ

SUMMARY:       Jesus reveals Himself as King

SCHEME:           To enable my people to transcend the Jews political aspirations and embrace Christ as their King
_____________________________________________________________

Our theme is:  Jesus reveals Himself as King

Proposition:  Christ entered Jerusalem to present Himself as the promised King

Interrogatory Sentence:  Why did Jesus ride into Jerusalem?

Transitional Sentence:  Our passage reveals four (4) aspects of why Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey; The Parade for the King, The Prophecy of the King, The Popularity of the King, and the Protest toward the King. 

[The Title of the Message]

Triumph or Tragedy?

Today’s Truth:

Christ entered Jerusalem to present Himself as the promised King

[Announce the Text]

Please open your Bibles to John 12:12-19

Prayer for illumination & understanding

Our gracious Father, help us to hear your holy Word that we may truly understand; and that, understanding, we may believe and believing, we may be in all in all things faithful and obedient. Father by understanding your word may we seek your honor and glory in all that we do; through Christ our Lord.

So Father we ask you, through your Holy Spirit to open our hearts and minds for the sake, the honor, and the glory of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, so that as the Scriptures are read and your Word explained, we may hear with joy what you say to us today. We ask you Father to show us all that Christ is and what He has done for us by His atoning work on the cross of Calvary.

 Father, may your word today attack and kill our pride and our dependence on ourselves and may we see the grace of God in this message and exalt that grace. Father, may the word of God today promote within us a desire to have a clean and holy heart and to live our lives in the pursuit of grace-driven sanctification. Father, will you enable me to clearly communicate the word of God to your people, I ask you for power and unction to preach your word. Amen. 

Re-announce and read the text

Our text for today is John 12:12-19

[Main Introduction]

Attention Getter

The story is told of a woman who was driving home one night. The weather was really nasty. Rain was coming down in buckets and visibility was very poor. Seeing taillights ahead of her, she decided to follow the car in front of her.

 Not being able to see, the car in front seemed to be going in the right direction. So she stuck with it. All of a sudden the car in front of her came to a stop. She began to wonder what had happened; perhaps the car in front had hit a deer or something like that. She began to feel uncomfortable; thinking being stopped in the middle of the road can often lead to accidents.

 Much to her alarm the car in front of her turned off its lights. Her concern was now growing as well as her anger, and she was then startled by a knocking on her window. She looked up and there was a man standing in the pouring rain wanting to speak to her. She cracked the window open and asked the man what the problem was. The man replied by stating that was the question he was going to ask her. She retorted that she wasn’t the one who had stopped in the middle of the road and then turned off the car lights. The man’s reply was that they were not in the middle of the road, but they were in his driveway

Obviously, this woman had chosen to follow the leader blindly. She had chosen to follow without knowing who this leader was or more importantly where and why he was going in this direction. This leader would not take her to where she wanted to go. 

Orient the Text: The Central Point of the Text (CPT)

This morning I want to speak to you about the reason why Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey.  This event was a major point in both the life and ministry of Jesus and for the Jewish nation. It was crucial that the Jews actually understood what Jesus was doing and why he was going into Jerusalem on that Sunday morning prior to His crucifixion.

It is obvious that the Jews did not understand the significance of Jesus’ actions on that Sunday morning. Their misunderstanding cost them dearly! Jesus and the Jews were definitely on two different pages. The Jews were far worse off than merely being in someone else’s driveway.

It is no different today is it? The world around us has no idea of the reason and the significance of Jesus when he rode into Jerusalem some two thousand years ago.

Raise a Need: The Purpose of the Text

It is just as important to us this morning to understand why Jesus did what he did. If we are going to follow Jesus we must know who He is and why we should be following him.

State the Purpose

My purpose today is to enable you to transcend the tragic error of the Jews misplaced motivation for following Jesus in order to enable you to embrace Jesus as your King so that you will be good subjects of our King and that you can follow him with your life. 

