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From Elation to Rejection, All In One Day

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Text:  John 12:9-33


            Have you experienced one of those emotional highs that were so fantastic that you could hardly contain it, and then to have a downer that brings you crashing down?  Elijah knew what that was like.  There was the elation of a tremendous victory on Mt. Carmel with the false prophets of Baal, and then the threat on his life by Jezebel.  The crash from the emotional high caught him so off guard that he thought he was the only believer left.  It’s very difficult to stay on our feet when there is such a swing in our emotions.  We need the example of someone who experienced the tremendous swing of emotions and yet can stay absolutely on target with the mission at hand.  Our example is our wonderful Savior.

            Can you imagine what it would be like have the crowds finally hail you as the King when you had spent your entire ministry trying to convince them of that very thing?  To be ushered into the Holy City with palm branches, coats laid in the street, and shouts of, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord” (Jn. 12:13), and then the commentary that takes the wind out of His sails: “But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him” (Jn. 12:37).  During these final few days, it was absolutely necessary that Jesus stay focused on His mission.  The elation and rejection could easily distract you and I, but not Jesus.  He didn’t let His emotions muddy the waters that flowed from His heart these final days.  He spoke with such clarity and conviction that it stands as a supreme example for us to follow.  Pay careful attention to the words that follow the triumphal entry…every one of them are intentional…and every one of them are piercing.  Read Text.

1.      When news had traveled that Jesus was in Bethany, what did they do?     Who else did they want to see?     How do you think you would handle sudden popularity?     What conclusion did the Chief Priests come to?     Why get rid of Lazarus – how was he a threat?  (Proof of a miracle; proof that Jesus was the Messiah; and because their own disciples were changing sides, v. 11; but many of these new disciples will soon fade away.)     But how many eyewitnesses were there of this event?     So how smart was their plan?
Insight: The gift of life given to Lazarus moved Jesus’ enemies to act against Him and to take Jesus’ life.  The eternal life Jesus gives also comes at the cost of His own.

2.      The next day, the day of His triumphal entry, Jesus enters Jerusalem with the crowds shouting, “Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”  Does anyone know what the word “hosanna” means?  (Save now!)     What did this reveal about their expectations of Jesus?  (That Jesus was about to set up an earthly kingdom and expel the Romans.)     Was this a new expectation?  Jn 6:15

3.      See if you can spot the 5 prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ triumphal entry.  Ps. 72:17; 118:25-26; Zech. 2:9-10; 9:9; Isa. 40:9-10

4.      Verse 16 reveals that the disciples did not recognize the prophecies fulfilled when it happened, but they did later.  How important is it that we occasionally look at our past and see the movement of the hand of God in our life?  (Hindsight is 20/20; we might miss some tremendous blessings of we do not pause and count them.)     When was it that the prophecies finally became clear?  (When He was glorified; the overpowering presence of the Holy Spirit always brings to light the things that were formerly hidden.)  Jn. 2:20-22; Jn 14:26    What testimony can you share of a blessing you later notices, but at the time didn’t see it?

5.      Verse 19 is one of many hyperboles in Scripture.  A hyperbole is a deliberate exaggeration.  What’s the hyperbole in this verse?  (The whole world has gone out to Him.)     Sometimes tense circumstances can cause things to be exaggerated in our eyes.  What is needed to keep us from making a foolish mistake because of it, like the Pharisees?  (Ask the Lord to reveal truth to us; pause & think before acting; secure Christian friends around you that can help you with perspective.)

6.      How do verses 20-21 indicate the extent of Jesus’ impact?  (Even upon the Gentiles.)     They, too, ask to see Jesus, but He doesn’t answer them directly.  Why not?  (He knows He’s near the end of His mission & He can’t afford to be distracted with sightseers, so He prophesies His death and relates to His disciples the cost of following Him.)

7.      With verse 23 we finally come to the first occurrence from Jesus that His “hour” has finally arrived.  We have seen many verses in John up to now that has stated that His hour had not yet come.  For how long was Jesus aware of this coming hour…how long have we been waiting for Him to say that the hour had come?  (Since His first miracle when He began His ministry: Jn. 2:4)  Lk. 22:53

8.      There are two things from our current passage that indicate what “this hour” is all about.  What are they?  (For the Son of Man to be glorified [glorifying the Son is glorifying the Son, for the two are inseparable], and for His sacrificial death in behalf of others.)     How is the first part fulfilled in our passage?  (12:28 He is glorified by the Father speaking from Heaven and those around heard God’s voice.  The Father stated He has already glorified His name in Jesus, and He will do it yet again.)     What is the reference to when the Father said in verse 28, “…and will glorify it again”?  (Jesus’ resurrection.)

9.      What’s the grain of wheat in reference to in verse 24?  (Jesus)     Verse 24 is a metaphor.  How is Jesus similar to the characteristics of a grain of wheat?  (In order for Him to produce more fruit [more souls], He must first die, and fall to the earth [buried], then resurrect.  His death would wash away our sins so we can live eternally.  Life comes through death for both the grain of wheat and Jesus.)

10.  In context, what does Jesus mean by verse 25?  (If He loved His life more than going through the death He came to die, He would lose His life and forfeit our salvation.  He must not love His own life, but be willing to put it on the line for our sakes, and thus gain eternal life for Himself and for us.) 

11.  For whose benefit does Jesus speak in verse 26, the Greeks or His disciples?  (Both.  If anyone wants to follow Him, they need to count the cost; but if they lose their life because of Him, they will end up in Heaven with Jesus, and the Father will honor them.)  Matt. 5:10-12

12.  If the hour has finally come that Jesus has been waiting for His entire ministry, why is His soul so troubled about it as stated in verse 27?  (Though He is divine, He is fully human and He knows what these final hours hold for Him.)     Wouldn’t you be troubled if you knew what was coming if you traded places with Him?  Ps. 69:1-4; Heb. 5:7-9

13.  What is verse 31 in reference to?  Lk. 10:18; Rev. 12:7-12

14.  What is verse 32 in reference to?     How does this draw all men to Him?  Num. 21:8  (Like the bronze serpent in the wilderness, all those who want life must look to Jesus as their Savior.  And His death and resurrection made Him Lord of all, to whom, one day, all will bow before & confess that He is Lord.  Phil. 2:9-11)

Conclusion:  Most assuredly a day is coming soon when every knee is going to bow and every eye is going to behold our Savior and King.  You can choose to bow now and receive His welcome and praise, or you will be forced by His rod of iron (Rev. 19:15) to bow and confess when He returns to execute His righteous judgment.  This we know – every knee will bow.  The question is: do you willingly bow to His Lordship now, or will your stubbornness bring the rod of iron to your back later, when the confession won’t result in salvation, but mere acknowledgment that He is indeed who He says He is?  Matt. 10:32; 2 Jn. 1:7; Rev. 4:1-11

            It’s a wise man that knows a stubborn, selfish will must willingly yield to Him who holds the key to his own prison cell.  To refuse to bow the knee to the Lamb of God is to remain in prison for all eternity.  Just how worthwhile is it to hang on to a stubborn will?  You calculate the cost…because you will be the one paying for all eternity.

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