Saturday, April 9, 2022

Thy King Cometh!

Bobservations Column

Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Fresh on the heels of Lazarus’ being raised from the dead, Jesus’ week of The Passion begins with Zechariah 9:9 being fulfilled (487 BC – Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion: 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.”

This fulfillment kicked off a week of teaching and encouragement, and of providing an example for all who would follow Jesus in their lives. The Apostles and Disciples would see their Teacher/Prophet/Healer/and Lord raised up for all to see. The texts written of Him are countless, some are true and others utter blasphemy because of the hatred that rests in some human hearts.

Our reading for today in 2 Samuel 5:1-5 speaks the reign of David that Jesus has inherited as the King of Israel, and of the whole world. Those long genealogies of the Old Testament give us a direct bloodline from King David in both Mary’s lineage, and Joseph’s also. David’s Throne is an Eternal Throne that takes us to the Book of Revelation, and beyond. Jesus is the rightful heir to David’s Throne, and the only Eternal One who can sit upon it forever.

David’s kingly reign over all Israel and Judah lasted for 33 years. And Jesus’ life on earth is well enough documented that we know His entire life was 33 years.

So, when the Magi came to Bethlehem to see the King of the Jews, truer words were never spoken: Matthew 2:2 -
 "saying, 'Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?'"

Jesus was born as the King of the Jews, and the prophecy from Zechariah 12:10-14 remains yet to be fulfilled, when the Jews finally mourn for their promised King that they put upon a cross to die. This is a sad story of unbelief and rejection, but one day in the future, it will be a glorious day when the Jews see their King seated upon, and reigning from King David’s Throne! As the saying goes, “Hope springs eternal,” and in this case it springs for all Eternity!

Psalm 89:4 – “I will give you an eternal dynasty and establish your throne throughout future generations.” 

Psalm 89:29 – “I will give him an eternal dynasty, and make his throne as enduring as the skies above.”

Today's Audio Message:
John 12:1-24 - "Thy King Cometh!" 


Today as we look at the twelfth chapter of John we are coming to the end of Christ’s ministry. The first eleven chapters of John describe the whole of the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ from John’s perspective, covering a period of three years. But the second half of the book from chapter 12 to the end covers ONE WEEK. This final week is known as the Passion week. It is the time from Palm Sunday, or Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, to His death on the cross for our sins as the Passover Lamb, and His victorious resurrection from death to life, or Easter Sunday. Everything gets very intense from here on.

Palm Sunday, or Christ's triumphal entry was a significant event not only to the people of Jesus' time, but to all Christians throughout history. Jesus’ purpose in riding into Jerusalem was to make public His claim to be their Messiah and King of Israel in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Matthew says that the King coming on the foal of a donkey was an exact fulfillment of 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.” Jesus rides into His capital city as a conquering King and is hailed by the people as such, in the manner of the day. The streets of Jerusalem, the royal city, are open to Him, and like a king He ascends to His palace, not a temporal palace but the spiritual palace that is the temple, because His is a spiritual kingdom. He receives the worship and praise of the people because only He deserves it. No longer does He tell His disciples to be quiet about Him (Matthew 12:16, 16:20) but to shout His praises and worship Him openly. The spreading of cloaks was an act of homage for royalty (see 2 Kings 9:13). Jesus was openly declaring to the people that He was their King and the Messiah they had been waiting for.

God’s fullest revelation of Himself as Savior came in the person of Jesus Christ—God in human flesh. The incarnation itself was an expression of sympathy and identification with our weakness (Hebrews 4:15). In Christ we can see countless expressions of His compassion. Though without sin Himself, Jesus suffered all the consequences of sin in infinite measure—and in so suffering, He identifies with the misery of all who feel the pains of human anguish. This was the whole reason God the Son became a man to begin with. However, the compassion of God and the earthly work of Christ must be seen as redemptive. In other words, our Lord’s tenderest mercies are concerned primarily with the salvation of our souls, not merely the suffering of our bodies.

Jesus miraculously healed the sick, made the lame walk and the blind see. He raised the dead back to the living.  What vivid displays of both Christ’s power and His compassion! Jesus exhibited proof of His deity and living demonstrations of His divine authority, and established His unlimited ability to liberate anyone and everyone from the bondage, the penalty, and the consequences of sin. The healing ministry of Jesus was illustrative of the gospel message, a true expression of God's compassion, and proof of His messianic credentials.

Here in chapter 12, we are 6 days before the Passover.

Everyone is looking for Jesus. He is the most popular person in the nation, a teacher, a miracle worker, the claimed Son of God. Everyone is waiting for Him to show up at the Passover Feast. The leaders were looking for Him, they had been conspiring to kill Him. In fact in John 11:57, the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, to report it so they could arrest Him.

We see the crowds looking for Him. They had heard testimonies about the many miracles of Jesus. They wanted more miracles to be performed. They had heard about Lazarus rising from the dead, and they came just to see him with their own eyes. All of this is waiting for Him in Jerusalem.  Just six days before the Passover, Jesus comes to Bethany. Bethany is the place where Lazarus was raised from the dead.

His time had come. Jesus would come to the Passover feast, and He would be the true Passover Lamb.  In these final days, Jesus chooses to share this time with His beloved apostles, and close friends in Bethany. He spend time with those whom He loved, and those who loved Him, Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

Jesus comes to Bethany to the home of Simon the leper. He is a leper who has been cleansed and healed by Jesus.  This is just another incredible testimony of Jesus' miraculous power. We see them preparing a supper and Martha in service to her Lord and to others.  Martha gets criticized often, but it is important to see that our service to the Lord is a high calling, and a noble service.   She loves those who she serves, and where Jesus corrected her earlier, it was because she needed to understand that true service is rooted in love. 

Lazarus, their brother, is also with them.  Lazarus who had who had been raised from the dead is sitting at the table with Jesus. We also learn that after Lazarus was raised from the dead, the chief priests and Pharisees plotted to kill him, because so many witnesses to the miracle believed in Jesus (John 12:9–11). The enemies of Christ couldn’t deny the miracle; the next best thing, in their view, was to destroy the evidence—in this case, the evidence was a living, breathing person. But they couldn’t stop the truth from spreading.

We see the humble sacrifice of Mary who took 12 ounces of very costly perfume and anointed the feet of Jesus. Mary’s anointing again points to Christ’s identity as Messiah-King, but it also points to His humble position as Servant-King. When Mary anoints Jesus’ feet and then wipes them with her hair, she foreshadows Jesus’ actions at the upcoming Last Supper when the Lord washes the disciples’ feet and teaches them how to love one another through sacrificial, humble service (John 13:1–20).  Jesus Christ is God’s anointed Messiah. The word Messiah means “anointed one” and derives directly from the Hebrew word for “anointed.”

To the contrast, we see Judas the betrayer, the hypocrite, and a thief berating Mary for the way she lavishly used this expensive perfume on Jesus, rather than selling it at a profit to be used for the poor. As Mary’s perfume filled the house with its fragrance, the poison of Judas’s words contaminated the air. Judas cared nothing for the poor, he only had his own self-interest at heart. Mary’s act symbolized the Lord’s coming death according to Jesus, John 12:7.  

We read of those who love and serve Jesus.  We see the selfish sin and apostasy of another.  We see a crowd looking for another spectacle, another miracle and maybe then they will believe, but Hebrews 11:1 teaches us that 
" is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  We see the hatred of the false leaders of Israel plotting against Jesus, and the testimony of those who believe. We see the indifference of the crowd.  We see prophecy being fulfilled. All of this continues today. Different people, same attitudes…and God’s Word will continue to be fulfilled until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

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