John 12:12-16 The King and His Kingdom 4/16/2000

Intro: Today is Palm Sunday.

 

 

#1. Blessed Is the King of Israel (John 12:1,12-13, Luke 19:14,27, Rom 9:6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2. This Is How He conquered His Kingdom (Isa 62:11-12, 63:1-3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John 12:12-16 The King and His Kingdom 4/16/2000

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel according to John, chapter 12. Today is Palm Sunday.

Some of you might think: What does that mean? What is Palm Sunday?

Almost 2000 years ago, on the Sunday before the Passover, the Lord Jesus Christ triumphantly rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. And a great multitude of people took palm branches and welcomed Him as the King of Israel. That is why that day is called Palm Sunday. Today we are celebrating that Sunday before the Passover. It also means that this coming Friday is Good Friday, remembering that the Lord Jesus died for us on the cross. It also means that next Sunday we are celebrating Easter.

This triumphal entry of the Lord Jesus into Jerusalem was an important event. God considered it so important that He recorded it in all the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Today we will look at this event in the Gospel according to John, which is by far the shortest account of all four, and I chose this one so that we can really focus on the important issues of Jesus' triumphal entry.

First of all: Why did the Lord Jesus do this? Why did He make such a big show? This was quite unlike anything else the Lord Jesus did, as recorded in the Gospels. Previously, He charged His disciples that they should tell no man that He was the Christ. When He raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead, He charged them that no man should know of it. When He came down from the Mount of Transfiguration He gave orders that they should tell no man what things they had seen. When He cast out unclean spirits He charged them that they should not make Him known.

But now, Jesus' actions are quite the opposite. If you have read this story before in Matthew, or in Mark, or in Luke, you know that the Lord Jesus took the initiative for this celebration at every point. He sent two of His disciples to get the donkey, and God moved the owner of the donkey to give it up. The disciples did not have to ask Jesus to sit on the donkey; He planned to do that already. God the Holy Spirit moved the multitude to rejoice and to greet Him as the King of Israel. And when some of the Pharisees asked Him to rebuke His disciples, Jesus said: "I tell you, that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would cry out".

How can we explain this sudden change in the actions of the Lord Jesus? He allowed, no He caused this multitude to glorify Him as the King of Israel? Most people in this multitude were unsaved and many probably remained unsaved. But God caused these people, who were primarily in the clutches of Satan, to come out on the streets and hail Jesus as their King. What is going on? Everywhere else we read in the Bible that God does not need a helping hand from Satan on from anyone else who is aligned with Satan. And why did they say:

#1. Blessed Is the King of Israel? (John 12:1,12-16, Luke 19:14,27, Rom 9:6)

Which Israel? Let's read about this in the Gospel according to John, chapter 12.

Why were there so many people in Jerusalem? Because the Passover was at hand. John 12:1

John 12:1 Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.

 

After Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, the Pharisees made serious plans to kill Jesus. But Jesus went away to a country near to the wilderness, until it was time for the Passover. Then Jesus came to Bethany, which was like a suburb of Jerusalem. That year, in 33 AD, the Passover fell on Friday. Therefore, Jesus arrived in Bethany on Saturday. Now jump down to Verse 12

John 12:12 On the next day (which was Sunday) much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,

John 12:13 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

 

What were the people saying? They were quoting from Psalm 118. They were saying "Hosanna", which means "Save now". It is a cry of triumph, not of a petition. Since they were quoting from Psalm 118 they also said: "Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Jehovah"

Did they know what they were saying? No ! They did not understand what they were saying. It was God who orchestrated the whole event to teach US the truths that are hidden behind their words. It was God who put the words in their mouths so that the Apostle John recorded it for US.

Christ is the King of Israel; that is true. But was God referring to national Israel? The majority of the nation of Israel until this day does not want the Lord Jesus as their Messiah.

When the Lord Jesus was in the house of Zacchaeus, He told the Parable of the Talents, which is recorded in Luke 19. He spoke of a Nobleman (Christ) who went into a far country (Hell) to receive for Himself a Kingdom and to return. You all, probably, know the parable of the talents. But did you also know that Jesus told there a parable within a parable? In Luke 19:14 we read this:

Luke 19:14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.

 

Who were His citizens at that time? It was the nation of Israel, who had been under the hearing of the Gospel since the time of Moses. What a terrible accusation ! I did not make this accusation. God did. And how does this parable end? In Luke 19:27 we read this awful conclusion:

Luke 19:27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

 

Think of it now. If we are under the hearing of the Gospel for most of our life, and we remain unsaved, it means that we are like those citizens who say: "We will not have this man to reign over us." Think of it now: Who is the Lord of our life? Who is Number One in all our desires and in all our actions? Are you still living for yourself, for your own career, for your own toys, or are you living for the Lord Jesus Christ. How often do you read the Bible? Is His Word the delight of your soul?

