Summary: Life is to be lived for the glory of God. When a person lives out of a motive of self interest he is operating just as the world operates and experiences life accordingly. But for those who will deny the self-centered desires of their fallen nature and pu
Dying to Self
Fortifying the Foundations # 28
Video Clip “The Greatest Story Ever Told” [Ch. 22 (2:07: 47) to Ch. 23 (2:10: 36)]
Does Christianity really work? Is there something to be experienced in a walk with God that is not experienced by the average human being? I believe the answer to both those questions is yes. Yes, Christianity works if we live it out the way it is supposed to be lived. And yes, there is a dynamic of life available to those who surrender to Christ that the world neither knows nor understands.
In our text this morning, Jesus gives us the key to living above the normal human experience. He not only tells us what it is, he also shows us by example the path that leads to life as it was meant to be experienced.
I. The events in Jesus life are moving rapidly toward the cross.
1. It is the time of the Passover feast in Jerusalem. It is a matter of days before Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion.
2. And as you saw in the video clip Jesus has entered Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey.
It was a declaration of his messiahship. He arrives as King of the Jews. We know from the other gospels that Jesus had arranged for this entry.
It is a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” NIV
That was a powerful sign because kings do not normally ride into the city on the colt of a donkey. They normally come riding in on a prancing stallion. But Jesus’ manner of entry was also a revelation of the nature of his kingdom. “See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey...”
There is an excitement in the crowd. There are shouts of “Hosanna”. Palm branches are waved in celebration and garments are laid before him like a red carpet.
3. Jesus goes into the temple and cleanses it a second time. Jesus was the talk of the town. With all that going on and the word out that the rulers were seeking to arrest him, people’s attention was upon Jesus.
4. Some of those people were Greeks who came to Phillip wanting to talk with Jesus.
These Greeks were Gentiles who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover Feast. The Greek word John uses lets us know they were Gentiles not Hellenistic Jews. It is significant that these were Gentiles because Jesus’ earthly ministry had been directed to the Jews. We are not told much about Jesus’ interaction with these Greeks. What we are told is something more important.
II. We are told about Jesus’ response to their coming.
1. John 12:23 “Jesus replied. ‘The hour has come...’” “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Up until this time we have heard Jesus say, “My hour has not yet come.” He said that to his mother, Mary, at the wedding in Cana when he began his public ministry. In Chapter 7 he said it to his brothers when they wanted him to go to the
Feast of Tabernacles with them. Jesus lived with not only a sense of destiny and purpose but also a keen awareness of the Father’s timing. His hour refers to the culmination of his earthly ministry, the cross. The time for him to lay down his life as a sacrifice for sin has come.
I do not know exactly why this inquiry by these Greeks triggered that response.
Certainly it was a reminder that Jesus mission went beyond the boundaries of Judea.
He is the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. Yes, he is the King of the Jews.
But circumstances have now progressed to the time for him to die for all sinners, Jews and Gentiles.
Jesus’ words in verse 23 may have addressed them as part of the crowd. “The hour has come...” Can you feel the gravity of those words? Jesus is face to face with the horror of the cross—not just a martyr’s death but the weight and punishment of the world’s sin laid on him as the eternal sacrifice for sin. John gives us a glimpse into the pain of Gethsemane. He does not retell the details, which have been recorded in the Synoptic gospels. But we are reminded of the struggle that Jesus, as a human being, went through as he prepared himself for that great ordeal.
“...and what shall I say?” The human side of Jesus screamed for an escape from what he was about to experience. Not for a moment did Jesus yield to that temptation. But do not be so naive as to think there was no temptation involved. Heb 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin.” NIV