Sermon title:  JESUS DISRUPTED JERUSALEM, BUT HE ISN’T FINISHED YET

 

 

John 11:55, 12:1, 9-19 and Luke 19:41-44Immanuel Baptist Church – Sunday, July 21, 2019

 

 

 

For many months now, we’ve been going through the 4 Gospels,

Matthew, Mark, Luke & John,

in the order that events occurred,

so that we won’t miss anything

that our Lord Jesus said or did

during his 3-1/2 year ministry on earth.

 

And that chronological coverage

takes us now to the final week

leading to Jesus’ death on the cross

on the day we commemorate as Good Friday

and his rising from the dead

on the day we celebrate as Easter Sunday.

 

A Jewish fellow I was talking with one time

and told me his wife

worked as activities director

at a nursing home,

and she wondered why

the Christian Easter and the Jewish Passover

always occurred so close to each other.

 

He was a totally non-religious Jew,

and didn’t know anything at all about Easter,

or even about his own Jewish Passover.

 

I explained to him

that the Passover lamb’s blood

was smeared on the doorposts

of Jewish homes in Egypt

when God sent Moses’ tenth plague—

the death of all firstborn sons.

 

And the Angel of Death “passed over”

the homes where the lamb’s blood

covered the doorposts.

 

And then I told him

how that Passover lamb

was a prophetic picture of the Messiah Jesus,

who is called “the lamb of God.

 

And I explained that Jesus’ died on the cross

that Passover weekend,

so that his blood would free us from sin.

 

And that Jesus rose from the grave

that Passover weekend,

that first Easter Sunday.

 

He took that information home to his wife,

but unfortunately, neither of them took it to heart,

at least not the last I heard.

 

But, if we turn to John, Chapter 11,

which began our Responsive Reading,

that relationship between Easter and Passover

will help us understand the timing of these events.

 

So, we begin with John 11:55,

where it says,

 

55 When it was almost time

for the Jewish Passover,

many went up from the country to Jerusalem

for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover.

 

56 They kept looking for Jesus,

and as they stood in the temple area

they asked one another,

 

"What do you think?

Isn't he coming to the Feast at all?"

 

57 But the chief priests and Pharisees

had given orders

that if anyone found out where Jesus was,

he should report it

so that they might arrest him.

 

We’re starting to look at the last week

of our Lord’s ministry on earth.

 

It’s a week when Jesus disrupted Jerusalem

with his actions and his teachings.

 

It’s a week when he began to make clear

that God would be switching

to a new way of dealing with mankind—

switching from Judaism to Christianity.

 

We have just one week of Jesus’ earthly ministry

remaining for us to look at

in this sermon series,

but it’s a week filled with important events

and our Lord’s life-changing teachings.

 

So, we still have about a large portion of the Gospel material

ahead of us.

 

That’s because the Gospel writers tell us a lot

of what Jesus said and did

during that final week.

 

And, because they all give us so much information,

the Gospel writers each supply details

not mentioned by the others.

 

So, we’ll be turning from one Gospel to the other,

piecing these details together

in chronological order.

 

But the next verse—John 12:1—tells us,

 

Six days before the Passover,

Jesus arrived at Bethany,

where Lazarus lived,

whom Jesus had raised from the dead.

 

Bethany is understood to be

the present-day West Bank city of al-Eizariya.

 

That Arabic name means "place of Lazarus,"

and the traditional Tomb of Lazarus is found there,

believed to be where Jesus raised Lazarus to life

and called him to “come on out” of the tomb.

 

Bethany is located about 1-1/2 miles to the east of Jerusalem

on the south-eastern slope of the Mount of Olives.

 

So, it is right next to Jerusalem,

like Acushnet is next to New Bedford.

 

The next few verses in John Chapter 12

tell of a dinner hosted for Jesus in Bethany.

 

But the Gospels of Matthew and Mark

both place that dinner later in the week,

and John mentioning it here

seems to be topical rather than chronological—

--bring it up while on the subject of Bethany—

so we’ll look at that dinner in a later sermon,

in Matthew and Mark’s outline of events.

 

For now, we’ll skip down to John 12:9,

where it says about Bethany,

 

9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews

found out that Jesus was there and came,

not only because of him

but also to see Lazarus,

whom he had raised from the dead.

 

10 So the chief priests

made plans to kill Lazarus as well,

11 for on account of him

many of the Jews were going over to Jesus

and putting their faith in him.

