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The Crowd

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The Crowd

Luke 23:13-25; John 12:12-19; Revelation 7:9-12 NIV


Thesis - If Jesus doesn't meet your expectations your expectations are wrong!

Ethical Objective - To cause people to expect spiritual deliverance from Jesus.

            Over the last few weeks we’ve been looking at the final twenty-four hours of Jesus’ life.  We’ve been doing this in the confidence that these hours contain significant lessons for us.  We’ve considered the lessons of both the foot washing and the meal in the upper room.  We’ve also considered the lesson of Gethsemane.  Today, we’re going to consider the lesson of the events that happened between 8:00 AM and Noon, Friday-immediately before the crucifixion.  One account of these hours is Luke 23:13-25.  Turn there, in your Bibles, and follow along as I read the passage.  (Read Luke 23:13-25.)

            Did any of you looking at a version other than the New International notice that verse 17 is missing from this passage in the New International Version?  That’s because it wasn’t found in some of the early manuscripts.  If that troubles you, make an appointment to see me.  Really!  The King James Version includes verse 17:  Now he was obliged to release one man to them at the feast.  The obligation was one of custom.  “It seems the practice had arisen of releasing a prisoner, usually a political prisoner, each year at the time of the Passover feast.”

            Have you ever wondered why the crowd shouted for a murderer to be released?  You don’t have to be a Christian to not want a murderer to go free on the streets.  Not only did the crowd shout for a murderer to be freed but they shouted for Jesus to be crucified until their shouts prevailed (v. 23b).

            The crowd had really changed their tune from five days earlier.  Let me read you John’s account of what happened on the first day of Jesus’ final week.  The account is in chapter 12 verses 12-19.  (Read John 12:12-19).  Let’s spend a few minutes thinking about

I.  The Palm Sunday crowd.

            A.  Their experiences

1.  No doubt some of them had been present at the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1-15).

2.  If they hadn’t witnessed the healing of the man born blind they probably had heard of it (John 9:1-12).

3.  John leaves no doubt that they witnessed Him raising Lazarus from the dead (John 12:17, 18).

4.  He came riding into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt signifying He’s the King of the Jews (John 12:14, 15).     

            B.  Their expectations

                        1.  That Jesus would save them from Rome (political deliverance).

                                    a) Rome taxed oppressively and treated the Jews badly.

b) The crowd was hoping Jesus would tell the Romans, "There's a new sheriff in town."

2.  That Jesus would save them from disease, death and hunger (physical deliverance).

                                    a) That He'd raise Uncle Ed from the dead.

                                    b) That He'd heal their gout (diabetes, fibromyalgia, Crohn's, etc.).

                                    c) No more Mother Hubbard's cupboard (or widow of Zarephath).

3.  Since Jesus would save them from Rome, disease, death and hunger they'd have nothing to worry about (psychological deliverance).

            Now, let's go back to

II.  The Good Friday crowd.

            A.  Their experiences

                        1.  Rome was still in power on:

                                    a) Monday

                                    b) Tuesday

                                    c) Wednesday

                                    d) Thursday

2.  Uncle Ed was still dead, they still had the gout (diabetes, fibromyalgia, Crohn's, etc.), and the cupboard was bare on:

                                    a) Monday

                                    b) Tuesday

                                    c) Wednesday

                                    d) Thursday

                        3.  Jesus had only performed one miracle in His final week.

                                    a) It wasn't a very dramatic miracle.

                                                (1) No water into wine

                                                (2) No feeding of five thousand

                                                (3) No raising the dead

b) He cursed a fig tree and it withered from the roots (Mark 11:12-21).

                                                (1) I've been able to cause plants to wither!

                                                (2) But not immediately, it takes me a couple of months.

            B.  Their expectations

                        1.  Were unmet.

                        2.  Were wrong.

                                    a) They didn’t understand that Jesus’ kingdom was not of this world.

(1) His miracles were designed to demonstrate who He was.

(2) They were not intended to be endlessly provided: A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.  Matthew 16:4

(3) Troubles are necessary to grow us in Christ-likeness.

b) He did not come to give us easy lives (cf. Matthew 5:45)!

                                    c) He came to give us eternal life (spiritual deliverance). 

(1) She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.  Matthew 1:21

                                                (2) John 3:16

            Since the crowds expectations were unmet they got angry.  And their anger led them to change their shouts from “Hosanna!” to “Crucify him!”  Some of us are like that crowd.  We’ve misconstrued the purpose of a few temporal blessings.  We’re holding wrong expectations concerning Jesus.  We’re expecting an easier life!  It’s time to turn in those wrong expectations in favor of correct ones.  You can expect Jesus to save you from the penalty and power of sin if you’ll let him!  If you do, you’ll be at the next palm waving, Hosanna shouting meeting described in Revelation 7:9-12.  Let me close by reading those verses to you.

Wyoming, PA - 03/16/08

Bangor, ME – 04/05/09

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