[Sub Introduction]

[Scripture Introduction]

John records for us his view and version of the Triumphant Entry of Jesus on this particular Sunday that we now call Palm Sunday in John 12:12-19. If you haven’t done so already, please turn to our passage as we answer the question, “Why was Jesus ride into Jerusalem so significant?”

Background to the Text

[Let me give you a little background on our text…]

John was the last gospel that was written about the life and ministry of Jesus. John was the last apostle alive at the time he wrote his gospel. At the time that John wrote his gospel he was a pastor and apostle in the church of Ephesus.

He was nearly 100 years old and obviously at the end of his life. His fellow Elders, or pastors of the church in Ephesus prevailed upon John, as the last apostolic link to Jesus, to write his memories of the life and ministry of Jesus. And so John did.

John wrote his gospel according to his statement in John 20:31, “…these are written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” (John 12:31, ESV)

This passage in chapter 12 comes just prior to the Passover feast. As a matter of fact, John says in Chapter 11 that the time of the Passover was drawing near and many Jews had already traveled to Jerusalem so that they could purify themselves and take place in the Passover.

The eight-day festival of Passover was celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan. It commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

 All adult males were required to travel to the sanctuary to take part. It combined two celebrations that were originally separated: Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6-8)

Jesus as an adult male was also required to attend and participate in the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread. And so, Jesus and his disciples arrived in Bethany, just outside of Jerusalem, 6 days before the Passover was to begin.

Our theme this morning is:  Jesus reveals Himself as King

I propose to you that: Jesus entered Jerusalem in order to present Himself as the promised King of the Jews.

Interrogatory Sentence:  Why did Jesus ride into Jerusalem?

Transitional Sentence:  Our passage reveals four (4) aspects of why Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey; The Parade for the King, The Prophecy of the King, The Popularity of the King, and the Protest toward the King.

[So, let’s begin with the first aspect revealed in our passage that answers the question of why Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey that Sunday morning, and that is…]

1A     THE PARADE FOR THE KING (VSS. 12-13)

As we begin, there is something that you have to keep in mind. This event, the ride into Jerusalem is recorded in all four (4) of the gospels. It is one of the few events in the life and ministry of Jesus that is recorded in all four (4) gospels.

Since it is recorded in all four (4) gospels it must be very important. It is important then that we fully understand these events as John and the disciples and John’s readers understood it and to see its significance for us today. John however does not choose to include all the details that some of the other gospel writers choose to include.

[As we look at the parade for the King, the first thing that we need to take note of is…]

1B     The Chronology of the Parade (Vs. 12a)

“The next day… (th epaurion...)

The literal reading is “On the morrow…”

Church history has placed this event on Sunday morning during the last week of Jesus’ life, or what we call the “Passion Week.” As a result some scholars and commentators simply represent this event to have taken place on Sunday. Hence we pretty much accept it to be Sunday and we call it Palm Sunday.

In some so called churches and denominations, there are elaborate ceremonies that recreate and depict this event each year on Palm Sunday. Donkeys parade through buildings, hundreds of Palm branches are waved and thrown on floors depicting this extremely important event.

But, there actually is no evidence in this passage or in any of the other gospels to actually substantiate that it actually took place on a Sunday morning.

First of all – we know that Jesus came to Bethany six (6) days prior to the Passover Feast. He probably stayed in the house of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He came to prepare for the feast like any other Jewish male.

Second – four (4) days later, a lavish dinner party was thrown for Jesus and presumably his disciples at the house of Simon, who had been a leper, whom Jesus had healed. This was two days prior to these events.
It is possible and more probable that Jesus actually rode into Jerusalem on Monday morning, making it the 10th of Nissan. This was the day that the Passover lambs were selected and set aside to be sacrificed.

If we count back six days from John’s date of the Passover, we have Jesus arriving in Bethany on Saturday night, the 9th of Nisan. Depending on how long he stayed in Bethany, he entered Jerusalem either the following day, Sunday, or else Monday. I. H. Marshall, a prominent New Testament scholar, offers this reconstruction of Jesus’ final week  

For myself, I am going with men like D. A. Carson and I. H. Marshall and I think it was probably early Monday morning. However, it doesn’t really matter, especially today, it has already taken place – and today we believe by faith that the gospel writers said that Jesus rode into Jerusalem.

