SanLo Community, an update for the week of April 14, 2019…
Thank you Pastor Brian for the message from John 12:12-19, “Unexpected King.” Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday is known as Passion or Holy Week. This Sunday marks the day that Jesus enters Jerusalem as the King of Israel. Ironically, within this very week Jesus would suffer the most excruciating and humiliating death by crucifixion. We know about Jesus through Bible studies and sermons, but did you know that Jesus was not the King everyone expected? Did you know that Jesus was not what everyone hoped for? Why is Jesus the “Unexpected King?” To understand why Jesus was not the expected king it will help to know who King Jesus is and ask the question, Who is this King, called Jesus?
Jesus is the UNASSUMING King. (vv.12-16) Jesus arrives in Jerusalem, not as the warrior king the Jews expected but He rode in on a young donkey colt. Powerful kings arrived on majestic stallions. Kings who desired peace rode humbly on a donkey. Jesus, the greatest King of all in the midst of great pomp and circumstance humbly presented Himself as the peaceful unassuming King.
Verse 14, “And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it just as it is written” is from the prophet Zechariah around 1500 years prior to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Though it was prophesied that Jesus would arrive sitting on a donkey the Jews still expected a warrior King who would rescue them from the Romans who ruled over them. They thought Jesus would be their problem solver who would free them from their hardship.
During times of hardship, many of us may become impatient, frustrated or even angry with Jesus because we know He is powerful and mighty enough to change or conquer any challenge we may encounter. In this self-centered state of mind our view of Jesus is tainted. We, like the Jews, expect Jesus to fix our problems instead of realizing and resting in the fact that He knows what’s best for us. We become so self-absorbed in what we want we don’t see His blessings. Jesus may not be the problem solver you expected but He is the humble and unassuming king who always provides a better solution for those who wait upon Him.
Jesus is the UNSHAKEABLE King. (vv.17-18) He stayed the course and remained committed to His mission. Among the crowds of people who welcomed Jesus, there were some who came from Bethany. Bethany was a small town about two miles from Jerusalem. It was there that Jesus brought Lazarus back to life after lying dead in a cave four days. Because of the Lazarus miracle, people from Bethany followed Jesus.
Despite the masses that followed Jesus because of the signs He performed, Jesus remained focused upon His purpose. Nothing could move Him from what He was supposed to do while on earth. He was immoveable. The distraction of the loud and boisterous accolades of the huge audience yelling “Hosanna! Blessed is the King!” did not sidetrack Jesus, the Unshakable King. (v.18) “The reason why the crowd went to meet Him was that they heard He had done this sign (Lazarus raised from death).”
Jesus was not influenced by the multitudes of people who followed Him for what He did rather than for who He was. He remained steadfast even when someone He deeply loved died. Crowds sought Jesus because of the Lazarus miracle but from John 11:14-15 we understand that Jesus knew His purpose. Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe.” Though masses of people followed Jesus because of miraculous signs, Jesus does not stray from the reason He came to earth which was directing people to believe in Him.
Jesus is the Unshakable King who will never fail you. He will not be moved by circumstances, people, ideas, or philosophies. Hebrews 13:8 tells us that “Jesus (the Unshakable King) is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” His love, grace, compassion, mercy and truth are the same yesterday, today, and forever. When you bow before the Unshakable King to receive His love and forgiveness your eyes will see the majesty of this King who humbly arrived on a donkey.
Lazarus was raised from the dead so that you may believe. If you have not considered or have been contemplating who Jesus is, take the opportunity today to believe in Jesus and invite Him into your life.
Jesus is the UNSTOPPABLE King. There is nothing that can prevent Jesus from doing what He was sent to do. It doesn’t matter how much resistance He encounters to the truth of His words, they will prevail. (v.19) “So the Pharisees said to one another, You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him.” Pharisees missed Jesus’ message because they felt threatened by the growing number of those who followed Jesus. So much so they made plans not only to kill Him but also Lazarus. (vv.10-11) But it didn’t matter how much effort was put forth to keep Jesus down, He was unstoppable.
Some estimates from Jewish historians believe there were 2.5 million people in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. Word was quickly spreading among the crowds as Jesus entered Jerusalem. The Pharisees instead of being in awe of Jesus when He fed 5000, walked on water, healed sick, gave sight to the blind and brought Lazarus from death, were more concerned about losing their jobs. They were so worried about losing their power and position they could not see His gift of freedom from the paralyzing and legalistic nature of the Law. Sadly, Jesus was viewed as a threat to the religious lifestyle.
Do you view Jesus as threat to your lifestyle as the Pharisees did? What I mean is, do you sometimes feel like He’s a power hungry dictator who wants complete control of your life? I can understand why you might feel this way. You’ve heard me say how we need to learn to have faith and let God be in charge instead of us doing everything ourselves. This is true only because God knows us better than ourselves and has a wonderful path and plan beyond what we could imagine. The Pharisees were so consumed by their pride they feared losing their position. They were so blinded by their own ambition that did could not see God for who He truly is. God is not a control freak. He is a loving Father who sent Jesus as our Light to guide us through the darkness of lies that tell us we’re not good enough to be His children.
The words of “Silent Night” and today’s Scripture, led me to consider Jesus’ life from birth to death. The song describes the peaceful arrival of Jesus in a manger but we know His violent end. You can experience Jesus in unexpected ways. He will carry you through many obstacles and challenges when you place your life into His hands and believe in Him.
Songs of Praise: Forever, Amazing Love (You Are My King), How Deep the Father’s Love.