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
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.
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
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 David” meant
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
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.
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