Sermon – February 2, 2020
Jesus’ miracle in raising Lazarus continues to spread, for those who have been witnesses of it cannot help but speak of it. For many, this implies one thing: Jesus is the long-awaited King of Israel, sent to liberate her yoke of the foreign nations, and to rule over them in peace. In fact, Jesus is precisely this! He was indeed the much-anticipated King, filled with glory and splendor. Yet, even in all this, there is room for us to grow both in our understanding and in our trust of this great King. Today, as we consider John 12:12-19, let us prepare our hearts for this great king, and trust him in all our ways. Let us:
1. Recognize the coming of the King
The report of the miracle sparked the crowds gathered for the Passover to hail Jesus as their long awaited King. While the authorities were concerned that the Romans, upon hearing of the uproar over Jesus, would come and destroy everything, the crowds felt differently. Spurred on by Scripture, they were clear that they not only thought the authorities were wrong, but also were sure of God’s never-ending steadfast love being upon them, specifically in the person of this miracle-working Jesus. Let us never be afraid of our enemies in the face of such a powerful Christ!
2. Recalibrate our knowledge of the King
At the same time, while Jesus doesn’t reproof or rebuke their understanding of Psalm 118, he does try to subtly recalibrate it for them. He finds a donkey, not a war-horse, and rides it into Jerusalem. This was meant to show that, while he is indeed the King, he is not a king of war, but of peace. He will subdue the nations in his peace, and rule over them. The might of his miracles is redirected against our expectations: not to overcome his enemies by powerful miracles, but by the giving of his life in obedience to his Father.
3. Repent our mistrust of the King
The Pharisees, though, still only see the fate they were concerned with coming their way. The uproar of the crowds, the hailing of Jesus as a King, only work to expediate their plan. Jesus is not always the king that is wanted, even if he is the King that is needed. Let us repent when our sin keeps us from rightfully knowing Jesus as King; when our sins keep us from trust and obedience. For he is indeed a good king – and the paths which he leads us down are for our good, even if they are difficult.