Sermon – Which crowd are you in? (John 12:12 – 12:19) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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The Book of John was authored by one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, John, who features in the gospel. John makes his mission for writing the book plain in 20:31; “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” He details the many words and claims of Jesus, as well as the various responses from those listening; in either faith, amazement, caution or rejection. Listen as Cornerstone preachers unpack the narrative and invite us to reflect on our own response to Jesus.

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Sermon 40 of 58

Which crowd are you in?

Chris Tilley, John 12:12 - 12:19, 2 October 2022

Chris continues our series in John’s gospel, preaching to us from John 12:12-19. In this passage we see the different reactions of different groups of people to Jesus entering Jerusalem - and what it means for us today.

John 12:12 - 12:19

12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

15   “Fear not, daughter of Zion;
  behold, your king is coming,
    sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

John chapter 12, and we're going to read from verses 12 to 19. 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. Hosanna.

Bless it is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessid is the king of Israel. Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it as it is written. Do not be afraid, daughter Zion. See, your king is coming seated on a donkey's colt.

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? 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. Many people because they had heard that he had performed the sign went out to meet him. So the pharisees said to 1 another, see, this is getting us nowhere.

Look how the whole world has gone after him. Well, good evening and a very warm welcome from me. My name is Chris Tilly. I'm 1 of the elders here at Cornerstone Church, especially if you're new or visiting us for the first time, you really are welcome. Please do fill out 1 of those welcome cards if you'd like us to stay in touch with you.

Let us let you know what's going on in the life of the church. We'll just send you an email every week and it will tell you everything that's coming up and help us to connect with you a bit better. Now, I mean, this this sermon, funnily enough. I mean, and I had written this before Pete preached this morning, but it's basically the same 3 points. So what I think is going on is that Cornerstone is a very very thick church and we need to hear the same thing all over again.

So clearly has something to say to us in all of this. So let me pray, and then we'll we'll begin. Fob, we do come before you now. We're always before you, but we come before your word. We come before it and we see the Lord Jesus Christ.

You're showing us things about him. You want us to understand things about your son. And you've sent us your holy spirit so that we can do that. And father, we pray your spirit would be helping us now that we would cast aside any distractions, any cares, and that we would come before you now. And hear hear what it is you have to say to us.

Arman. As we as we start, I just wanted to spend a few moments thinking about crowds Think about crowds. The definition of a crowd is a large number of people gathered together in a disorganized or unruly way. So in their nature, they're quite unstable things. A bit like Cornerstone morning service.

Quite an unruly disorganized crowd, an unstable thing. And they can balloon up without warning, and they can dissipate just as quickly, can't they? They blow hot and cold. Crowds can be incredibly fickle, and they can turn very, very fast, think of the Simpsons crowd. You know, what do we want?

We want this. But what about this? No. Actually, we do want that. And and they can even start rioting and smashing the place up.

They can start out as 1 thing, and often even a good thing as they begin with good intent, but they can come become an entirely different thing very fast. I don't know if anyone's watched this documentary on Woodstock 19 99 that's on Netflix. But it's 2 days, 2 days and they burnt the place down. And that was supposed to be a really good festival of love and peace and all of that sort of stuff. People in crowds do things that they would not do individually.

There's safety in numbers, isn't there? If you do something in a crowd, it's the crowd that's done it, it's crowd identity and mentality, and that kind of thing. I mean, think of like the London 20 11 riots, normal people which is looting shops because everybody else was doing it so they could get away with it. Crowds have slogans, don't they? They they wave banners, and they chant the same things.

We see this. Wherever it happens in the world, whatever the agenda is, that's something that seems to be a commonality. Crowds are not under anyone's control. That's the scary thing about them really, they kind of got a mind of their own, they're sort of dumb brute beasts in in that sense. But They can be swayed and turned by a few choice words for ill or for good.

And for this reason, crowds have always been feared by governments and authorities and powers. The world over throughout history Look at how Belarus in the last couple of years has cracked down on the crowds that gathered. Look at how Russia this past week has cracked down on crowds that have gathered governments fear crowds. Authorities fear crowds. Crowds really have no idea what they're doing in many ways.

Quite often. I mean, Acts 19 is is 1 of the most hilarious things. The riots in ephesus and and Luke writes this. The crowd was in confusion. Some were shouting 1 thing.

Some another. Most people didn't even know why they were there. That's what we're seeing crowds. They're just there because everyone else is there. What are we talking?

I don't know this. Hate that bloke. Yeah, we hate him. We hate him. Why don't I?

