Hero To Zero (John 12:12-15) {Palm Sunday 2018}

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

Today is Palm Sunday… Christians celebrate when The Triumphal Entry took place. A great crowd welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem riding on a donkey & fulfilled prophecy (Zech 9:9). His approval rating in Jerusalem that day was probably 90%, with only the Pharisees in disagreement.

But in just a few days these same people would be calling for His crucifixion. There’s probably never been a greater or quicker swing of public opinion than in Jerusalem that day about Jesus. How does that happen? What is the back story? How can Jesus go from hero to zero so quickly? Let’s see…

Something significant happened in Jn 11:1-44. A man in a family Jesus loved (Lazarus, Martha, Mary {11:5}), was sick (Lazarus). Jesus purposefully waited until Laz died. THEN he went to Bethany. The sisters took Jesus to Laz’s tomb.

Pharisees were there disparaging Him saying, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” (12:37). Jesus then commanded for the stone to be removed from the tomb. Martha protested because Lazarus had been dead 4 days and surely smelled.

After a brief prayer of thanksgiving to God, Jesus commanded Laz to come out… and he did! Jesus told them to remove the burial cloths to walk normally. When Laz was raised from the dead, it infuriated the Pharisees. It is written in Jn 11:53, “So from that day on they made plans to put (Jesus) to death.Hold that thought…

Jesus’ miracles were always with a purpose… either to fulfill Scripture OR model salvation. They were NEVER random. Also… He NEVER used his divine power for himself! Laz being raised from the dead is a picture of salvation. Let me explain…

Prior to a person being saved, they are spiritually dead (Eph 2:1), right? Prior to salvation a person is NOT spiritually sick… they spiritually dead. Now, how dead was Laz, physically? Q: What can a physically dead person do? Can they hear… think… walk? Can they do anything?? No. Why?

By the same token, a person who is spiritually dead cannot hear, think, or respond in a spiritual manner. Why? Not to belabor the point but they are SPIRITUALLY DEAD!

Now, what did Jesus have to do to Lazarus for him to hear Jesus… sit up… & hobble out? Listen close. Jesus made Lazarus LIVE! JESUS MADE HIM LIVE AGAIN! Let that settle in your spirit. Lazarus had been dead 4 days… he had begun to decay. The ONLY way he could respond to Jesus was for Jesus to MAKE HIM LIVE. Right? ((BIG PAUSE)) The same thing happens SPIRITUALLY!

When a person is given new life in Christ it is called REGENERATION

Every person, prior to salvation, is as spiritually dead as Lazarus was physically dead. The only way a person can respond to God’s call to be saved is for God to make they LIVE spiritually! ONLY THEN can they hear spiritually… think spiritually… respond spiritually to trust Jesus for salvation. Eph 2:4

But God, being rich in mercy, b/c of the great love w/ which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together w/ Christ (by grace you have been saved) 6 & raised us up w/ Him & seated us w/ Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…

See it? Because of God’s mercy & love, when we were DEAD He made us alive with Christ! At conversion, in addition to being made alive spiritually, Paul adds two more things… both in v 6.

Our ETERNAL salvation is so sure Paul writes about our resurrection & reigning w/ Christ in eternity IN THE PAST TENSE! “Raised us up w/ (Jesus).” “Seated us w/ (Jesus).” There is no possibility of a believer losing their salvation. What is GOING to happen is so certain, Paul writes it in THE PAST TENSE! Praise be to God!! (Ok… losing time! Back to Jesus & Lazarus in Jn 11)

Because Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead the Pharisees got worried… afraid they’d lose their position of power & influence over the Jews b/c so many began following Christ. Listen to a few verses from Jn 11

47 So the chief priests & the Pharisees gathered the council & said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, & the Romans will come & take away both our place & our nation.” 11:53 So from that day on they made plans to put (Jesus) to death.

12:9 When the large crowd of the Jews learned Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of Him but also to see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away & believing in Jesus.

The straw that broke the Camel’s back for the Jews was Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. They feared everyone believing in Jesus. They feared losing influence & power. Lazarus was walking proof Jesus was The Messiah & the Pharisees went nuclear: kill Jesus AND kill Lazarus.

Now you know the back story. Why the Jewish leaders set a plan in motion to kill Jesus. The Pharisees bribed Judas to betray Jesus… brought Christ before Pilate & Herod… for him to be sentenced to death. They worked overtime with lies & false accusations against Jesus to turn the people against Him.

By Thursday night after The Triumphal Entry… when Jesus was widely loved & praised… the Pharisees had turned those same people against Him through lies, embellishments, & intrigue. Jesus was whipped & beaten so severely his face was unrecognizable (Is 52:14).

Pilate tried to release Jesus because he knew He had done nothing wrong. Pilate’s last attempt was to offer the worst criminal he could find so the Jews would choose to have HIM killed rather than Jesus.

Do you remember his name? Barabbas. Bar-Abbas. BAR means “Son.” ABBAS means…. “Father.” Barabbas’ name was “The Son of the Father!” But JESUS was THE Son of THE Father. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus called God “AbbaFather.” Mk 14:36, “And (Jesus) said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Remove this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.’” Do you see where I’m going with this?? The people demanded Barabbas’ release (Jn 18:40).

Jesus called God THE FatherAbba.” Jesus IS THE Son of THE Father (God). Jesus, The Son of THE Father was sentenced to die. But Barabbas a vile criminal (“The son of the father”) was freed.

After Barabbas was released, the people demanded Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus was then taken outside the city and crucified between two criminals. For six hours he hung on the cross. For three of those hours God The Father poured out His ETERNAL wrath for everyone who would ever believe on Jesus. Then Jesus gave up his life. DID YOU HEAR THAT?!

Jesus was NOT murdered. Jesus’ life was NOT taken from Him. He didn’t die of a broken heart. He didn’t die from loss of blood. NO! Jesus died because He CHOSE to die. Listen to Jn 10:17-18…

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, & I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.

Jesus’ last words were, “It is finished.” The plan of salvation was complete b/c the eternal wrath of God toward everyone who would ever believe had been paid by Jesus. God’s eternal wrath toward our sin (IF we believe in Jesus) was completely and absolutely satisfied.

We will pick back up here next Sunday (God willing). The next chapter is the best ever written.

Have you believed? Have you trusted Jesus for the forgiveness of your sin? “God commands all (people) everywhere to repent” (Ac 17:30). If God has saved you come and glorify Him this morning.


Brief explanation of the Lord’s Supper. Observance of The Lord’s Supper

MP3 of the message