 

12 The next day –which was Sunday, by the way.

 

 

12 The next day

the great crowd that had come for the Feast

heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.

 

13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him,

shouting, "Hosanna! "

"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"

"Blessed is the King of Israel!"

 

14 Jesus found a young donkey

and sat upon it, as it is written,

 

15 "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion;

see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt

 

16 At first his disciples did not understand all this.

 

Only after Jesus was glorified

did they realize

that these things had been written about him

and that they had done these things to him. ."

 

That was, of course, the first Palm Sunday.

 

Matthew, Mark and Luke give us more details

about what happened on Palm Sunday.

 

But, we talked about those events

just a few weeks ago,

so, let’s continue with John 12:17.

 

17 Now the crowd that was with him

when he called Lazarus from the tomb

and raised him from the dead

continued to spread the word.

 

18 Many people, because they had heard

that he had given this miraculous sign,

went out to meet him.

 

19 So the Pharisees said to one another,

 

"See, this is getting us nowhere.

Look how the whole world has gone after him!"

 

The Lord was drawing huge crowds,

which further infuriated his enemies,

the Pharisees and the other religious leaders.

 

He was disrupting the religious life

of the whole city of Jerusalem,

even before he entered the city.

 

Our Responsive Reading continued

with Luke 19:41,

because only the Gospel writer Luke tells us

about this.

 

41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city,

he wept over it

 

he wept over it

 

Jesus was brought to tears.

 

He cried and wept over the city of Jerusalem.

 

And that’s because he saw the future.

 

He knew the consequences that would come upon the city

because they rejected their Messiah.

 

He wept over it and said to the Holy City,

 

"If you, even you, had only known on this day

what would bring you peace—

but now it is hidden from your eyes.

 

43 The days will come upon you

when your enemies

will build an embankment against you

and encircle you

and hem you in on every side.

 

44 They will dash you to the ground,

you and the children within your walls.

 

They will not leave one stone on another,

because you did not recognize

the time of God's coming to you."

 

Jesus prophesied here

about the Legions of the Roman Empire

who would put down a Jewish rebellion

within that generation,

and would destroy Jerusalem and its holy Temple.

 

Then our Lord proceeded to enter the city of Jerusalem.

 

Matthew 21:10 says,

 

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem,

the whole city was stirred and asked,

“Who is this?”

 

The crowds answered,

“This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

 

And then Mark 11:11 says,

 

Jesus entered Jerusalem

and went to the temple.

 

He looked around at everything,

but since it was already late,

he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

 

Throughout that entire last week

of his life on earth,

 Luke 21:37-38 says,

 

37 Every day Jesus taught at the temple,

but every evening He went out

to spend the night on the Mount of Olives.

(not outdoors,

but at the home that was opened to him

in Bethany, that town on the slope of the Mount of Olives,

right next to Jerusalem)

 

38 And early in the morning

all the people would come

to hear Him at the temple

 

Then, in Mark 11:15 we read

what the Lord did that first day:

 

Jesus entered the temple area

and began driving out

those who were buying and selling there.

 

Why were there people buying and selling there?

 

Jews who travelled a long distance

to worship at the Temple

did not find it convenient

to bring birds or a sheep or goat with them

from their own farm, for the sacrifice.

 

They would bring cash with them

and would buy the animal or bird for sacrifice

after they travelled and reached Jerusalem.

 

And the cash they brought

would be the coin or currency of their homeland—

not the coins used at the Temple.

 

So, over the years, the custom developed

of moneychangers converting currency

and people selling animals and birds

right there on the Temple grounds.

 

They shouldn’t have been there!

 

They should have done it next door,

or down the street somewhere,

but not on the holy ground

of the Temple of God.

 

So, Mark goes on to tell us that Jesus

 

overturned the tables of the money changers

and the benches of those selling doves,

 

16 and would not allow anyone

to carry merchandise through the temple courts.

 

17 And as he taught them, he said,

 

"Is it not written:

" 'My house will be called

a house of prayer for all nations' ?

But you have made it 'a den of robbers.' "

 

Yes, those merchants there on the Temple grounds

were price-gouging—

robbing their customers by charging exorbitant prices.

 

Our Lord forcefully put an end to it.

 

Then Matthew 21:14 says,

 

14 The blind and the lame

came to him at the temple,

and he healed them.

 

15 But when the chief priests

and the teachers of the law

saw the wonderful things he did

and the children shouting in the temple area,

"Hosanna to the Son of David,"

they were indignant.