That's the problem, isn't it? That's the problem. It's so easy to get caught up in a moment that you've misunderstood. As a part of a crowd, you end up doing things. You didn't think in a million years you would do or say or think and you can become part of someone else's agenda.

That you never really were on board with or wanted to be on board with, but suddenly you're in the thick of it. Now, You've probably already guessed why I'm talking about crowds because the first thing that we come to in chapter 12 here is a great crowd. And this crowd over the coming days is going to behave just as I've laid out there, pretty much. They're gonna do most of those things. Not in this passage tonight, but as we go forwards, that is what this crowd are gonna do.

And they start here with good intent. Seemingly, on the face of it, this is a friendly crowd to a large degree. Why are they gathered? What are they there for? What is this huge crowd?

Well, they're gathered because in their eyes, in the part of story that we've got to. Jesus is finally doing what they've been wanting him to do for a while and that is to claim his place as Israel's king. They've been trying to make him do that, and Jesus has been backing away from it over and over. They intended to make him king, so he slips away. But now he's come.

We're at a point in the gospel of John where it accelerates. We're only halfway through, by the way, we're just over halfway through. But The the the next chapters between now and the end are are set in just a period of a few days. We've charted a couple of years up to now. Now we're in a few days, and that's the rest of the gospel of John.

We're accelerating through. And that's because Jesus is going public, properly going public on his own terms for the first time, really. In a way that he hasn't done before, and he's dead within not very long after he does, it's just interesting, isn't it? This time, when he comes, it's unmistakable in terms of what he's doing and saying who he is. Now he has been to Jerusalem a few times before, hasn't he?

He went there right quite early on in his ministry and overturned tables in the temple courts. He was fairly unknown back then so he could easily go in. No 1 knew he was coming. They certainly did after he started flipping tables in the temple courts. That got their attention.

And he cleared out the money lenders and the market stalls that were defiling the house of God, the house of his father. So he certainly got some got some attention. The second time he goes up to the feast of the tabernacles. That's about 6 months before this triumphal entry. He goes up to the feast of the tabernacles.

And if you remember, he goes in secret, everyone's going, oh, are you gonna go? Are you gonna go? And he's going, no, no, no. I'll go on my own terms, I'll go on my own terms, and everyone's watching out for him. What's he gonna do?

What's he gonna say? Where's he coming from? And he goes in secret and starts teaching about himself in the temple courts. And when he does that, when he starts telling people who he is, They try to kill him. Twice, they pick up stones and try and stone him.

And 6 months later, we come to this passage. So, what's happened between then and now, that means he is being welcomed into Jerusalem with overwhelming love and adoration. There's a big difference between picking up stones and trying to stone him and him being cheered on into into the city. And as we've been looking at the last couple of weeks, it's lazarus, isn't it? Lazarus is the difference.

Jesus raising lazarus from the dead is what has has led to this happening in verse 11 just before our passage tonight. It says for on account of lazarus, many Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him. Verse 17 and 18 of our passage, the crowd that saw him raise lazarus from the dead spread the word. Many people went out to see him because of this sign. So Jesus has saved in many ways, his best till last, hasn't he?

And for the perfect moment, really. For his entire ministry, Jesus has been building up towards this passover festival that's about to happen in Jerusalem. And he is gonna be the main course. He is the main event at this festival. He is what this festival is gonna be all about.

And it's this time, this moment in his ministry when his popularity is at an all time high. Jesus is never more popular on earth, than he is in this passage right here, I don't think. Everyone seems to be on board near enough with the exception of a few. Everyone seems to be on board with what's going on here. Now, why is that important?

Why is that important as we frame this scene before we delve into it. Well, it's because that sets in motion a sequence of events. The popularity of the crowd puts Jesus on a public collision course with the authorities. With the rulers, with the chief priests, and the pharisees, and ultimately it's gonna take him to his objective. It's gonna take him where he's going.

Which is straight to the cross. He came on a mission, and that is his goal. And the crowd, the pharisees, they are stepping stones towards that. They make the other happen. So, with all that in mind, with that introduction, let's let's delve a bit closer into this scene.

Let's have a look at what's going on. Now I said, this is basically the same as this morning and it it really is. There's 3 types of people in world. 3 types of people, and that's what we're going to see. You've got the crowd, you've got the faracies, and you've got you've got the crowd that you really want to be a part of here.

So first, the crowd. So, with it being so close to passover, Jerusalem was swollen in number, in population, it massively increased around time of year. Jewish people from all over the Roman world and from the Persian world and wherever else they were scattered to would make their way back into Jerusalem for the Passover. And the people in the city or the city Jews, as I'm gonna refer to them, have heard that Jesus is on his way in. They've got wind of it.

