John 12:12-19                               JESUS: THE KING

Today we will continue to see and understand Jesus through the eyes of one of His disciples, John. We will see John present Jesus to us as The King. He does this in chapter 12: 12-19 of his gospel.

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:

15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
    see, your king is coming,
    seated on a donkey’s colt.”

16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.

17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”

It is very helpful in our understanding of this event when we consider the expectations of the Jewish people at this time. For thousands of years, they had been waiting and looking for a Messiah. The Jewish people had been conquered by one nation after another and they had known very little independence or peace after Kings David and Solomon. There hope was that the Messiah would be a great military leader who would lead them and overthrow all of their enemies. Their Messiah would then restore them to their former greatness.

So, they were not expecting their King to appear to them as a carpenter. They were not expecting Him to come with no weapons, no army, and no political power. They certainly were not expecting that He would be crucified like a common criminal by their oppressors on a cross.

However, Jesus continued to give them examples and evidence that He was who he said He was. He would prove to them who He was by His miracles, His ancestry, His place of Birth, and by signs and wonders too numerous to mention. And yet, despite all that, the people still refused to believe that He was the Messiah. John 1:11 says, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him”. In other words, ‘He was rejected by those who were closest to Him’

In these few verses of chapter 12, we see Jesus about to reveal Himself once more to the nation of Israel. In this event, known as the ‘triumphal entry’, Jesus gives them one more chance to receive Him as their King. Then, in the remainder of this chapter we will see what he came to do, and how he did it. There is also a challenge for us as we look at these truths. We need to look into our own hearts and see where we stand in relation to the King. Have you received Him or are you continuing to live in rejection of the One who loves you more than you can ever know?

Let’s begin by looking at:

  1. Vv. 12-19THE ARRIVAL OF THE KING

Jesus once again, clearly proved His identity by fulfilling a prophecy from Zechariah chapter 9:9. The apostle John repeats this same prophecy in verse 15, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey”. You can imagine that when the Romans saw Jesus riding a donkey, they probably thought it was all a joke. After all, what king rides a donkey? They did not see Him as a threat to their power. Many of the Jews also, probably wondered why He was riding a donkey. After all, wouldn't the Messiah, our conquering King, be riding a powerful war horse? In verse 16 we see that, even Christ's own disciples did not understand the importance of what they were involved in. However, anyone in the crowd, when they saw Jesus entering the city on this particular day, and who knew the prophecy of Zechariah, would know exactly what was happening. Jesus presented Himself just as the prophet had said that He would. He came as the King!

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on what we, today, call Palm Sunday. Just a few days before His death and exactly one week before His resurrection. His entrance into Jerusalem on this particular day was no coincidence. Jesus presented Himself as the King of the Jews just as the prophet said He would. Simply stated, Jesus came as the King! He did exactly what God had said that He would do, to the letter.

It is very important for us to know that the people who saw Jesus entering the city understood the implications of what He was doing. We can know this because in verse 13 it is recorded, they shouted "Hosanna". That word means "Save!." Jesus was very popular with the common people. He had performed many miracles, the most recent of which was raising Lazarus from the dead. Therefore, it comes as no surprise then, that they would think that He was the promised Messiah who would overthrow the Roman government.

What is surprising to us however, is that just 5 days later, some of these same people, who were now praising Him, would be yelling, “crucify Him!” as it tells us in John 19:6, As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.” The people had expected Jesus to be their triumphant King, not to die on a cross. Their acceptance turned to rejection.

With a very literal fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy in Zechariah 13:6, Jesus showed that He was to be the King of the Jews. He came to His own, just as the prophet had said, and His own received Him not, just as the prophet had predicted.

Now let’s look at what John tells us about Jesus the King in the remainder of chapter 12:

Vv. 20-28 we see THE INTENTION OF THE KING

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

Why do you think Jesus came into the world? Do you think He came just to be a good example to us? Do you think He came to show us the only way to God and that if we followed that way he would get to heaven? Do you think he came to teach us how to correctly obey God’s commands? These verses we just read paint a clear picture of why this King came into the world. He came to die! His ministry here was not about those other things or the preaching, the miracles or even the Disciples. His entire life was focused on the day He would be crucified on a cross. His entire purpose in living was to die on the cross! This is what Jesus testified to when He stood before Pontius Pilate in John 18:37, ‘You are a king, then! said Pilate. Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.

Some of you may ask, ‘Did Jesus have to die on the cross?’ Yes! As it says in Revelation 13:8, Jesus was the, “lamb slain before the foundations of the world”. If Jesus had not died on the cross, then there would be no payment for sin. Salvation for people would not have been possible. Even if the Jews had received Him as their King on the first Palm Sunday, Jesus would still have gone to the cross. He would still have died, and then risen from the dead, and ascended into heaven. Why? Because as Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

In verse 23 and 24 we see that Jesus saw His death as a time of glory. Why? Because he did not intend to stay dead. He tells us that his death will produce many ‘seeds’. To make His teaching more understandable He used an illustration that everyone who heard him would be familiar with. As people who grew a lot of wheat, they knew that, before a crop could be harvested it had to be planted first. They knew that a seed that was planted had to die first in order for something to grow. Any new plant has the potential for producing thousands of new seeds in the form of grain.