 

16 "Do you hear what these children are saying?"

they asked him.

 

Calling Jesus “the Son of Davidmeant

they were looking to him as the Messianic King.

 

"Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read,

" 'From the lips of children and infants

you have ordained praise' ?"

 

It was appropriate for them to call him “the Son of David

because he was the Messianic King.

 

Then Luke 19:47 tells us,

 

47 Every day he was teaching at the temple.

 

But the chief priests,

the teachers of the law

and the leaders among the people

were trying to kill him.

 

48 Yet they could not find any way to do it,

because all the people

hung on his words.

---------------------------------------------------------

 

Jews had been worshiping God

at the Jerusalem Temple

for well over 1,000 years,

but it was all coming to an end.

 

It was a turbulent thousand-year history,

with God correcting that nation

through messages from prophets

and disciplining them

and through foreign invasions.

 

But the Jewish nation kept rejecting God’s discipline,

and finally, as Jesus said,

they “did not recognize

the time of God's coming to" them.

 

So, God would stop recognizing their temple worship,

and would have the Romans destroy the Temple

and scatter the Jewish people world-wide.

 

From then onward,

the way to approach God

would be through the Christian arrangement:

the shed blood of Christ, the Lamb of God,

instead of the blood of animals

sacrificed at the Jerusalem Temple.

 

Those animals sacrificed at the Temple

merely foreshadowed

the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ,

who would be the ultimate Passover lamb.

 

His blood shed at the cross of Calvary

on that Passover weekend

would truly take away our sins,

and his rising from the dead

on that first Easter Resurrection Sunday

would open the way for us

Jews and Gentiles alike—

to enter God’s heavenly kingdom.

 

The Jerusalem Temple would be destroyed.

 

It would be replaced by a spiritual Temple

made up of Christian believers.

 

1 Peter 2: 5 says Christians are all

 

“like living stones . . .

built into a spiritual house.”

 

1 Corinthians 3:16 says,

 

"you yourselves are God’s temple,

and . . . God’s Spirit dwells in you."

 

1 Corinthians 6:19 says,

 

"your body is a temple

of the Holy Spirit within you."

 

2 Corinthians 6:16 says,

we are the temple of the living God.”

 

Ephesians 2:19-21 says

...you are . . .

built on the foundation

of the apostles and prophets,

with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone.

 

In Him the whole building

is fitted together

and grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

 

So, we have a responsibility

to behave like the temple of God that we are.

 

At Matthew 18:20, the Lord said,

“where two or three are gathered in my name,

there am I among them.”

 

He is invisibly here with us.

 

And sometimes what he finds in Christian churches

makes him just as angry

as when he threw the moneychangers

out of the Temple.

 

According to Revelation 2:5 the risen Christ

told the church in Ephesus

"Consider how far you have fallen!

Repent and do the things you did at first.

 

If you do not repent,

I will come to you

and remove your lampstand from its place."

 

Further on in that same chapter,

Jesus’ message from heaven

to the Christian church in Pergamum

included these words:

I have a few things against you:

 

There are some among you

who hold to the teaching of Balaam,

who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin

so that they ate food sacrificed to idols

and committed sexual immorality.

 

Likewise, you also have those

who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

 

Repent therefore!

Otherwise, I will soon come to you

and will fight against them

with the sword of my mouth.

 

And the Lord told the Christian church in Thyatira

 

"I have this against you:

You tolerate that woman Jezebel,

who calls herself a prophet.

By her teaching

she misleads my servants into sexual immorality..."

 

In the next chapter he told the church in Sardis,

 

"if you do not wake up,

I will come like a thief,

and you will not know

at what time I will come to you."

 

And he told the church in Laodicea,

 

"Those whom I love

I rebuke and discipline.

 

So be earnest and repent."

 

Jesus’ cleansing the Temple in Jerusalem

was not the last time

he took such drastic action

to discipline his people.

 

It was to a Christian church

that the risen Christ said from heaven,

“Those whom I love

I rebuke and discipline.

So, be earnest and repent.”

 

Jesus invites us to, “Come, follow me!”    (Luke 18:22)

 

He disrupted Jerusalem

during that final week of his ministry.

 

And, if we listen to Jesus,

he disrupts our lives today.

 

His rebukes and his discipline are for our own good.

 

And we are blessed when we listen to him

and take his words to heart.

 

 

 

 

 

Pray           Hymn # 517  What a Friend We Have in Jesus