Summary: People have preconceived notions of public figures. People have immediate, often polarizing opinions, about the person. Jesus was like this. He was a well know but little understood national figure. When you see Jesus, who do you see?
“Fear not, daughter of Zion. Behold, your King comes, sitting on a colt of a donkey.” John 12:15
1. Dinner Anyone?
There is a ‘getting acquainted’ question that is asked sometimes. You may have asked it or answered it before. The question is, “If you could, what famous person would you like to have dinner with?” Who would you like to spend time with? Who would you like to get to know better? You know the public perception, but who are they really?
People have preconceived notions of what a public figure is like. People have immediate, often polarizing opinions, about the person. Let’s say I offer you a dinner with the United States President, Republican Donald Trump or Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi? Any thoughts?
Jesus was like this. He was a well know but little understood national figure. Most people breathing at the time had an opinion, right or wrong, good or bad, accurate or illusion.
As the Gospel of John is narrating the first part of the Passion Week, we see everyone has an opinion about Jesus.
2. Behold, Your King is being Revealed
One of the few commands in 50 verses of narrative in John 12 is of supreme importance. It is just one word. It may be one of the most important words in the entire Bible if you think about it. How much would change in our lives if we obeyed this one word?
The word is “Behold!” See! Look! Attend to! Imperative Lo! Discover! Grasp the significance! Open your eyes! Gaze. Ponder. Examine. Watch for. From Zechariah 9:9 the word behold means to Pointing to, a Signal and also a Promising Satisfaction.
In this chapter alone, Jesus is revealed by …
V1, dining with the Lazarus, whom He resurrected after dying three days before. Power over death.
V3, accepting worship from Mary pouring expensive perfume on His feet.
V7, predicting His imminent death. Knows the future.
V12,34 fulfilling Biblical prophecy. See Psalm 110 to resolve the paradox of the Christ.
V17,37 eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ miraculous power, signs
V27, 30, The Father’s vocal confirmation and affirmation from heaven.
V38-41, O.T. prophets acknowledge and point to, seeing this Jesus as King
We might ask and the crowds, “Who is this Son of Man?” v34 But the evidence was overwhelming. It is for all of us, if we will behold. The first two chapters of the Book of Romans gives us six categories of evidence; (1) The Code, the Word of God points to Jesus. (2) Creation points of Jesus. (3) Christ, His sinless and powerful life. (4) Conscience, our moral compass. (5) Kindness, of God as demonstrated in the Gospel offer. (6) Christians, eyewitness testimonies of the Christ and changed lives.
If we ‘behold’ long enough, then the answer to the question is obvious! Behold, Your King!
But God has a question. He asks us, “Who has believed our message?” v37 Or, more directly, “Have we believed the message?”
3. Who has believed the message?
John 12 includes various characters into the passion week narrative. Who has believed our message? And, who has not believed our message? We see various personalities in this chapter. We see ...
Committed, Obedient Believers – Lazarus, Martha, and Mary
Calculating, Opportunistic Betrayer - A user, a thief, betrayer of the King, Judas Iscariot.
Careless, Fashionable Crowds – One from Bethany, another from Jerusalem, they are reactionary, in-style
Carnivorous, Positioned Authorities – Pharisees, Chief Priests, killers.
Converted, Believing Witnesses – young, true believers
Communicating, Visionary Prophets - saw from a distance, saw and believed revelations of the coming King
Clueless, Busy Disciples – With Christ but hindered by familiarity, sin didn’t blocked vision, assumptions did.
Curious, Seeking Greeks – seeking, God-fearing gentiles
Confirming, Affirming Father – The head of the Trinity
Serpent of Old - Prince of this World
Cowardly, Believing Leaders – believed but not followers, doers
Calloused, Rejecting World - rejecting truth, people in darkness, blind
Some believed. Some rejected. Some were seeking.
As we examine this list, we come to realize that most people didn’t know who Jesus really was. They were blinded. Various issues clouded or distorted or veiled their abilities to see, to behold, to discover the person of Jesus who was standing, living right in front of them. But why?
4. How Do We Have Confidence We Are Seeing, Beholding Jesus As He Really Is? Are We Blind Too?
We can be blinded by...
> Personal Illusions / Distortions – We can be looking directly at something and not see it. Optical illusions are like that. You’ve seen these before. The young girl or older lady? Which of the three lines is longer? A woman’s face or a man playing the saxophone? The disciples had a pre-conceived notion of the Messiah. The disciple might have been wearing MIGA hats on. You know, “Make Israel Great Again.” They were thinking Jesus was the political solution they were seeking. After all He was a king. But He wasn’t the king they thought He was.