Gospel of John #30: An exposition of John 12:12-19. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, July 17, 2011.
The date was December 4, 1977. The place, Bangui, the capital of the Central African Empire. The occasion, the coronation of his Imperial Majesty, Bokassa I. It was an impressive affair. The ceremony began with the blare of trumpets and roll of drums. Bokassa’s twenty nine official children paraded down the royal carpet to their seats. They were followed by Jean Bedel Bokassa II, heir to the throne, dressed in a white admiral’s uniform with gold braid. He was followed by Catherine, the favorite of Bokassa’s nine wives. She worn a $73,000 white gown. Finally the emperor arrived in a gold eagle-bedecked imperial coach drawn by six matched Anglo-Norman horses. He wore a thirty-two-pound robe decorated with 785,000 strewn pearls and gold embroidery. On his brow he wore a gold crown of laurel wreaths, symbolic of the favor of the gods. He took his seat on his $2.5 million eagle throne, took off his gold laurel wreath and, as Napoleon 173 years before had done, took his $2.5 million dollar crown, topped with an 80-caret diamond, and placed it on his own head declaring himself emperor.1 That little affair cost $25 million dollars. His kingdom lasted 2 years. Now contrast that spectacle in the praise of a petty tyrant with the entrance of the eternal king of the universe into the Holy City on what we call Palm Sunday. Our text this morning is found in John’s Gospel, chapter 12.
Text: John 12:12-19
Imagine yourself in Jerusalem in the year 30 AD. It’s Passover season. The streets are crowded with pilgrims. The air is filled with joy and excitement. It is conservatively estimated the population of Jerusalem would swell to over 2.5 million during Passover. There is singing, dancing and laughter throughout the city. Off in the distance you hear the faint echoes of a shouting mob. The shouts grow louder and louder until you finally spot this strange parade making its way down from the Mount of Olives. But what kind of parade is this? Old clothes. Broken branches. The peasants are shouting about a king but what kind of king enters triumphantly on a donkey?
And how does such a one inspire people to cry, “Save us! Save us now?”
Our Lord entered the city in a precise and calculated manner.
The citizens of Jerusalem had been debating for days about whether he would even show.
It is well known the religious establishment was determined to kill him.
So why enter in such a public way?
Why such a conspicuous display?
His time had come.
That time determined by His Father in eternity past.
It’s Passover and the Lamb of God must be offered in payment for sin.
As we survey the chaos of this moment. We note the presence of impassioned believers. There are those who have heard His teaching and know that no one teaches like this man. They’ve watched as the eyes of the blind have been opened and they’ve seen the lame walk. Many have been in the presence of Lazarus, the once decaying corpse, and they believe this is the Christ! Others are just curious. They have heard the stories and they’re not sure what to believe. Still others are filled with rage and long for the destruction of this trouble-making Galilean. One thing is certain…
Thesis: The revelation of Jesus Christ demands a response.
He cannot be ignored. You cannot remain neutral. That option is not available to you. Once He is revealed you must believe in Him or you must reject Him. John tells us the purpose of his writing is to present Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God that you might believe in Him. That you might trust in Him. That you would surrender to Him as Lord and Savior. He says, “I’ve written this that you might know that He is the Christ and that you might have life by believing in His name.
In our study of John we are entering the holy place. We have come to the last week of His earthly life and ministry. From chapter 12 through the end of the book John is dealing with the events of those last seven days. 47% of John’s Gospel is taken up by the last week. We begin with this powerful, deliberate revelation.
There are three things I want us to note.
- Our Lord purposefully and deliberately reveals himself as the promised Messiah, the fulfillment of prophecy. (12:12-14)
- Our Lord graciously and deliberately reveals himself as the servant king and the Lamb of God. (12:15)
- Once revealed, He cannot be ignored. (12:16-19)