So now we know that the nation of Israel did not understand what they were saying when they shouted "Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Jehovah". He was not their King

They should have known. They quoted from Psalm 118. If the Lord Jesus was coming in the Name of Jehovah, like they said He was, then He is Jehovah. He demands obedience as Jehovah.

Did not God say in Rom 9:6, "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel"? But then, which Israel did God have in view when the multitude shouted: "Blessed is the King of Israel"? Here again the N.T. comes to the rescue. We read in Gal 6 and Phil 3 about:

"The Israel of God", which "rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh".

Over which Israel is Christ King? It is the Israel of God, consisting of all those who have put their trust in Him. It is the company of true believers who are also called "The Temple of God", because God delights to dwell in them. And what is His Kingdom? His kingdom does not indicate a territory. His Kingdom indicates an Authority. Christ is King in the hearts and souls of those who have become His servants, who recognize Him and His Word as their sole Authority.

It is true that this was a sign of rejoicing, and a sign of a festival. For example, in Rev 7:9 we read,

Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

 

It is true that they were rejoicing, but why palm branches. God does not give those details for nothing. But then I read about the details of Solomon's Temple, and a light went up. Let's just read a few verses from this description in I Kings 6:29

1 Kings 6:29 And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without.

1 Kings 6:32 The two doors also were of olive tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims, and upon the palm trees.

1 Kings 6:35 And he carved thereon cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work.

 

You see. The Temple was decorated inside and outside with carvings of palm trees. This was not a building that actually was God's headquarters. Solomon himself recognized that in his inaugural prayer, when he said in I Kings 8:27

1 Kings 8:27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?

 

The Temple in Jerusalem became an integral part of the Ceremonial Law, which was done away from the sight of God when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross. The Temple in Jerusalem was only a picture or a type of the actual Temple of God, which consists of the souls of the Body of Believers throughout time. The N.T. declares: "We are the Temple of God." And just like the O.T. Temple was decorated with palm trees, so in the vision that John saw in Rev 7:9, the Body of Believers is figuratively decorated with palm trees.

Therefore, the palm branches they held in their hands on that first Palm Sunday was a picture of the Body of Believers decorated with palm trees. Remember, it was God who was doing it all. That picture was not for them, but that picture was for US. And what were they saying?

"Blessed is the King of Israel".

No ! He was laden with our sins. He could not return into God's Holy Heaven while still laden with our sins. Those sins still had to be washed from Him. This was the Baptism that He had to be Baptized with. Baptism means washing; and this was the washing that Christ had to endure to wash away our sins which were cleaving to Him.

Indeed it was God's plan to make Christ a King, but the Lord Jesus Christ was the only King who did not receive His Kingdom freely. He was the only King who had to conquer His Kingdom inch by inch, (humanly speaking,) and He had to do it all alone. We have already seen what the nature of that Kingdom is. That Kingdom consists of the hearts and souls of all those who have put their trust in Him and who are going to put their trust in Him.

How did the Lord Jesus Christ conquer His Kingdom? By going to the cross and pay for the sins of every individual whose sins were laden upon Him. Let me back up a little:

1.      When Adam chose to rebel against God, Adam's rebellion continued through all his descendants in the flesh, until this day. That is the fundamental nature of sin. The chain of sinfulness of the flesh cannot be broken. The Lord Jesus explained it this way: "Whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin" (John 8:34). We all were born in slavery to sin.

2.      Each sin is a slap in the face of God. God's justice requires payment for every sin. That penalty is the suffering of an eternity in Hell. Therefore the whole human race, the whole kitten caboodle including those cute little babies, is bound for eternal condemnation. God says: "There is NONE righteous, NO NOT ONE." There is NONE good enough to go to heaven.

3.      But God, in His great mercy, decided to save certain people, and before the foundation of the world God already chose those whom He wanted to save. But we, in our ugly sinfulness cannot save ourselves, therefore God had to provide a Substitute who could pay for our sins. God says: "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

4.      The Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners like US. He was truly man and truly God, and He was our Stand-In at Calvary. He alone was able to know our sins and to bear the Wrath of God for our sins in our place. Therefore He was laden with the sins of all those whom He came to save. God says: "Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."

5.      For all those whose sins have been paid at Calvary, God committed Himself to cause them to hear the true Gospel. The fact that you are now under the hearing of this Gospel may be because God has chosen you to be saved. God the Holy Spirit opens the spiritual eyes and ears of all those for whom Christ died, to give them faith. God says: "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

6.      God assures those who have been saved that they cannot lose their salvation. At Calvary, in Christ we have already stood before the Judgment throne of God. We will never again be judged for our sins. This assurance grows as we faithfully study God's Word. Do we find in ourselves an earnest ongoing desire to do the will of God? God says: "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

Finally you can see the answer to my first question: Why did God create a public testimony on that first Palm Sunday, when they shouted: "Blessed is the King of Israel". Because God showed us in that one picture the sinfulness of man, and the Kingship of Christ who by going to the Cross purchased His Kingdom, and the glories He bestowed upon us by calling US "Israel", the same name He gave to the Lord Jesus Christ. And all this glorious salvation is given to US FREELY. If you want to pay for it, you cannot have it.

