Summary: It is crucial that we recognize and accept Jesus as God’s Lamb, our Eternal Spiritual Messiah, and not just our Temporal Helper.
“The Lamb of God” John 12:12-19
A lady was visiting an art museum when she turned to the curator and pointed at the wall. "I suppose you call this hideous looking thing modern art." He said, "No, Ma’am. Actually we call it a mirror!" The point of the story is that sometimes something can become too familiar to us; so familiar, in fact, that we tend not to recognize it’s true nature; even when we are looking right at it!
That’s what we see in our passage today. Here is God Himself in the flesh clearly making His identity known to everyone (riding on the Donkey fulfills one of the main prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah in Zechariah 9:9); yet because of their hopes and expectations for a different kind of Messiah/King, they didn’t recognize who He really was and why He had really come.
Have you ever seen ”Trading Spaces?” I love these shows (“While You Were Out”). Usually the people are happy with the remodeling done on Trading Spaces, but not always. Sometimes they hate it and it isn’t long before they tear it all down. One lady was so upset she just fussed and cried like a baby.
That’s what we see in this passage. I’ve always been amazed at how the Jews could so happily welcome their Messiah on Sunday only to cry out for His crucifixion by Thursday. What happened? How could they change so quickly? The answer lies in the fact that they were not getting the Messiah they thought they were getting; the One they wanted and were expecting and hoping for.
How about us? Have we gotten the Messiah we wanted; The One we were expecting? Or have we accepted The One God has sent that we need?
Recently a "Husband Shopping Center" opened in Dallas, where women could choose a husband from among many men. It was laid out with five floors with the men increasing in positive attributes as you ascended up the floors. The only rule was once you opened the door to any floor, you must choose a man from that floor. Also, if you went up a floor, you couldn’t go back down except to leave never to return.
A couple of girlfriends went there to find men. On the first floor door was a sign saying, "These men have jobs and love kids." The women said, "Well, that’s better than not having jobs, or not loving kids, but I wonder what’s further up?" so up they went. The second floor said, "These men have high-paying jobs, love kids, and are extremely good-looking." "Hmmm," they said. "But I wonder what’s further up?" The third floor sign read: "These men have high-paying jobs, are extremely good-looking, love kids and help with the housework." "Wow!" they said. "Very tempting, BUT there’s more further up!" and up they went. On the fourth floor: "These men have high-paying jobs, love kids, are extremely good-looking, help with the housework, and have a strong romantic streak." "Oh, mercy! But just think what must be awaiting us further on!" So up to fifth floor they went. The sign on that floor said, "This floor is empty and exists only to prove that women are impossible to please."
Jesus has not come to please us; but to save us and to call us into His service. Do we want this kind of King? This crowd didn’t, as we will see.
II. The Misunderstood Messiah - v12-13; 17-18
Is a WARRIOR KING – According to verse 14 a great crowd was in town to celebrate the Feast of Passover which was their 4th of July, their Independence Day Celebration when they were freed from Bondage in Egypt. It is in recognition of their deliverance at the hand of God when He passed over the houses of those who had killed a lamb and put its blood on the doorposts of their homes. The firstborn of every household without the sign of the blood was killed. When Pharaoh’s son was among the dead, those refusing to bow before God, he finally agreed to let God’s people go free.
Ever since then, the Jews who were able, would travel to Jerusalem to celebrate this feast. The normal population of Jerusalem at the time was about 50,000 and during this week it would grow to about 120,000, not to mention the increase in Roman Troops needed to keep things orderly this week.
The streets were swollen with people and their animal sacrifices as Jesus approached the city. Hoping that Jesus was their long awaited Messiah and having heard so much about Him (i.e. v17-18), when they heard He was coming they went out to greet Him (v13) and with Palm Branches waving they shouted, ”Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. Blessed is the King of Israel!” They were excited – unfortunately – they were also misguided!