It’s all about Jesus!
Palm Sunday 2017
John 20:30-31 is John’s stated purpose and it says, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
It’s all about Jesus so that we may know who he is and that knowing may lead to life.
John, the evangelist, wants us to believe and have life.
So, what did he say that would make that happen? What do we see?
Let’s take a survey of John 1-19.
- John 1 puts Jesus on display as the “Word” of God who is eternal and has come to put God’s glory on display. John 1:1-3, 14
- Jesus shows his glory in his first recorded miracle at the wedding by turning the water into wine.
Jesus cleanses the temple of those seeking their profit from pilgrims and not working to bring in those who need to know God.
The leaders want to kill Jesus. But Jesus promises that if they were to kill him he would raise himself up in three days.
Then Jesus again shows his glory by only entrusting himself to those who he knows are really following him and not entrusting himself to those just there for good wine and miracles.
- A Jewish leader named Nicodemas comes to see Jesus under cover.
Jesus tells Nicodemas that in order for one to see and taste the kingdom of God they have to be “born again” or “born from above”.
Jesus describes being “born again” from Ezekiel 36:25-27 in which God himself gives a new heart and the Holy Spirit and washes a person clean as the way a person becomes a follower of Jesus.
The point? God does the changing not man. People just receive the gracious gift of God to take dead people and make them alive.
- In chapter 4 John shows Jesus going cross-cultural in order to model for us the need to cross cultures with the gospel of the kingdom just like God promised in Genesis 12:1-3 that all the nations of the earth need to hear and believe.
In doing what Jesus does here he intends to rescue the woman of Samaria from the curse of the fall and thus breaks all human traditions and values of a fallen world in favor of the values of God’s kingdom. Jesus crosses cultures. Jesus is speaking to a woman.
Jesus rescues this lady and turns her into an evangelist who goes to her village and introduces the whole village to Jesus.
Here Jesus speaks of salvation to water. Like water quenches physical thirst, the Spirit Jesus will give will be a well of water that will continue to produce all that is needed to make eternal life, and this well of water, giving of the Spirit, will never run dry.
- In chapter 5 John shows us that Jesus begins confronting the curse of the fall by confronting one of its chief symptoms in the commandments of men who have taken God’s truth and manufactured an oppressive system.
Jesus does this by healing sick people on a Sabbath. Jesus takes the authority as “Lord of the Sabbath”.
Jesus takes authority as the one the Old Testament promises would come.
Jesus takes authority as the Son of God who speaks what is true and who has life in himself so that if anyone comes to him that person will be saved whether it happens on a Sabbath or not.
- In chapter 6 John records Jesus putting his glory on display by feeding 5,000 men besides women and children.
Jesus also displays his glory again to his 12 disciples by walking on water and rescuing them from the rough sea.
But the crowd in chapter 2 who loved the wine and “believed” and the crowd who ate the fish and bread and wanted make him king by force are about to be revealed for who they really are…false disciples who just want Jesus for the stuff he can give them.
So, when Jesus reveals that he is the real bread and the work of God is to believe in Jesus and they must consume him to live, many desire to leave. Many do in fact leave and never come back.
Jesus declares to them then in 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”
Jesus’ teaching gets hard, and Jesus turns to Peter and asks if he wants to leave as well and Peter replies, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
- Now in chapter 7 the Jewish leadership is trying to kill Jesus because he has set himself up as the source of life rather than be fitted into their false mold of a king of this world system.
Jesus’ brothers taunt him about going public their way because even they don’t believe.
As the tension about Jesus’ identity gets more intense Jesus declares out loud, “If anyone is thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of water.’”
The people are then further divided over Jesus’ identity.
- John transitions chapter 7 into chapter 8 with an account of Jesus’ exercising his identity as the one who quenches the thirst of the thirsty when Jesus pardons and forgives the woman caught in adultery with the instruction to go and sin no more.
Jesus then proclaims that (and rightly so because he has rescued this woman caught in adultery, saved her, and sent her on her way to be holy) he is the light of the world.
This declaration sparks a little controversy about Jesus identity contrasted with that of the religious elite who Jesus claims are in darkness.
Jesus teaches that these darkened religious leaders are from the world system and that system’s CEO, Satan, is their father. Jesus contrasts that fact by making it clear that he is from God, is God and existed before Abraham as the God of Abraham.
Satan’s minions try to kill Jesus but he hid himself and escaped their plot.
- In chapter 9 John shows us again Jesus glory by telling us about how Jesus now encounters a man born blind and corrects the false assumption that his blindness is due to his parents’ sinful acts.
Jesus does this by healing the man born blind and telling him that his blindness was for the purpose of putting the glory of God on display in Jesus healing him.
This man follows Jesus, gives him glory and is thrown out of his synagogue for believing in Jesus.
- In chapter 10 Jesus teaches his disciples that he is the good shepherd.
Jesus teaches that he is the door that that people must enter.
