Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” (Jn. 12:13b)
This is the type of earthly celebration that King Jesus should have always had, and the one He did have … for a little bit. But like we see time and time again, people forget so easily—like they did of King Jesus. What we find just one week after this grand celebration in front of what was in all likelihood hundreds of Jews in the middle of the day in John 12:12-19 , is what could just as easily be described as the opposite reaction in John 18: an Un-Triumphal Entry. For it is here, in the middle of the night in a secluded garden, and after His last gathering with His disciples before His crucifixion, where something totally different takes place. The only masses calling His name are the ones that have come with His betrayer Judas—probably 200 or so in number—carrying “lanterns and torches and weapons (Jn. 18:3).”
How Jesus would respond, though, should help solidify for all of us just who this man is. John 18 becomes key to our understanding of the only art that should line the innermost parts of our soul and includes these four elements that make up the ultimate “Portrait of a King”: King Jesus from Above, King Jesus from Below, King Jesus in Our Hearts, and King Jesus for All Eternity.
However, what might seem like a mystery to many, is out in the open and obvious for all who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them; they know what I said. (Jn. 18:20-21)
To that statement, we find ourselves needing to acknowledge what is clearly stated as truth. For we cannot refute King Jesus. We can deny His rightful authority and pretend like He does not matter, or we can give Jesus His rightful throne in our hearts and in our lives. However we come to Jesus, the answer to Pilate’s question, “What is truth (Jn. 18:38a)?” is not a mystery, but reality. All that Jesus came to do can be summed up with this statement from Him in John 18:36-37:
My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.’ Then Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.
Here are some other takeaways from John 12:12-19 and John 18:
- Jesus was always expected to be a powerful ruler and king, clear back in the Old Testament (Is. 9:6-7).
- Jesus was always expected to be a suffering servant-type of king (Is. 53:3-5).
- The Jews have long been waiting for the Messiah, and we see echoes of what was being shouted at Jesus in John 12:12-19 way back in Psalm 118:25-26.
- Palm branches were a Jewish national symbol. With the crowds waving them, they were essentially hailing Jesus as their military and political leader.
- There is power in Jesus’ use of “I Am.” In the original Greek used when Jesus responds to His captors, “I Am He (Jn. 18:6),” “He” is not even there. Jesus is, again, using “I Am” to refer to himself like He has so many times prior to this event.
- After Peter cuts of the ear of the high priest servant Malchus, Jesus says He could call “twelve legions of angels” if He wanted, or needed, to get out of the situation they are in. He rebukes Peter and accepts his fate.
- The truth can be found completely in Jesus himself (Jn. 1:1, Jn. 8:31-32)
- Once we have believed in the Gospel, and accepted Jesus as our Messiah, we can take to the bank what we find in Romans 8:38-39. Nothing separates us from God’s love.
Now it is your turn. What are some of your biggest takeaways from this week’s sermon, along with your own study of John 18, that you can share with someone you know today?
(All Scriptures used above are from the ESV translation).
Our study of the GOSPEL OF JOHN in review: