Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
JOHN 12:9-19 FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SITTING ON A DONKEYS COLT
John 12:9 Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus. 12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: "Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' The King of Israel!" 14 Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: 15 "Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey's colt." 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him. 17 Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. 18 For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, "You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!"
In this section of Scripture we will see that many of the Jews came to see Him and also Lazarus because he was no longer dead, but alive and well. The chief priests not only want to kill him, but Lazarus also. When Jesus comes riding into town on a donkey’s colt as Zechariah 9:9 predicts. Also Daniel 9:25-27 predicts the exact day He will do this. The people do not understand, they are quoting the wrong verses, it says in verse 12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: "Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' The King of Israel!" They are quoting Psalms 118:25-26 which is a verse that speaks of Jesus’s second coming, not His first coming. The first time Jesus comes it is to die on the cross, the second time He comes as a conquering King. They want a political Messiah, a conqueror who will deliver them from Roman rule, not save their souls. I think that is like us so many times, we want a Jesus who will deliver us from trouble, but not one who will deliver us from sin.
9 Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. Says this three times
There they are again, the Jesus watchers, same ones. Back in verse 55 of chapter 11 doing the same thing. Where is He? Oh let's see Him. That's where it's at, Jesus always provides so much entertainment at the Passover and they wanted to see Jesus and they wanted to see Lazarus, this guy who was raised from the dead. Curiosity. Thrill-seekers, sensation-seekers, careless, indifferent, could care less really about the person of Christ, they just swung with the crowd, the mood of the mob just carried them whichever direction.
The vast majority of people who attend churches in America today are Jesus watchers and nothing else. They're spectators. They don't hate Him, they're not hostile Judases and they don't love Him, they're not Mary’s. They're watchers and they sit there and look. And it's a sad thing because the crowd that sits and watches became the crowd that crucified Him.
In Acts chapter 3, this kind of a crowd is designated to us by an illustration. In Acts chapter 3 verse 6 Peter says to this particular man who was lame, "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give thee in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." And he did and he was leaping and praising God, you know, and it was really exciting, all the things that he was doing. And then you come to verse 14 of chapter 4 and you read an astounding statement. Now the man is jumping around and having a great time and the people are there and they see him. It says in verse 14 of chapter 4, "And beholding the man that was healed standing with them, they could say nothing... against it." Now isn't that interesting? What did they want to say? They wanted to say something...what?...against it. You see, they didn't want to believe. They never wanted to believe. Even when they watched, they were only looking for some way to disprove it. You see the negative of it. They saw that the guy jumping around leaping for joy who had been lame and they said, "Um, now how can we say something against that?" see. That's looking at it with the evil eye.
They really like Him." Yeah, well you want to meet them again? Look at them in chapter 19 verse 14, it says this, "And it was the preparation of the Passover about the sixth hour and he saith unto the Jews...Pilate says...Behold your king. And they cried out, 'Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him.' Pilate saith unto them, 'Shall I crucify your King?' The chief priest answered, 'We have no king but Caesar.'" Hypocrites. They hated Caesar. But you see the same crowd watched Him, threw palms at His feet, crucified Him. The mood of the mob. The Jesus watchers. They don't have any thoughts of their own; they just sway along with whichever way the theology goes, knowing nothing. And the tragic comment on them is in Matthew 27:36, they all gathered around the cross and you know what it says? It says this, pathetic, "And sitting down they watched Him there." Still doing the same thing.
Don't just sit there and watch Jesus. That's deadly. Receive Him into your life.
10 But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also,
The leaders are really in trouble now. I mean, they've got a live man who used to be dead roaming around and he's gathering crowds to Jesus.
Number one, they were threatened politically because, you see, if all these people gathered around Jesus, they might start an insurrection and then the Romans would come down and squash it. Go back to verse 48 of chapter 11. If we let this thing go, they say, all men will believe on Him and the Romans will come and take away our place and our nation. They were afraid that Jesus might get a revolution going and Rome would crush it and throw them all out.
TWO, They were really threatened theologically because......the Sadducees had for years been teaching there was no such thing as resurrection. And here they've got to contend with a guy who resurrected. They were on theological thin ice, friends. I mean, they had been propagating their doctrine of no resurrection and here's a guy who has come back from the dead. So they've got one choice, destroy the evidence.
In these verses, we see the hatred and the love reaching a climax. They're the categories of reactions to Jesus. You can react like Martha and Mary; you can serve Him and love Him. And is it exciting! You can serve Him and love Him. Or you can react like Judas did and just live for materialism, maybe once in a while look to religion and be hypocritical. But it's all a Judas kiss. Or maybe you'd just rather be indifferent, just kind of stand in the back and just kind of look at it all, and that's just as tragic as anything. Or maybe you've even gone so far as to be like those false leaders, you're a false teacher teaching lies and defending yourself by destroying the evidence.
Where are you? You're already somewhere, you've already made a choice. Maybe you can still make another one and choose Christ and remember, Mt 12:30 "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. Those who enthusiastically welcome Jesus to Jerusalem as the “King of Israel” are some of the same people who, in a week’s time, will be crying out, “We have no king, but Caesar!” (John 19:15). Those who cry out, “Hosanna!” (Save now!) in our text, will be shouting, “He saved others. Let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, his chosen one!”
11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
Lu 16:31 "But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.'"
Five Days Before the Cross
12 ¶ The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
Now by the time we come to verse 12, it's morning on the next day. During the middle of the night Judas has already plotted with the leaders of Israel to betray Jesus. It's only now a matter of finding the right moment at which time Judas can betray Christ into their hands, point Him out, tell them where He is so they can capture Him. But Jesus is not a hunted criminal. Jesus is neither at the mercy of Judas, nor at the mercy of the leaders who want to kill Him. Jesus is no criminal to be subjected to a plot, He is in absolute control of everything that's going on.
Now He knew it was time to die. The time had come not when the world decided He would die, but when He decided it was time to die. The Sanhedrin, the Jewish leaders, had not wanted Christ to be crucified during the Passover time because they did not want unnecessarily to stir up the multitude of people that would have been present. They would much rather have waited till after the Passover when it was a little quieter and that way handle Jesus. But Jesus did it in His own time and forced the whole issue, brought about the whole thing in order that it might happen exactly on the Passover day, fitting that when all the other lambs were being sacrificed, the One true Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world would be sacrificed on the very same day that all the rest of the sacrifices were going on. So Jesus was not at the mercy of the plots of men, but rather was bringing about the forcing of the issue of His own death so that it would happen on a day when He planned it and God planned it before the world began, not when the Jewish leaders decided it would happen.
You remember that prior to this time Jesus did not allow Himself to get put into the position where He could die. He avoided very, very strategically the forcing of His death and He did it basically three ways. First way that He avoided death was by avoiding a public display unnecessarily. For example, in Matthew chapter 12 verse 14, "Then the Pharisees went out and held a council against Him how they might destroy Him. But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew Himself from there and great multitudes followed Him and He healed them all and then charged them that they should not make Him known." In other words, one way that He tried to eliminate the confrontation before the right hour, the right time, was to tell people not to say anything or to avoid public display. He went outside the city and did His miracles. And also, I think, is important in the sixteenth chapter of Matthew, the twentieth verse gives us a little bit of the same idea. Matthew 16:20 says, "Then charged He His disciples that they should tell no man that He was Jesus the Christ."
So first of all, He avoided the issue by avoiding public display unnecessarily. Second way that He avoided the issue was just by escaping out of their hands. Back in chapter 6 it tells us in verse 15, John's gospel, "When Jesus therefore perceived they would come and take Him by force to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone." He just disappeared. Then later on a same thing happened in the eighth chapter in the fifty-ninth verse, "They took stones to stone Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple going through the midst of them and so passed by." Second way that He avoided the issue was to just directly move right through the crowd and they didn't even know where He went. Miraculous.
The third way, and this perhaps the most interesting of all, the third way that He avoided the confrontation before the right hour was by restricting the ability of His enemies to lay their hands on Him. They couldn't move. They couldn't take Him. They were restricted from doing it. Perhaps the classic example being in chapter 7 when the Jewish leaders sent the temple police to get Him and they couldn't lay their hands on Him, they came back dumbfounded. And all they could say was, "Never a man spoke like that man." And Jesus again and again restricted them from being able to get Him.
So you see at least those three ways Jesus was waiting for the right hour, the right day and the right moment in which He would die, all according to a divine timetable mapped out and planned before the world began. And no plot or plan of man would alter that. And now it was the hour and now it was the time. He is soon to die for the sins of the world at the hands of the world, a strange kind of paradox. And He's going to die on His own time schedule, not theirs.
He deliberately plans and masterminds a demonstration. And as you begin to read through all of the four gospels which record this, you find how Jesus had this demonstration all mapped out. He deliberately presents Himself to Israel for the final time as Messiah. And what Israel had done in rejecting Him up to this point is now crystalized into a kind of permanency because what they do with Him now seals it. And in a last great move, He presents Himself as Messiah to Israel and their final act of rejection just crystalizes all the previous rejections.
Now He knows that the massive demonstration with all of the hosannas being thrown at Him, and all of the people singing the words from the Hallel, Psalm 118, is going just to infuriate the Jewish leaders and He knows it's going to cause them to desire to kill Him more than ever and that's exactly what He wants. He wants to bring their hatred to its own head because it's now time to die. And so here Jesus forces the Sanhedrin to change their timetable and execute Him right in the middle of the Passover, even on the very day of the Passover, contrary to what they had originally desired.
Even in the foolishness and the evil of man, God has the initiative. Like the Old Testament says when God was speaking, He said, "You meant it for evil, but I meant it for good." See. God can actually take the plans of men full of hatred, full of Satan, full of sin and move them for His own glory and honor, the greatest illustration being the cross and all of these events that we're talking about. For example, you have His words in the tenth chapter of John, profound beyond our grasp, where He says in verse 17, "Therefore doth My Father love Me because I lay down My life." Did you get that? Then in verse 18, "No man...what?...taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself." And then over later on in the nineteenth chapter of John, in the tenth verse, "Then saith Pilate unto Him...poor misguided Pilate, a wretched character...Pilate saith unto Him, 'Speakest Thou not unto me?'" In other words, Jesus had the audacity not to answer Pilate. "Knowest Thou not that I have power to crucify Thee and have power to release Thee?" And Jesus gives him a devastating answer saying, "Thou couldest have no power at all against Me except it were given thee from above." Somehow the heinous sin and hate of a depraved man operates within the framework of a sovereign God. Jesus with the Father master planned His own death to coordinate with the hatred of men. And now it was time to make His move, calculate it, lay it out, planned in eternity past.
This was a tearful entry by Jesus, not a triumphal entry
13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: "Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' The King of Israel!"
They grab palm branches which are always the sign of a conqueror. They're the sign, the symbol of strength, no stronger branch than that palm branch, the symbol of strength and the symbol of salvation, the great salvation that a conqueror brings, one who is coming to save the nation,
Used on this occasion they probably signaled popular belief that Israel's Messiah had appeared
Re 7:9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
Jesus does not back off from these Hosannas, He accepts them because they are legitimate, they are justified. He is indeed the King of Israel who cometh in the name of the Lord. He is indeed the only Savior. And He is presenting Himself as Messiah. This is His last great presentation and, in fact, He's introducing them to a Messiah in a completely different way than they anticipated because they were anticipating purely a political Messiah. They were thinking, "Oh, here He comes and at last our political Messiah, He's going to...He's going to throw the yoke of Rome off of us and here we go and we're off and running, national freedom," and all of this. But Jesus even tries to show them that He's not a political Messiah by the way He enters the city, riding on the foal of an ass, the most humble kind of animal, an animal historically had been used as a symbol of peace. He is, in effect, saying, "I'm not your great war hero, I'm the prince of peace," but they don't get the message. He comes as a prince of peace, not to make war but to die. And so He rides into the city and they hail Him.
The words, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord," are directly out of Psalm 118, the Hallel, Verse 26, the last of the Hallel Psalms, the praise Psalms. Jews sung them all the time. They still do. And 118 is called "the conqueror's Psalm." So they know this is their conquering Messiah. They are singing the Hallel. They are reciting the words of the conqueror's Psalm while He, in posture, is fulfilling Zechariah 9:9 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.
John 1:49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"
Revelation 19:11, it says, this, "Behold a white horse and He who sat on it is called faithful and true and in righteousness He judges and makes war."
Hallel being the Psalms 113 through 118 and those are the Psalms that praise God, Hallel from which we get the word hallelujah which is praise. And the 118thPsalm out of the Hallel Psalms, incidentally, every Hebrew boy when he was just a child learned the Hallel, it was so much a part of Jewish life, but the 118thPsalm was the conqueror's Psalm. It was the one that was sung when Simon Maccabaeus came back during the inter-testamental period, the 400 years between the Old and the New Testaments. Simon Maccabaeus had conquered the Syrians and shattered their dominion over the portion called Acra. And when he came back to Jerusalem they call cried out and sung to him Psalm 118. So it was the conqueror's Psalm.
Also, Psalm 118 is a messianic Psalm because it is in that Psalm that it says, "The stone which the builders rejected," talks about that and that's Christ, isn't it? So it's the messianic...they're singing the right Psalm,
John gives us in this text the two greatest proofs of the Messiahship of Jesus Christ and they're woven right into the very historical account.
There are many ways to prove the Bible is the Word of God. We talk about a lot of them. We talk about experience. We talk about science. We talk about a lot of things, archeology. The two greatest proofs that the Bible is the inspired Word of God are, number one, fulfilled prophecy and number two, miracles. They are the two supreme proofs, the greatest fulfilled prophecy, the second, miracles. Since those are the two greatest proofs of the truth of the Word of God, they are also the two greatest proofs of the truth of the Messiah of God. So what we have here in the presentation of Christ is an emphasis on number one, fulfilled prophecy, and number two, miracles. And by those two emphases John is declaring to the world, "This is Messiah, the Christ of God and it can be verified by His fulfilling of prophecy, and His ability to do miracles." Those are the two classic supreme proofs of deity Messiahship. So we want to see two proofs that verify the claims of Christ: number one, the words of prophecy; number two, the works of power. And that's the outline, just two points...the words of prophecy and the works of power together prove Jesus to be Messiah.
It must have been a massive mob, there's no way to really calculate except there's one account in history around this period when a census was taken in Jerusalem at Passover and when that census, the number of lambs slain at the Passover feast was 256 thousand, five hundred. That's a lot of lambs. That's over a quarter of a million lambs slain at Passover. Now the law of the Passover lamb said that there had to be a minimum...a minimum of ten people per lamb which would make the population of Jerusalem in a conservative figure during Passover somewhere around two million, seven-hundred thousand people. Now that's a massive amount of people and it was spilling out all over the place
And so they cry, and notice what they cry...one word, what is it? "Hosanna," that word means this, it means two words in English, "Save now," that's what it means. This is not a praise nearly as much as it is a prayer. They are saying to Jesus, "O great conqueror, King of Israel, save now," and they're not talking about spiritual salvation, they're talking about political revolution. "Save now," a prayer for deliverance, "Hosanna, save now." Matthew adds that they even called Him "Son of David" so they knew He had the messianic right to be the King. They knew a lot about Jesus. They knew He had the right to be the King, they called Him King. They knew He came from the Lord, "He that cometh in the name of the Lord," they believed...perhaps we ought to say they believed He came from the Lord. It looked like their Messiah had arrived politically.
It's a joyous occasion, the Messiah has arrived. That's their feeling. God's anointed is here. David's heir is here. Anybody who could raise the dead can handle the Romans. At last we're going to see revolution. Messiah is going to lead a great conquering victory over the Romans. And so all of this massive demonstration takes place while the people in their brain have the idea that Jesus is arriving as a political revolutionary, that the Messiah is going to lead a revolt on a political level. And it's all keyed on the fact that He raised Lazarus from the dead, a monumental miracle. And as we saw last week, when He enters the city He fulfills messianic prophecy, indeed He is the Messiah, just not the Messiah they thought He was. Zechariah said He would ride the foal of an ass, a colt, and that's exactly what He was riding.
Genesis 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people. said when He arrived the gathering of the people would be to Him and He arrived and sure enough the gathering of the people was to Him, just exactly as the book of Genesis said.
Ge 49:4. It should be the royal tribe, and the tribe from which Messiah the Prince should come: The scepter shall not depart from Judah, till Shiloh come, Ge 49:10. Jacob here foresees and foretells,
(1.) That the scepter should come into the tribe of Judah, which was fulfilled in David, on whose family the crown was entailed.
(2.) That Shiloh should be of this tribe--his seed, that promised seed, in whom the earth should be blessed: that peaceable and prosperous one, or the Savior, so others translate it, he shall come of Judah. Thus dying Jacob, at a great distance, saw Christ's day, and it was his comfort and support on his death-bed.
(3.) That after the coming of the scepter into the tribe of Judah it should continue in that tribe, at least a government of their own, till the coming of the Messiah, in whom, as the king of the church, and the great high priest, it was fit that both the priesthood and the royalty should determine. Till the captivity, all along from David's time, the scepter was in Judah, and subsequently the governors of Judea were of that tribe, or of the Levites that adhered to it (which was equivalent), till Judea became a province of the Roman empire, just at the time of our Savior’s birth, and was at that time taxed as one of the provinces, Lu 2:1. And at the time of his death the Jews expressly owned, We have no king but Caesar. Hence it is undeniably inferred against the Jews that our Lord Jesus is he that should come, and that we are to look for no other; for he came exactly at the time appointed. Many excellent pens have been admirable well employed in explaining and illustrating this famous prophecy of Christ.
Daniel 9:24-27 said that exactly 483 years from the decree of Artaxerxes in 445 B.C. Jesus would enter into Jerusalem, and exactly 483 years to the very day on the 360thday of the 483rdyear, and you remember the Jewish calendar was 360-day years, on the very day Jesus entered Jerusalem, that was the very day that Daniel 9:24-27 had prophesied 483 years from the decree of Artaxerxes. THE day, the sixth of April, 32 A.D. when Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem was exactly 173 thousand, 880 days from the decree of Artaxerxes, you divide that up, that equals exactly 483 years of 360 days each, to the very day. If you want to read about it, Sir Robert Anderson, his book The Coming Prince, he marshals all the proofs that Jesus came into Jerusalem exactly on the 360thday of the 483rdyear of that prophecy. So Jesus when He entered into the city fulfilled to the very letter the messianic prophecies regarding the arrival of God's anointed. And the people were sure that the kind of power that Jesus displayed could only be displayed by one from God. And they felt this must be our Messiah, even though Jesus tried to illustrate something to them by riding on this colt of a donkey, rather than on a white horse, He was not coming as a warrior, He was coming as a prince of peace. But they didn't get the illustration, they didn't understand it, not even the disciples understood it. And they continued to hail Him as a conquering hero who was going to be the political ruler who would overthrow Rome and oppression and set up the great Kingdom through which the Jews would rule the world.
Luke 19:39, just listen to this, some of the Pharisees from among the multitude, really shook up, so they say, "Master, rebuke Your disciples...stop all this nonsense, see, don't let them hail You like this. Tell them to be quiet." Oh, they don't like it a bit. Oh I love the answer of Jesus...oh, powerful. "He answered and said unto them," and I'm sure He had to say it loud because everybody was yelling. "I tell you that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." Oh don't you like that? I mean, this is the day to hail the King, friend, and if you shut the mouths, the rocks will shout. This is God's day.
Lu 19:41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 "For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 "and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."
It was Titus Vespasian who came and leveled the city and murdered one-million-one-hundred-thousand Jews. And Daniel 9:26 even prophesied that, doesn't it?
But when Jesus came, in fulfillment of the prophecies that he would come as King, he was not riding on a war horse but on a donkey, a symbol of peace. His only scepter was a broken reed, his only crown a crown of thorns, his only throne a bloody cross. This whole scene is telling us that outward appearance means nothing to God when the heart is defiled and unyielded to him.
16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these
things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.
17 Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness.
18 For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Have you trusted Him as your Savior? He can Save you if You ask Him based on His death, burial, and resurrection for your sins. Believe in Him for forgiveness of your sins today.
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