Green Valley Sermons

The Whole World Has Gone After Him

Sunday, April 9, 2017         

John 11:1-21

John 11:1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected,5 "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages." 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 "Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "[It was intended] that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."

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 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.

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!"

20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus." NIV

Jesus knows He is near the end of his ministry in the flesh as He approaches Jerusalem for the last time. According to John, Mary, Martha and Lazarus were some of His closest friends. This must be His final chance to spend time with His friends. He had raised Lazarus from the dead sometime before this.

When Mary stooped to wash her friend’s feet, what would she have been feeling? Gratitude certainly. Jesus had told them that He was the resurrection and the life. Her respect for Him, perhaps even her awe of Him, moved her to kneel before Him and wash His feet.

Speaking of washing feet, do not forget our Wednesday evening service. We will have Communion and Foot washing. I know many of you avoid this service each year. As long as you have taken a bath recently there should be nothing to embarrass you about this service. You are free to join us and just observe. If you will participate in this service you will be blessed. Please join us.

Jesus had been telling his followers that He had to die, but they could not wrap their heads around this idea. Had Mary come to understand this truth when so many had failed to do so? Was it her intention to anoint her friend for His burial, or did Jesus just take this as another opportunity to tell those closest to Him what was coming?

The raising of Lazarus from the dead caused a great stir and by this time, six days before Jesus would lay down His life as the Passover Lamb for all the world, the rumors have been spreading, the gossip mills have been turning, and people are wondering what to expect next from this miracle worker from Galilee.

Many, if not most, were ready to crown Him King of the Jews. They wanted someone to lift them out of the despair they felt as a conquered nation under the oppression of the Romans. Would Jesus of Nazareth be their national hero and raise up armies to help them become the leaders in the world they felt God wanted them to be?

The Pharisees and other leaders of the Jewish nation felt otherwise. They were ready to get rid of, not only Jesus, but Lazarus as well. They felt Jesus might be a threat to their positions of leadership and wanted no part of this would-be king.

So why did Jesus enter Jerusalem on a donkey? To put it simply, for a king to ride in on a donkey meant he was coming in peace. If he had ridden in on a horse, he would be coming as the captain of an army prepared to go to war to obtain his objective.

Jesus came as the Prince of Peace. His followers, even his closest friends had difficulty in understanding why Jesus did what He did at the time. When He told them He was going up to Jerusalem to die, they could not grasp what He was saying.

Only after the resurrection did they begin to comprehend the scope of what Jesus was all about. He did not come to be the King of the Jews. He came to offer Peace to all the world. He came as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He came to be the Savior of all people of all ages. He came to set up God’s kingdom. This was not to be a kingdom like others of this world. This was to be the eternal Kingdom of God.

He came to be your Savior and Lord. Have you accepted this truth? Do you trust Him to save you? Are you seeking to follow Him wherever He leads you?

To the Pharisees, Jesus was a nuisance. They looked out their window and saw the crowds with their palm branches, waving them and lining Jesus’ path with them and with their coats and they thought them all to be fools. They felt their world was being turned upside down. It was. But not in the way they thought.

They looked out their windows and cried “Look how the whole world has gone after Him!” They feared for their position in life. They should have feared for their eternal souls.

People today think about God and His Son and think they will have to give up so much if they accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. If only they could grasp what Jesus really offers.

If only the whole world would go after Jesus! If only they could understand what Jesus is really all about!

They need someone to tell them. They need someone to tell them that God loves them. They need someone to tell them that God has a wonderful plan for their lives if only they could accept Him for who He really is, and not for what they think He is.

What about you? Would you be in the crowd cheering and shouting Hosanna to the King?

Would you be following Jesus even if you did not fully comprehend His true purpose as His closest disciples were doing?

Would you be like Mary, kneeling at the feet of Jesus, pouring your most expensive perfume on His feet out of gratitude for the life that He has given you?

Or would you be like Judas? More concerned for the loss of a few dollars, worrying about what you have? Are you more concerned with keeping what you have than with honoring your beloved Lord?

Would you, like the Pharisees, be more concerned about losing your position in life, or in the church, than you are about promoting the kingdom of God?

What is most important to you in life? Your comfort? Your riches?

Or is your life about doing all you can to bring honor and glory to God? Do you love people enough to tell them the truth about Jesus and His plan for their life? Or are you cringing in fear of what others may think of you?

Will you hoard what you have instead of lavishly pouring out your life like Mary poured out her oil?

You may not understand God’s plan for your future. You probably don’t. Few really do understand. God asks us to follow Him, to love Him, to trust Him even when we cannot see what He has planned.

Jesus tried to tell His disciples what was coming, but they did not understand. They followed Him anyway. They put their trust in Him and loved Him. He asks no less of His people today.

What will you do with Jesus today?