Now, let's go on in the Gospel according to John, chapter 12.

John 12:14 And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,

John 12:15 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.

 

There is a widespread misunderstanding about Sion. Many people believe that Sion always stands for the physical city of Jerusalem. But what is Sion? It is the place where God resides; which means, in the souls of those who have been saved, the Body of Believers, the spiritual Temple of God. For example, we read in Psalm 125:1

Psalms 125:1 They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.

 

The physical city of Jerusalem is not going to exist forever. This sin cursed earth will one day be destroyed. Only the spiritual Jerusalem will remain forever. Therefore this is the Jerusalem that God referred to when He prophesied about the triumphal entry of the Lord Jesus into Jerusalem:

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

 

Whose King was this? He is our King. WE recognize Him as King, because WE believe that "He is just and having salvation". God is just means, God is righteous. The righteousness of God demands that every sin be paid for, either by the sinner himself, or by Christ on the Cross.

The Lord Jesus came riding upon an ass, a "young ass" according to John 12:14, an ass "whereon yet never man sat" according to Luke 19:30. Why did God emphasize that it had to be a young ass? Because under the Mosaic Law only those beasts which had never been worked could be used for sacrificial purposes. This donkey, which represents anyone of us who is a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, was dedicated only for one purpose: To serve Christ, and no one else.

In John 12:14 we read that the Lord Jesus came riding upon a young ass, "as it is written". Unmistakably, it was God who wrote the O.T. as well as the N.T. Only God who knows the end from the beginning is capable of making accurate forecasts of what shall happen many generations afterwards. Again we read this in verse 16: "these things were written of Him".

John 12:16 These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.

 

Actually, the Greek text says it in a more profound way:

Instead of "these things were written of him" the Greek text says: "These things were on Him having been written". Your KJV has the preposition: "OF Him", but the Greek text says definitely: "ON Him". In other words: These things having been written throughout the entire O.T. were ON Christ, as if He was clothed with it. But of course, now we know that the Lord Jesus was the Word made flesh; He was the Word incarnate; He said: "Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God". King David wrote of the triumphal entry of the Lord Jesus 1000 years before Christ rode into Jerusalem.

Psalms 24:7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. (into the spiritual Jerusalem)

Psalms 24:8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.

Psalms 24:9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

Psalms 24:10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

 

Why then would His disciples be so slow in understanding these things, which were written all over Him? It was because the honors of the Kingdom attracted them, but the shame of the Cross repelled them. To the very end they had hoped that He would restore the Kingdom of David and establish His throne in Jerusalem. These are the very same issues that the premillenial doctrines raise today. They too want Christ to reign on this earth from Jerusalem for 1000 years. The honors of the Kingdom attract them, but the shame of the Final Tribulation repels them. The Lord Jesus appeals to these dear people, as He did to His disciples 2000 years ago, in Luke 24:25,

Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

Luke 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

 

#2. This Is How He conquered His Kingdom (Isa 62:11-12, 63:1-3)

This was really how Christ conquered His Kingdom. Please turn in your Bibles to Isa 62:11, where God is again addressing the Church as the daughter of Zion:

Isaiah 62:11 Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

Isaiah 62:12 And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.

 

What a beautiful language God uses here to describe the blessings He bestows on us. But the blessings of this chapter could not be enjoyed unless our sin problem would also be addressed. That is why we read in the following verses:

Isaiah 63:1 Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.

Isaiah 63:2 Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?

Isaiah 63:3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.

 

Who comes from Edom? It is Christ, because He says: I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.

Who is red in His apparel? That is clearly answered in verse 3. This is the Lord Jesus Christ who has trodden alone the winepress of the Wrath of God.

Why did He come from Bozrah in the land of Edom? Because Bozrah means "the sheepfold". Christ, the Great Shepherd of the sheep has protected His flock, and He has defended His flock against the enemies of His sheep. His sheep were in the land of Edom, in enemy territory. The Great Shepherd took them out of that sheepfold, because He is mighty to save.

Is this a future event, or did it already take place?

In principle it did already take place when Isaiah wrote this prophesy, because Christ is the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world.

 

Isaiah 63:3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.

Isaiah 63:4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.

Isaiah 63:5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.

 

 

 

 

 

Isaiah 63:6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.

 

 

 

Revelation 14:19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

 

 

 

The Nature of the King (Isa 63:7)

 

Isaiah 63:7 I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.

 

 

 

 

 

Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.