Jesus teaches that he is the one that lays down his life for his people.
Jesus teaches that he is the one who calls his people and the one they will listen to.
Jesus teaches that he, the good shepherd, is one with the Father, thus continuing to identify himself as God.
The dark religious leaders recognize Jesus teaching as one that claims he is God and they try to kill him again and yet he escaped their plot.
- The scene shifts in chapter 11 to Jesus’ personal relationship with a particular sibling group, Marth, Mary and Lazarus.
Lazarus has died and Jesus delayed his going to his friends for the purpose of letting Lazarus die so that he can raise him up, show his glory, display what he is going to do in himself and proclaim that he is the resurrection and the life.
- John records for us now Jesus anointing by Mary at a dinner for Jesus, perhaps as a “thank you” for the very good “doctoring” Jesus did on Lazarus.
Mary, in honor and love for Jesus not only washes Jesus’ feet but does so with very expensive perfume.
Jesus says to those in protest that Mary’s actions are to prepare him for his burial and that he is worth it because, after all, he is God and their visitation by the promised one is happening.
What God has promised in the Old Testament he has brought about in Jesus.
Jesus now leaves Bethany and enters Jerusalem for the last time and proclaims that the “Son of Man” must be lifted up and when that happens he will draw all his people to himself…speaking of his crucifixion.
- John has taken 12 chapters to tell the highlights of Jesus deity revealed in his 3-year ministry.
But he will now slow down now and take 9 chapters to tell us about the last hours of Jesus time with his disciples as well as tell us about the crucifixion and resurrection at the end of those precious hours with his disciples.
John records for us how Jesus sets for us the ultimate example of what leadership is when he makes the divinely good decision to serve not be served and he goes first in washing his disciple’s feet and tells them that they should likewise imitate that example of servant hood.
John relays this not so that we should practice the cultural need to wash feet but that we should take the initiative to serve one another like the God-Man, Jesus.
If God would serve his people, who are we to come and demand to receive a good or service?
Jesus then leaves them with a new commandment. Keep in mind this is not a “new” commandment. The language is a little sarcastic. Remember, Jesus is the God of the Old Testament. He told them a long time ago that the summary of his law is “love God” and “love your neighbor as yourself”.
Just like he’s been telling mankind from creation on, we as his ambassadors, are to love each other and thus display that we are his people.
14-16. Jesus has been testifying to everyone that he is the Christ, that he is the God of the Old Testament, that he is the One who is to come. But now Jesus has finished off their last meal together by telling them that he is going away and they can’t follow. They are sorrowful.
Jesus promised that he’s going away to prepare a place for them and he will come back and they will be taken into that place he is preparing.
Thomas speaks up and asks what everyone else wants to know, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus responds, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Then Jesus spends the rest of this time instructing his disciples about the Holy Spirit, who is Jesus’ very presence with them and how it is to their advantage that he goes away so he can send the Spirit.
Jesus teaches them how they can abide in him and produce kingdom fruit.
Jesus teaches them how the Spirit will work in the world, and reminds his people that he has overcome the cursed world system and he is about to prove it on the cross, in the tomb and gloriously as he conquers the tomb.
- In chapter 17 John records Jesus prayer for his people.
Jesus says expressly that he is NOT praying for the world, but that he is praying for those that the Father has given him.
Jesus reveals what the eternal life that he gives to his people is: to know God and the Son Jesus Christ.
18-19. John records for us in chapters 18-19 Jesus’ betrayal, arrest and crucifixion.
Judas betrays Jesus as the Scriptures foretold he would. Jesus refers to him in the gospels as “the son of perdition”.
Peter, although steadfast in his desire to die with Jesus if necessary, denies he even knows who Jesus is just like Jesus said he would.
We see clearly that rather than the Romans and Jewish nation being in control, although given authority over the governing power, Jesus is in full control of himself, the players in the unfolding drama that are accomplishing what he planned in eternity past, and weaving together providentially the events that will bring about the salvation of all who will repent and believe.
Jesus is sentenced, condemned to die and then crucified on a Roman cross where he states emphatically…IT IS FINISHED!
Jesus’ battles with Satan and his minions have culminated at the cross that was looked forward too so long ago in Genesis 3 where the promise that the “seed” of the woman would crush the head of the serpent even though the serpent would strike his heal.
The serpent, Satan, has struck Jesus’ heal. But Jesus has crushed the power of the enemy by taking on himself the guilt of mankind and the punishment that he deserved.
And Jesus, being fully crushed by God himself (see Isaiah 53), dies as the guilty sinner having taken on my sin and yours, so that God is just in punishing sin and at the same time justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:21-26 (ESV) “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
How do we obey?
- If you are in Christ already, be encouraged and lifted up by the marvelous recounting of Jesus’ earthly work and rejoice that John’s mission has been accomplished in you…that you have believed.
- If you are not in Christ, I invite you to turn from the sin that kills and believe on the Lord Jesus and be saved.