Summary: A Palm Sunday sermon based on Jesus being rejected by the Jews and received by the gentiles. In the process Jesus is sharing how we can have Jesus at the center of our life.
Man has been trying had through the ages to find out the force behind the universe, the hand behind the creation and the one who is in charge everything that we see around. If you clearly understand, there is only one person at the center of it all – The Lord Jesus Christ. He is the beginning and the end. Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Now the question is: Do you have Jesus at the center of your life? As we study our passage this morning, the question whether Jesus is at our center of not is answered.
Open your Bible to John’s gospel chapter 12. We have come to the last week of Jesus. On Saturday, He had been in Bethany with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in the home of Simon the ex-leper.
Then on Monday, He left Bethany, and headed towards Jerusalem riding on the foal of a donkey. Soon the people took palm branches and shouted: John 12:13 “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” Blessed is the King of Israel.”
So, when Jesus comes into the city of Jerusalem on this occasion with the word going everywhere about raising Lazarus from the dead, they are thrilled and hailed Jesus as king. That however is going to be short-lived because the Pharisees are not happy and they are going to change the opinion of the crowd soon.
When God originally called Israel, He want the world to have salvation through them. That was God’s purpose. That was what God promised Abraham. Instead of doing that, they became isolated, prejudiced, and narrow. They turned to hate the very people they were to reach. You see this in the case of Jonah when he was told to go to Nineveh and preach, ran the other way. This is a sort of symbolic reflection of how the nation felt about Gentiles coming to know their God. They hated the idea of that.
By the time, you get to the life of our Lord Jesus, the hope is that the Messiah will come, but they can’t see beyond their own nation, their own people. In Jesus they have seen somebody who will not only set up a kingdom and rule but rule over all other nations.
As we come to John 12, Jesus is offering one final chance to Israel to accept him as their Messiah. It looked like they were in a position to accept Jesus with all the, “Hosannas.” But the truth of the matter is by Friday, they’re screaming, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
Rejected by Israel.
They rejected Jesus and had failed to do that. God is going to identify a new people group. The question is who will be God’s new people? Who will take the gospel to the world?
Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.
The apostles adopted Jesus’ method. When Jesus saw opposition and rejection from the Jews, he shifted his focus from Israel to the world, the gentiles. That is why Paul says in Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. God’s kingdom, the NT church is made up of people from all nations of the world.
John 12:19 So the Pharisees said to one another, See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him.” They come to Jesus during that week, asking question after question to trap Him, trying to indict Him. All their traps fail. All week long, whatever they tried to do failed.
This is the sum of it: “This is getting us nowhere.” Our strategies have failed. and the Herodians were in on it. The Sadducees were in on it. The Pharisees were in on it. It wasn’t going anywhere, and then they make an amazing statement. “Look, how the whole world has gone after Him.” Look at the transition from Jews rejecting Jesus and Jesus moving to the world with the gospel.
This is an ignorant prophecy of what is about to happen. This is the Jews who have rejected Jesus and Jesus opening his gospel to the world. God always had the world in mind. When God thought about the world, he thought about you and me.
He’s going to have a witnessing people, and they are going to take the gospel to the world. Remember the Great Commission? Go into all the world and preach the gospel.
V20 shows some real transition. John 12:20 Now there were some Greeks who went up to worship at the temple. Listen, there were some non-Jews among those who were going up to worship at the feast, proselytes. Here’s the first fruits of the church and Jesus was working throughout for this.