[So, as we look at the parade for the King, the second thing that we need to take note of is…]
          2B     The Conduct of the Participants (Vss. 12b-13)

οχλος πολυς ο ελθων εις την εορτην ακουσαντες οτι ερχεται ιησους εις ιεροσολυμα [13] ελαβον τα βαια των φοινικων και εξηλθον εις υπαντησιν αυτω)

“…a great multitude that had come to the feast…

Remember, every Jewish male had to travel to Jerusalem for this feast. Our text says this was a huge crowd.

Josephus, who was a Roman author wrote a history of the Jews at the time of Jesus claimed that during the Passover week the population of Jerusalem attained 2.7 million Jews. This number would include men, women, children, slaves, and hired servants.

Carl Laney in his commentary said that the population in Jerusalem would grow from about 55,000 to over 180,000 people. This might have been the male population.

[John goes on to say…]

“…when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of Palm trees, and went out to meet him…”  

Whatever the number, we are told that a huge crowd heard Jesus was going to go into the city and so they grabbed a bunch of Palm tree branches and went to meet up with him.

What’s the deal with Palm tree branches and leaves?
First – let me say, that there would have been no problem at picking or cutting or obtaining palm branches. Date palms grew like wild fire in and around the city of Jerusalem.

Second – there is nothing in the OT or the Law that says palm branches or leaves must be a part of the Passover or feast of unleavened bread.

Mind you, palm branches were a significant part of the Feast of the Tabernacle of Booths:

In the observance of The Tabernacle of Booths or “Sukkoth,” worshippers processed through Jerusalem and in the Temple, waving in their right hands something called alulab, which was a bunch of leafy branches made of willow, myrtle and palm

But we do know this –

·        When Simon the Maccabees and his army was successful in driving the Syrians out of Jerusalem, he was feted (lavishly honored) the Jews played music and waved palm branches

·        Palm branches decorated the walls of Solomon’s Temple

·        The date palm came to represent Israel in the Roman empire

·        Some coins have been found with a picture of palm branches

The other gospels tell us something that John doesn’t, and that is they would throw some of these branches on the ground in front of the walking donkey as sort of like a red carpet.

[So, the first thing the crowd did was to pick, cut, or obtain palm branches. The next thing we see in their conduct was that they…

“…and cried out, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!’” 

First of all, hosanna is actually a transliteration into English of the Hebrew letters of this word.

Second – it originally meant “Give salvation now.” It came to be a very joyful exclamation of praise. It was an appeal for deliverance (Heb. hosia na, Please save Psalm 118:25 )

It was used in Jewish festivals, especially during the Passover. The Jews would gather at the gate of the city, then make a long procession through Jerusalem and into the Temple singing what is known as the Hallel, which is Psalms 113-118.

It is a joyful Aramaic exclamation of praise, apparently specific to the major Jewish religious festivals (especially Passover and Tabernacles) in which the Egyptian Hallel (Psalms 113-118) was recited. It came in liturgical usage to serve as an expression of joy and praise for deliverance granted or anticipated.

When the singers came to the Psalm 118 each male in the procession would raise their palm branches into the air and wave them.

And so the conduct of this parade was quite significant. It was a very happy parade with singing and shouting.

Our theme this morning is:  Jesus reveals Himself as King

I propose to you that: Jesus entered Jerusalem in order to present Himself as the promised King of the Jews.

[So, the first aspect revealed in our passage is the Parade for the King. The second aspect revealed in this passage is…] 

2A     THE PROPHECY OF THE KING (VSS. 14-16)

ευρων δε ο ιησους οναριον εκαθισεν επ αυτο καθως εστιν γεγραμμενον [15] μη φοβου θυγατες σιων ιδου ο βασιλευς σου ερχεται καθημενος επι πωλον ονου

1B     The Presentation from the prophecy

“Then Jesus, when he had found a young donkey, sat on in…”

The first thing that catches our attention is that John does not tell us how or where Jesus got the donkey. John does not repeat the detailed accounts of the finding of the donkey that is recorded in the synoptic gospels. 

