Summary: Because Jesus is the Servant King, all those who follow Him should act as servants, too.
Who Is This Jesus?
12. He is the Servant King
John 12:12-16, 23-26
Because Jesus is the Servant King, all those who follow Him should act as servants, too.
Picture it – you’re planning the inaugural parade for President Bush. All the secret service force is in place. The bands are tuned up and ready. The politicians are set up in their limos. Then comes the time to see President Bush coming down the avenue – and what is his mode of transportation? How about a 1975 Ford Pinto? Doesn’t that just conjure up images of strength, dignity, and power?
Seeing a powerful ruler riding in a Pinto would make quite a statement – just as it made a powerful statement 2000 years ago – only it wasn’t a Pinto – it was a donkey! It was just one more way that Jesus demonstrated that His Kingdom was quite a bit different than the kingdoms of this world – and that, as a King, he was quite different than the kings of this world. As we return this morning to our series on the Gospel of John, we’re going to look at three passages of scripture that teach us that Jesus is the Servant King. But more than that, we’re going to ask ourselves how we should live our lives if our ruler showed himself to be a humble servant. Let’s turn to John 12:12 and get started.
John 11 Jesus raises his friend Lazarus from the dead. John 12:1-11 Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha hold a dinner to honor Jesus at which Lazarus is also present. Many people have heard about the miracle and are turning to Jesus because of it – so many in fact that the Jewish authorities began scheming how to do away with Jesus AND Lazarus!
1. We know Jesus is the Servant King because of how he entered Jerusalem. (John 12:12-16)
12The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!” 14Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, 15“Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”
Jesus arrives in Jerusalem, and the crowd is going wild. Finally here is their Messiah. Finally the shackles of Rome will be lifted and they can be their own independent nation again.
But Jesus doesn’t enter the city like a conquering warrior. To do that He’d be on top of a beautiful steed, or perhaps pulled in a chariot behind 4 beautiful stallions.
No – when he enters the city, receiving the praise of the people, he comes as a humble peasant. He’s riding a donkey, just like was prophesied about him over 400 years earlier. He comes as a messenger of peace. He identifies himself with the humblest among the people. Just like he always did.
So who is Jesus? He is the Servant King. From the time of his lowly birth to the time of his degrading execution, Jesus identified himself as a humble servant. And the Kingdom he came to establish was one where servants would have the highest honor:
Mark 10:42-45 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The Servant King did not come to be served – to serve others. That much is clear. But the fact that he is the Servant King has implications upon our lives if we are to call ourselves part of His Kingdom.
2. As the Servant King, he calls us to serve Him. (John 12:20-26)
Let’s read on later on in this same chapter.
20Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
23Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
A little background:
Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus has repeatedly said “My time has not yet come” (chapters 2, 7, and 8). The disciples are waiting for the moment when Jesus will let out the secret of who he is, and then they, his faithful assistants, will march into fame and power right alongside their Master.