Summary: The whole world can't be wrong - can it?
“Cross Currents: The Whole World Can’t be Wrong”
John 12:12-19; Col 4:2-18
I can’t imagine how he must have felt. I’d like to have been there. Joshua was the new leader of Israel. Imagine following the footsteps of Moses. That’s a tall order. I have a little sense of what it’s like. During my years of ministry I succeeded, in Kalamazoo, the pastorate of Dr. Dennis Voskuil – who went on to be Professor of the Year at Hope College and President of Western Seminary – and in Grand Rapids followed a distinguished line that included Dr. Henry Bast (who taught preaching and was the Temple Time/Words of Hope preacher). But that’s nothing compared to following 40 years of Moses leadership! The plagues, the Red Sea, the wilderness – what’s the new man to do? Go and conquer Jericho – that’s all!
So the Israelites headed for Jericho, with Joshua leading. But first, there was this matter of the Jordan River. Listen as God encounters to Joshua (3:9-17 MSG): “When the soles of the feet of the priests carrying the Chest of GOD, Master of all the earth, touch the Jordan's water, the flow of water will be stopped—the water coming from upstream will pile up in a heap." And that's what happened… When the priests got to the Jordan and their feet touched the water at the edge (the Jordan overflows its banks throughout the harvest), the flow of water stopped. It piled up in a heap—a long way off—at Adam, which is near Zarethan. The river went dry all the way down to the Arabah Sea (the Salt Sea). And the people crossed, facing Jericho. And there they stood; those priests carrying the Chest of the Covenant stood firmly planted on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground. Finally the whole nation was across the Jordan, and not one wet foot.” What an experience! Yet still Joshua had to conquer Jericho.
So Joshua went out to scout around. As he got near Jericho (5:13): “… he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?"” That seems like a fair question – “Do I fight you or welcome you?” Listen to the answer: "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." “Joshua – I’ve not come to take sides – I’ve come to take over. The question is not whose side I’m on, it’s whose side you’re on. I’m here with the Lord’s army. This is His battle; He’ll fight it His way. The whole host of heaven is ready to go. Will you join me?” GOD WAS STAKING HIS CLAIM – HE WAS TAKING OVER.
Fast-forward over a thousand years to another great scene. I can’t imagine what it was like – I’d love to have been there. Things were heating up around Jesus, especially since he had raised his dear friend Lazarus from the dead. The religious leaders and authorities wanted him arrested, put out of sight, done away with. But it was the time of the Passover celebration. Because of religious regulations and traditions, they had to be careful. And then it happened. “The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They 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!" Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt.”” As far as the crowd was concerned, the King was coming – riding into town JESUS WAS STAKING HIS CLAIM - TO TAKE OVER. Jesus – which, by the way, was the Greek form for the name ‘Joshua’, meaning ‘to save’ – was now the commander of the Lord’s army. He, like Joshua, was ushering in the host of heaven to win the day and establish the Kingdom of God.
Recall how the Pharisees, the religious leaders, reacted (Jn. 12:19): “So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”” Note their mindset - surely the whole world can’t be wrong! Jesus must be planning to mount a war with swords flashing and thrones crashing. But the world was wrong. Jesus was not staking a claim to a political throne, rule, or kingdom. Rather JESUS WAS STAKING HIS CLAIM OVER ALL OF LIFE. He would rule differently than they thought He would.