To begin today’s message, Pastor Marcus showed us photos of gadgets of the 80’s, such as a Polaroid camera, a giant VHS camcorder, a Sony Walkman, a handheld Coleco video game, and a Casio calculator watch. In the 80’s if someone had offered him the choice between all of these “amazing” gadgets or an iPhone, in his limited understanding, he would have chosen all the gadgets, even though the functions of all those gadgets are wrapped up in the tiny smartphone, along with so many other amazing functions.
We often can’t see the importance of what God is doing compared to our limited earthly desires, but God’s plans are always far superior to our expectations.
This illustration is true in a spiritual sense as well. We often can’t see the importance of what God is doing compared to our limited earthly desires, but just as the iPhone surpasses the old Casio calculator watch and Polaroid camera, God’s plans are always far superior to our expectations.
This was true for Palm Sunday as well. It was the week of the Passover, so the population of Jerusalem would swell from 200,000 to about 2 million as Jews from all over would gather to celebrate the feast. As Jesus entered Jerusalem for the final time, people were shouting, “Hosanna,” laying their clothes on the ground, and generally going crazy. After so many years of oppression, they believed that their king was coming at the Passover to release them, provide a new government order, and bring them glory.
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.” John 12:12-15
In a historical context, the Passover had happened about 1500 years earlier. As the tenth plague upon Egypt when Moses was negotiating the freedom of the Jews from slavery, all the firstborn males were to die. But the Jews were instructed to take an innocent, perfect, spotless lamb, kill it, and put its blood on their doorposts so that when the angel of death came in the night, their houses would be “passed over” and their children would be spared.
The Jews of Jesus’ day didn’t realize that the Passover so many years before was actually foreshadowing God’s sending of His sinless son Jesus to serve as the spotless lamb to shed His blood for the sin of the world, that those who believed and were “marked” by His blood would be saved eternally.
God did not send Jesus to bring political salvation to the Jews of Jesus’ day; His plans were much bigger! In fact, of the 89 chapters in the four gospels, 85 of them discuss Jesus’ last 3 years of life, and 29 of those focus on Jesus’ last week! This was the focus of His life on earth – His death and resurrection.
But upon Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the Jews, and even Jesus’ own disciples, did not understand this. John 12:16 tells us that, "Only after Jesus was glorified did [the disciples] realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.” Upon seeing Jesus enter, the people shouted, “God saves us!” and “Blessed is the king of Israel!” but five short days later, they would be shouting, “Crucify Him!”
They had their expectations, but they were too limited and temporary to compare with God’s. We all have our expectations for our lives, but we must remember that God’s eternal plans far surpass our own limited perspectives. As followers of Christ, we need to allow God space to move and permission to guide us so that we are not focused solely on the temporary and on ourselves.
1. They were expecting honor, but God provided humility.
The Jewish people were tired of being subjugated and unimportant. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, they believed that the Jewish king had finally come to reign, to bring them honor and stand up for their rights, but He actually came to die for them.
If you have a relationship with God because you want honor, then you’re in it for the wrong reason. God desires our humility so that He may be glorified.
2. They wanted a revolution, but God gave them a revelation.
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 these things had been done to him. John 12:16
The disciples didn’t understand what was happening until later. After Jesus was resurrected and glorified, then they understood why He came.
Maybe you’re looking for a revolution now in your life, for things to change or favor so that you will be elevated and noticed, but God wants to bring the revelation that you need Him. We often seek a quick fix, but ultimately the thing we want is not the thing that we really need. God sent Jesus to die for us and forgive our sins because he loves us. While we focus on the temporary, God focuses on the eternal.
3. The people wanted power, but God gave them peace.
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 performed this sign, went out to meet him. John 12:17-18
The people wanted an immediate salvation from their earthly circumstances. But Jesus brought them a different, superior kind of power. His death and resurrection brought eternal life and pace with God!