Sermon Notes and Audio
Scripture Focus- John 12:12-23
This section of Scripture describes the triumphal entry of Jesus. When He officially came to Jerusalem to present Himself as the Messiah, the Son of God, the Son of Man. Events were set in motion that would lead to His death on the cross. Jesus came from a dinner that had been prepared for Him at the home of Simon the Leper. Mary and Martha, were there, along with Lazarus, their brother, who had been raised from the dead. Mary anointed Jesus with pure and expensive nard to honor Him, and also in anticipation of His death on the cross. A large crowd of Jews found out where Jesus was and they came to see Jesus and also Lazarus.
The focus is on the glory of Jesus. Jesus had glory in heaven; it was evident in His earthly ministry, and He received it when He ascended back to the Father. The glory of Jesus is His holiness, weightiness, and significance.
J.I. Packer- Glory is excellence and praiseworthiness set forth in display.
The glory of God was on public display in Jesus, the Son of Man.
The prophecies about Jesus focus on His glory.
The people were excited, and cut palm branches. Palm branches were symbolic of victory and celebration. Many in the crowd were hoping Jesus was the Messianic King and military conqueror who would free them from the dominion of Rome and establish the promises to Abraham and David.
The crowd shouted Hosanna! He who comes in the name of the Lord is the blessed One- the King of Israel! V13
Hosanna is a term of praise literally meaning “Help, I pray” or “Save now, I pray.”
The Jews were familiar with the term. It came from a group of Psalms known as the Hallel (Psalms 113-118). They sang the Hallel. Every morning the Temple Choir would sing them during the major Jewish festivals.
Psalm 118:25 LORD, save us! LORD, please grant us success!
They also proclaimed- Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
Psalm 118:26 He who comes in the name of the Lord is blessed. From the house of the Lord we bless you.
The people proclaimed their hope that Jesus was the Messiah they were hoping for, and anticipating. They also hailed Jesus as the King of Israel. Up to this point, Jesus had refused to be recognized in this way, because the time had not come publicly. He was well entitled to the praise. Yet Jesus knew their attitude toward Him was still superficial, and many in that same crowd would shout for His death before He was crucified.
According to v14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it. V15 Fear no more, Daughter Zion. Look, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.
From the other Gospels we learn when Jesus came near Jerusalem, He told two of His disciples to go into a nearby village where they would find a donkey tied there, and a colt with her, and they were to untie and bring them to Jesus. They did as they were told. Jesus would ride the colt, the young donkey, into Jerusalem as they waved the palm branches and laid their coats down in front of him.
This was in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout in triumph, Daughter Jerusalem! Look, your King is coming to you; He is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
They were probably hoping He would arrive on a warhorse. He chose to arrive on a donkey as the humble Prince of Peace. When He returns again He will ride on the White Horse.
Revelation 19:11Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and He judges and makes war in righteousness.
His disciples did not understand these things at first. When He was glorified, they remembered that these things had been written about Him.
The prophecies about Jesus focus on His glory.
The miracles of Jesus focus on His glory.
V17 Meanwhile, the crowd, which had been with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify. V18 This is also why the crowd met Him, because they heard He had done this sign.
Some had come with Jesus from Bethany, while others came out from Jerusalem to meet Him. The two groups came into one huge crowd that came with Jesus into the city. They likely reasoned since Jesus had the power to raise a man from the dead, who had been in the tomb for four days, He had the power to deliver them from Rome. Their superficial attraction to Jesus would turn to rejection by the end of the week. Their misunderstanding, or partial understanding, of the miracles of Jesus did not minimize their purpose. The miracles Jesus performed are a strong authentication of His identity as God in the flesh.
There are seven miracles Jesus performed in John that point to who He is:
In John 2, Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana in Galilee. The miracles symbolized nothing less than the mission of the Messiah, to change empty religion into a joyful relationship with the Lord.
In John 4, Jesus healed the official’s son. This was an act of God’s grace. The official heard of Jesus and of His miraculous power and begged him to come heal his dying son. Jesus didn’t go with him but simply told the man his son would live. The man believed Jesus and took Him at His word. His servants met him on the way home with the news his son had been healed. He and all his household were saved.
In John 5, Jesus healed a lame man on the Sabbath at the pool of Bethesda. The unbelieving Jews gave Him difficulty because of it. The man had been lame for 38 years and was instantly healed. Jesus said, My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working. Jesus was declaring Himself to be God in the flesh.
In John 6, Jesus fed the 5000. A large crowd had followed Him and Jesus saw they were hungry. Andrew found a boy with 5 small barley loaves and 2 small fish, and Jesus turned it into so much food there were 12 baskets left over. This practically demonstrated the Lord meeting physical needs.