We are told in Matthew 21:1-11 - 

“Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord needs them,' and he will send them at once." (Matthew 21:1-4, ESV)

John does make it clear however, that he sees this event as a fulfillment of Scripture, which he indicates by quoting Zech 9:9.
         
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9, ESV)

Keep in mind that Zion was originally a designation of a citadel in Jerusalem or possibly a hill. The term came to be used for all of Jerusalem. The word that is translated “daughter” is used to include all of the people living in the city.
The importance of this event and this reference lies in the fact that it points to a very distinctive mark of Kingship.

A burning question has to be, why a donkey? What not a great stallion? It is quite probable that no other King since King Solomon (a king of peace) had ridden a young donkey.

The donkey is a lowly, humble animal. It signifies “peace” not war. The donkey is a “mount” or animal of peace. Jesus did not come on a war horse. That would have incited a riot or a great political frenzy had he ridden a horse. No, Jesus came in peace.

But notice that the words “fear not” is not in Zechariah. Nor are they in any other translation or version of this passage.

John might have taken the idea from Isaiah 40:9 and inserted into the passage from Zechariah. Also, it was very common for NT authors to take 2 or more OT references and combine them into what they were writing.

But listen to D. A. Carson:

“…the entire OT context must be borne in mind if the full force of the works is to be recognized. After the promise of the coming king, God further promises, ‘I will take way the chariots of Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem and the battle-bow will be broken…”

          Carson then points out what he calls three points that stand out:

·        The coming of the gentle king is associated with the cessation of war

·        The coming of the gentle king is associated with the promise of peace to the nations
·        The coming of the gentle king is associated with the blood of God’s covenant that spells release for prisoners

John is saying that these promises and prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus as he rides into Jerusalem on this lowly, humble animal of peace. Jesus is the peaceful king!

          2B     The Perplexity by the prophecy

Then John seems to add an editorial note when he includes this bit of information:

“His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written ab out Him and they had one these things to Him.” (John 12:1, NKJV)

And so this parade was quite significant and the prophecy was quite significant. It was a very happy parade with singing and shouting and the prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus as he rode that young donkey into Jerusalem.

Our theme this morning is:  Jesus reveals Himself as King

I propose to you that: Jesus entered Jerusalem in order to present Himself as the promised King of the Jews.

[The third aspect revealed in our passage is…]

3A     The Popularity of the King (Vss. 17-18)

ταυτα δε ουκ εγνωσαν οι μαθηται αυτου το πρωτον αλλ οτε εδοξασθη [ο] ιησους τοτε εμνησθησαν οτι ταυτα ην επ αυτω γεγραμμενα και ταυτα εποιησαν αυτω [17] εμαρτυρει ουν ο οχλος ο ων μετ αυτου οτε τον λαζαρον εφωνησεν εκ του μνημειου και ηγειρεν αυτον εκ νεκρων [18] δια τουτο και υπηντησεν αυτω ο οχλος οτι ηκουσεν τουτο αυτον πεποιηκεναι το σημειον

When we look at the popularity of the king we see two things.

1B     The Increase of the King’s popularity

“Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead,

This point is very simple and will be very quick.

First of all, in these two verses John depicts two different crowds.

·        1st crowd:  is the one that was in Bethany when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Have you ever stopped to consider just how profound this was and what an impact it made on the residents of Bethany?

Look how John phrases it – “…who were with him when he called Lazarus out of his tomb, and raised him from the dead…”

-out of his tomb
-and raised him from the dead

It made an impact!

·        2nd crowd:  is the one from vs. 12 that came out to meet in from Jerusalem, primarily when they had heard about the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
·         
2B     The Implication from the King’s Popularity (Vs. 17b-19)

“…bore witness…”

This means that they “spread the word.” In fact they kept telling it and telling it and telling it. They talked about what they had seen, a man raised another man from the dead.
This man raised a man that had been dead for four (4) days. As a matter of fact that guy stunk to high heaven.

