Summary: If we want to see Jesus this Easter, we must go to the place of death and go to the place of service. Find life in death. Find honor is service, because there you find Jesus Christ.
It was the depression. The father was able to keep bread on the table, but that was it. When his little boy burst into the house excitedly talking about the circus coming to town, the father knew that he could not afford the $1 admission. The boy had never seen the circus and it wasn’t right that a boy not see a circus, especially when he was eight.
So the father made a deal. He told his 8-year-old son, “You find enough odd jobs to earn 50 cents and I’ll give you the other 50 cents.” Well, the little boy did it. The day before the circus came to town, his little piggy bank held 50 cents. True to his word, the father gave him the rest of the money and the boy bought his circus ticket in advance.
When the circus parade went by, he was right at the curb not missing a thing. When the clown danced past him, the boy handed the clown his ticket. When the parade was over, he rushed home to tell his dad all about it. The father, surprised at his son’s early return, asked him to describe what he saw at the circus.
Crestfallen, the father took the boy into his arms and said, “Son, you didn’t see the circus; all you saw was the parade.” (Glen V. Wheeler, Holiday Illustration Collection)
When it comes to this time of year, I’m afraid that’s what many people do. They don’t really see the Christ; they just see the parade. They don’t really enjoy being with Jesus. They just get caught up in the festivities.
Please, let’s not let it happen to us this Easter, but the question is How? How can we be sure not to miss the main event? How can we truly see Jesus and not just the parade? How can we truly enjoy being with Him even in the midst of all the festivities?
John 12:12-16 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.” At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him. (NIV)
JESUS MAKES HIS TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM, and it’s a grand parade!
People are waving palm branches, the symbol of victory. The crowds proclaim Jesus as their King, and they have come to see Him do some spectacular stuff.
John 12:17-19 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” (NIV)
Sure the whole world has gone after Him, but they don’t understand what He’s all about. The glory they seek and the glory He seeks are two different things. They seek the glory of a conquering King. Jesus seeks the glory of the cross, as we shall see.
On a Palm Sunday some time ago, 5-year-old Stephanie sat on her aunt’s lap while they listened to the pastor’s sermon together. He described Jesus’ approach to Jerusalem and how the crowds cried, “Hosanna, Hosanna!” At that, Stephanie perked up and began to sing, “Oh, Hosanna, now don’t you cry for me!” (Brenda Fossum, Duluth, MN, “Heart to Heart,” Today’s Christian Woman; www.PreachingToday.com)
She got caught up in the moment, but she had no idea about what was really going on. That’s the way it was with the crowd on that first Palm Sunday, and that’s the way it is with many people today. They get caught up in the excitement, but they have no spiritual perception. Then some Greeks come on the scene.
John 12:20-22 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. (NIV)