In the same way, Jesus’ death and resurrection has the power to duplicate His life in every person who comes to him by faith. That is why Paul could say in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”. Not only does Jesus save us from our sins, but He also gives us a brand new life! He allows us to live a life that would otherwise have been impossible. This is what it means to be "born again." Jesus calls us as we are, He then saves us by His grace, and changes us by His power. He begins to live through us and our view of the world is changed

Jesus had just given a living illustration of this in the resurrection of Lazarus! Lazarus was living an impossible life! A little while ago he had been physically dead. And yet now he was alive due to the power of God in Jesus. It is the same with every Christian. Christians live impossible lives in that we cannot do it on our own, we cannot produce the same results by our own efforts. However, when Jesus is allowed to live through us, then we are living the "abundant life" He spoke of in John 10:10. This impossible life is supposed to be the normal Christian experience. Are you living an impossible life? If so, then give God the glory for it, for it is all His work!

  1. The Arrival of the King
  2. The Intention of the King

III. Vv. 29-43 THE REJECTION OF THE KING

When the people heard Jesus speak of being "lifted up" in verse 32, they knew He was referring to His crucifixion. They had difficulty accepting the truth that their Messiah, while He would be a great leader and conquer their greatest enemy, death, He had to first die. Therefore, just as people do today, they rejected the message of the cross and continued to live in sin.

Many people still feel that they can do good works, be religious, or do something else to make themselves worthy of heaven. This thinking leads them to reject the message of the cross. The Bible tells us that there is nothing that any of us can do to save ourselves. If we reject His message, then there is no hope. This is the teaching of passages like Heb. 10:26, "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,"

Also, in verse 34 notice the question of the people, "Who is this Son of Man?" They had listened to all of His preaching, His teaching and seen His miracles and had ignored them. They were literally rejecting every part of His earthly ministry. People still do this today. They hear the Gospel and they say, "I will not accept his rule over me!" Unfortunately, they are rejecting the only hope they have for salvation. You have heard me and many others say it often, but it needs to be repeated again and again, according to Acts 4:12 "There is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Jesus Himself said in John 14:6  “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. You can reject Him if that is what you want. But if you do, you should also know that you are rejecting heaven, salvation, hope, and life. Instead you are choosing, Hell, damnation, hopelessness and death. The choice is yours!

In verse 37 we read that, “Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him”. Jesus clearly proved Himself to be the Messiah, and still the people refused to hear or see the truth. This is still happening today! People laugh at the message of the cross and salvation through the blood of Jesus. Even though, we see the clear evidence before us of many changed lives and even the guilt of our own hearts, we still agree with the people who call the message too narrow, too confrontational, too old, etc.  People are still going to Hell rather than simply accepting the claims of the Lord Jesus.  

  1. The Arrival of the King
  2. The Intention of the King

III. The Rejection of the King

  1. Vv. 44-50THE PROMISE OF THE KING

Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

Jesus gave special promises to those who would believe in Him despite the fact that most rejected Him. In verses 44 and 45, Jesus promises those who receive Him that they can see God. Jesus could say this because He was God in the flesh. That is what it says in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Hebrews 1:3 tells us that, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. And in John 14:9, Jesus himself says to one of His disciples, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Many people look for God. Unfortunately, in all the wrong places. He can only be found in the person of Jesus, the Lord and Saviour.

 In verse 46 we see that Jesus also promised all those who believed on Him that they would be freed from the darkness of sin. I want you to know this morning that Jesus and Jesus alone has the power to break the chains of sin! He can save any sinner, save him by His grace, give him a new life and set him free forever! As it says in Romans 6:14, “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace”.

Jesus makes another great promise in verses 47-50.  He will save all who trust in Him from the anger of Almighty God. When you receive Jesus by faith, you are saved from the penalty of your sins and are taken from death into life and have all the condemnation removed from you. This is what it says in Romans 4:7-8, “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” Glory to God! Hallelujah!

Conc: People can say whatever they want, Jesus is still the King! Men today can do whatever they want, Jesus is still the King! People can live as they want, but Jesus is still the King and He will have the last word! The only question that remains this morning is this, "Is Jesus your King?" Do you know Him as your personal Lord and Savior?

With all the proof that we have been given, with all the Scriptures we have looked at today, how could anyone not see that Jesus is indeed the King? This means that you will either kneel before Him, and acknowledge Him by faith and be saved, or you will face Him at His throne of judgment where you will be forever condemned. What will it be? The King is in this chapel today and He is here for you. Will you come to Him this morning?

Prayer: Thank you Lord for revealing your Son Jesus to us as The King.

We pray that He will become the King of all our hearts and lives as we accept Him for who He claimed to be.

Father, reveal yourself to all who would reject you out of ignorance. And keep those safe who have already surrendered their lives to your Lordship.

In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Benediction: I pray that God the Father will grace us all with the knowledge of the love of God the Son and the fellowship of God the Holy Spirit from this day forward. Amen.