San Francisco Bay, photo by my dad, 2011
IX. The Sermon: The triumphal entry. John 12:9-26 – Kyle McClellan, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church
Intro. Jesus’ time has now come. However, it did not come in a way that everyone expected. They expected him to conquer all of Israel’s enemies. Instead, he dies, but thereby he conquers our real enemy, sin, so that we can have fellowship with God.
The Big Idea: When followers of Jesus find themselves suffering for the unbelief of others, they must remember that Jesus is in complete control of the timetable of God’s unfolding plan of redemption.
Point One: We can (and will) suffer for the sins of others (vv. 9-11).
Lazarus was dead, then raised, now they want to kill him again. In Genesis 4 we read of Cain killing Able. Able had to be thinking, “Really? My sacrifice is accepted and I get killed?” He suffered for Cain’s sin. This is the same for Joseph who suffers when his brothers sin and sell him into slavery.
The good news is that God redeems even that. In Christ, God suffered for sins of someone else too, namely our sins.
Point Two: God’s King enters! (vv. 12-19).
All of this event unfolds according to God’s word which foretold this event of the triumphal entry. The Old Testament reading today from Zechariah 9:9-12 is one place that makes that prophecy.
This is key in the ten year anniversary today of 9/11. A key question then was, “where was God when this terrorist attack occurred on the World Trade Center?” Our culture had many responses to this: the president said to go shopping and business as usual to keep the economy going; another response was Toby Keith’s song that talks about a boot in the back side of anyone who does this to our country. Though there is a time for that, this passage reminds us that God alone is in charge of the time table for his king coming into Jerusalem. Jesus enters exactly the way that his word in the old testament said he would.
Point Three: The time for God’s promise to Abraham is fulfilled (vv. 20-26).
V17 the crowd CONTINUED to bear witness. John uses irony in v20 in that the whole world is desiring to see Jesus when the Jewish people and leaders want him killed. In Genesis 12, God promises to bless the whole world through Abrahams seed. This fulfills that too. Ironically, the Gentiles / Greeks come to worship and the Jews will kill him in less than one week when they were to be the light to the nations.
Jesus and Jesus alone defines his own kingship. He says that the top way to glorify God and demonstrate that he is Daniel’s son of man prophecy fulfilled is by dying. Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, there is no fruit.
Jesus is not king to be there to close our gaps – the places we struggle or do not measure up. He is our king not our genie in a bottle. He is not our slave. He is our master. Our king suffered. Those who follow him will suffer. That is his way. Yet we are reminded that he reigns.
9When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus
12The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13So 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!” 14And 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!
16His 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. 17The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.
20Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him