They couldn’t keep quite. They wanted to be near and hear more from a guy that can raise someone from the dead. After all, a man who can raise someone from the dead and deal with the Roman government.
                  
Well, the parade was quite significant and the prophecy was quite significant and the popularity was quite significant. It was a very happy parade with singing and shouting and the prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus as he rode that young donkey into Jerusalem. As they word traveled of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead the crowds continued to grow in number.

Our theme this morning is:  Jesus reveals Himself as King

I have proposed to prove to you that: Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem riding on the back of a young donkey in order to present Himself as the promised King of the Jews.

[This leads us to our fourth and final aspect reveled in our passage and that is…]

4A     The Protest against the King (Vs. 19)

Οι ουν φαρισαιοι ειπον προς εαυτους θεωρειτε οτι ουκ ωφελειτε ουδεν ιδε ο κοσμος οπισω αυτου απηλθεν

1B     The Exclamation voiced in the protest

“The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, ‘You see that you are accomplishing nothing…”

This statement points to a total lack of success by anything that the Pharisees and done up to this point to silence Jesus and keep the common Jews from following after Jesus.

It signifies that all that they had done “had yielded no profit.” All there efforts to stop, silence, and slay Jesus had gone nowhere. Remember, they had plotted his death a number of times. They had tried to destroy him a few times.

In essence, they were saying that by your delays you have gained nothing. They actually put off killing Jesus on a few occasions because they had been afraid of the common people. But now, they cry is “kill him now.” Get it over with.

[Look how exasperated they really are…]

2B     The Exaggeration villainized in the protest

          “Look, the whole world has gone after him!”

The word “behold” introduces something unexpected. They can’t believe that Jesus has such a following. To them it seems as if the entire world is now following him. In essence they are saying in their frustration, Jesus has conquered the entire world.

Well, the parade was quite significant and the prophecy was quite significant and the popularity was quite significant. It was a very happy parade with singing and shouting and the prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus as he rode that young donkey into Jerusalem. As they word traveled of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead the crowds continued to grow in number. The Protest against Jesus is quite significant. It will fuel the frenzy by the Pharisees to put Jesus to death by the end of the week.

Our theme has been:  Jesus reveals himself as King

I have proposed to prove to you that:  Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem riding on the back of a young donkey in order to present Himself as the promised King of the Jews.
I have tried to answer the question of:  Why did Jesus ride into Jerusalem? Or, what did Jesus want to accomplish by this act?

From our passage I hope you have seen revealed four (4) aspects of why Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey;

The Parade for the King – in this parade or procession, Jesus was presenting himself as the King of Israel

The Prophecy of the King – this was prophesied in the OT Scriptures in a number of places

The Popularity of the King – Jesus had grown exponentially popular due to raising Lazarus from the dead, unfortunately it was not a popularity from the reality of who he was and was attempting to reveal

 The Protest toward the King – the Pharisees were overwhelmed and frustrated to the point that they were completely exasperated and engaged in exaggeration

[What do you say we wrap this up?] 

[CONCLUSION]

Let me conclude with this humorous little story:

A little boy was sick on Palm Sunday and stayed home from church with his mother. His father returned from church holding a palm branch. The little boy was curious and asked, “Why do you have that palm branch, dad?” “You see, when Jesus came into town, everyone waved Palm Branches to honor him, and so we got Palm Branches today.” The little boy replied, “Aw Shucks the one Sunday I miss is the Sunday that Jesus shows up”

The one Sunday or Monday morning that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey was the one Sunday or Monday that He showed up to present himself as the king of the Jews and the Jews didn’t miss his appearance, but they did miss his true person and purpose.


Let’s pray! J

2 comments:

Pat Donovan said...

Truly man, truly God, truly King. Good one Gregg.

Narayana Rao said...

Good to visit your site as a part of my A to Z visits. My theme Blog Promotion
Welcome to A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016 - Co-Participant - Nrao
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