Demanding, 20 March 2016

Palm Sunday
John 12:12-19

Big Idea: Do we make demands of Jesus or allow Him to truly be LORD and King?

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,


“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!” (John 12:12-13)

The people blessed Jesus. They blessed the king of Israel. But there was another word they shouted…


This word has several translations.

Save us.
Please save us.
Save us now!

These people were desperate. Rome was a vicious, violent place.

Although it was built after Jesus walked the earth, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheater ever built, the place where many Christians were martyred in front of screaming fans.

Time does not permit us to unpack the full context of Roman life at the time of Jesus, but it was oppressive, especially for the Jews.

Here’s the thing: the people had an agenda for Jesus. They wanted Him to overthrow the government. They wanted Him to save them from Rome. We’re not exactly sure the tone of their voices, but rather than joyful shouts, they were very possibly desperate and demanding shouts.

Save us now!

We celebrate Palm Sunday as the arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem. We know He arrived not on a white horse but a modest colt.

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:

“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” (John 12:14-15)

Needless to say, Jesus did not meet the demands of the crowd. He did not meet the demands of His own disciples.

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 these things had been done to him. (John 12:16)

Can you blame them? Days after the crowds shout, “Hosanna!” crowds—not necessarily the same people—yell, “Crucify Him!”

All who followed Jesus—including the eleven and His mother—watched all of their hopes and dreams destroyed as He was nailed to a cross.

But that’s for Friday!

One More Thing

There’s another biblical account involving palm branches and loud multitudes.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!” (Revelation 7:9-12)

Today we close with worship. We sing praises to Jesus for He alone is worthy. He alone is King. And someday soon He will return not on a donkey but on a white horse. He will arrive not to die but to rule forever and ever. We will not shout, “Save us, now” but, “Thank You, Jesus!” And we prepare for eternity now as we declare Jesus as LORD.

You can listen to this message and others at the First Alliance Church podcast here.