In John 6, Jesus walked on the water. The disciples had labored all night in a storm to row across the Sea of Galilee. They Lord came to them on the water, and miraculously calmed the storm. This demonstrated His power over nature.
In John 9, Jesus healed a man born blind. Jesus took mud, poured it on the man’s eyes and told him to go wash it off. When the man did, he could see. The man would become a believer and worship Jesus. Jesus said He came so the blind would see and those who see would become blind.
Then in John 11, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. This demonstrated His power over life, death, and the grave. Jesus said Lazarus’ sickness was not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that Son of Man may be glorified in it. Glorifying the Son is the same as glorifying the Father.
John 20:30-31 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.
These seven miracles were selected by the Holy Spirit to be included in John’s Gospel. The purpose is to help us believe Jesus is who He claimed to be, and that by believing we would have life in His name.
The miracles of Jesus focus on His glory.
The cross of Jesus focuses on His glory.
V20 Now some Greeks were among those who went up to worship at the festival.
John introduced some Greeks who came. The Greeks were the wanderers of the ancient world and seekers of truth. Most likely they were Gentile converts to Judaism, or at least God fearing people who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Their coming was symbolic of the coming of Gentiles to worship God in Jesus.
They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. This was Philip the Disciple, one of the 12, not the Deacon/Evangelist. Why did they come to Philip? Maybe because he had had a Greek name, or he may have had contact with Greeks from the Decapolis area. Philip went to Andrew and Andrew and Philip went to Jesus.
The Greeks said:
Sir, we want to see Jesus.
They were not wanting to see how He looked, or out of curiosity. Their desire had to do with the great subject of salvation. The wisdom of the Greeks was insufficient to satisfy the soul. Jesus had spoken about sheep that were not of the Jewish fold. They wanted to hear Jesus.
Jesus’ next words must have been shocking. V23 The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Jesus was speaking of the cross. He would establish God’s glorious kingdom through suffering, sacrifice, and service. John’s Gospel builds toward the climactic hour of the cross.
At the Cross, we see the justice of God through the judgment of sin, the love of God through the forgiveness of sinners, the power of God through his defeat of Satan, and the wisdom of God in His holiness. The cross is for our salvation, and for the glory of God.
The cross was an instrument of torture. Of all the forms of death, crucifixion was one of the most awful. Death on the cross was saved for the worst of criminals. Death on the cross constituted shame, humiliation, and disgrace.
Galatians 3:13 Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree.
Jesus would take the shame and humiliation of the cross and turned it into an instrument of glory to God. It was the most selfless act ever performed. In the cross, was the radiant hope of the world, the end to our slavery to sin, our deliverance to life, the love of God.
Galatians 6:14 As for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to me through the cross, and I to the world.
Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane- John 17- Father, the hour has come; Glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You, for You gave Him authority over all flesh; so He may give eternal life to all You have given Him. This is eternal life; that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent- Jesus Christ.
The cross is about putting the glory of God on display. The eternal purpose of salvation is so that we can glorify God forever.
I’ve been reading the journal of David Brainerd, a man who was a missionary to Native Americans. Jonathan Edwards wrote a biographical work of Brainerd’s life. Brainerd died before he was 30 years old. He wrote: “I do not go to heaven to be advanced, but to give glory to God. It is not matter where I shall be stationed in heaven, whether I have a high or low seat there, but to live and please and glorify God. My heaven is to please God and to glorify Him and give all to Him and be wholly devoted to His glory.”
The cross means Jesus did everything necessary to accomplish salvation. He paid the debt we owe. The cross satisfied God’s righteous judgment against our sins. We cannot do anything on our own to gain Heaven, all we can do is repent and believe. Jesus gets all the glory and we get none.
The glory of Jesus holds all things together!
Ephesians 1:7-10 We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him for the administration of the days of fulfillment- to bring together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and on earth in Him.
There was an article on Physics.Org recently entitled, “Scientists Narrow Search For A New ‘God Particle’.” In what has been called the most ambitious quest in science, a senior physicist at the University of Manchester has helped narrow the search for a neutrino particle. Dr. Justin Evans, a senior lecturer in particle physics at the University of Manchester, said the elusive particle, if proven to exist, has the potential to unlock the great mysteries of our Universe- even potentially explaining why we exist as we do. It would supposedly be more significant that the so called ‘God particle’, the Higgs boson.
They are 2000 years late in searching for the one that holds all things together. The One who holds all things together, and to whom we owe our existence, is from eternity past. He made His entrance into the world in a Manger in Bethlehem, Jesus the Son of Man. He went all the way to Calvary and gave His life for sinners, to reconcile us to God.