He's coming. Finally, he's coming publicly out in the open. And so they they start to gather together. There's a buzz. There's excitement.

You can sort of feel the electricity in the city amongst the people, the whispers, the rumors are going round. Which ways are you coming from? Where is he at the minute? Which gate do we go to? Do we go to the west side, the east side, north, south?

Which 1 is it? Incidentally comes in from the east. And so they start to gather And this crowd is pretty boisterous, I reckon. You can sort of get a sense of that from the from the passage they're shouting out. You can sort of picture the seen on the way in, can't you?

With people jostling for space. They want to catch a glimpse of Jesus as he goes, pass, maybe they've never seen him before. I wonder what he looks like. Is he 7 foot tall? Or, you know, is he the most amazing looking person I've ever seen or maybe he's really ugly.

I don't know. They wanna see who this guy is. They're on rooftops, they're hanging out windows, and they're all cheering Jesus SON as he comes towards this destination. There's no security here, by the way. This isn't an organized event.

There's not barriers lining the roads like we see in our nice royal processions around London, which are all very regimented. This would have been fight your way through the crowds time. He doesn't have a a security detachment. He's probably just got his disciples around him trying to push away through the crowd as they as they go in. And whilst they're trying to do this, you've got this crowd waving these palm leaf branches in the air in front of him and shouting things out like Hosanna.

Blessid is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessid is the king of Israel. That's a pretty strong statement to make, the king of Israel. I haven't had a king for a long time. Now, what's going on here?

Because that can all seem a little strange to to us. It's nothing like what we have, is it? It's really this scene is not really like anything that we have in our in our culture. So to understand where these guys are going with it, they're essentially harking back they're looking back at Scripture and they're quoting Psalm 118. That's kind of what's going on in this little scene.

Psalm Psalm 118 is all about God sending his Messiah and saving Israel from her enemies. Verse 27 of Psalm 118 says, with bowels in hand, they join the festal procession. That's the palm trees that's going on. They shout Hosanna, which means savior, or save us. Now, interestingly, it could also be, in this context translated as something along the lines of God saved the king?

I've heard that recently, haven't we? God saved the king. And if that wasn't explicit enough, They quote directly from verse 26 and say blessed is he who comes in the name of the lord. In the in the crowd's mind, This is the Messiah. Jesus is the 1.

These are strong words that they're using. They seem convinced about it, and the final piece of evidence for them is the manner in which Jesus is traveling in. In verse 14, Jesus finds a young donkey and sat upon it. And that's odd, isn't it? Because a donkey is a fairly poor way of of getting around for anybody, let alone a king.

It's not an impressive stallion or it's not a chariot like you would have normally seen in those days It's just a humble donkey. They're lovely things aren't they donkeys. It's just a humble little donkey that he's found. And by earthly standards, it's so it's pretty pathetic. It's a fairly poor and pathetic scene.

However I mean, for Jesus in terms of him and his earthly ministry, it's actually quite extravagant because he just walked everywhere the rest of the time. So donkeys about, you know, that's like the Rolls Royce in terms of Jesus standards. But for everybody else, it's a pretty humble way to get around. Instidentally, did you know that donkeys do actually have a cross on their back all donkeys. If it's a true donkey, not an ass or a mule or something like that, we're talking about this before.

They all have a cross on their back. Funny, that isn't it? It's just in the side, but that's not the point. The point is that this act fulfills another prophecy about the Messiah from Zechariah 9, Again, a prophecy about God's chosen king, and it says, do not be afraid, o daughter of Zion. C, your king is coming seated on a donkey's cult.

It's very specific, isn't it? You couldn't be more specific in a in terms of prophecy. In fact, they're rarely that specific, you know, a donkey's cult. Jesus is on a young donkey on his way in. He's taking the utmost care to ensure that not 1 prophecy about him falls by the wayside.

He's making sure that everything is fulfilled as he comes into this moments. And that particular moment, in time, the crowd appear to be in full agreement with him. But that isn't gonna last because we know how this story ends. And the crowd's adoration turns into cries for blood within days. This same crowd, are gonna be crying out for him to be crucified in not very long.

And I think that some of what you have going on here Even though on the face of it, it all looks very positive, is competing agendas. This crowd have a competing agenda with Jesus' agenda. They do not understand why he's come. They don't really get it. And you see this sort of coming out in verses 15 and 16.

I mean, there's a theme that we've been consistently picking up throughout John, as we've been going through. And that's 1 of people coming to Jesus for all the wrong reasons. They come time and time again for what they can get and what he can do for them in this world He can make them better. He can make them healthier. But they don't really come for who he is and what he has come to do.

They've got a bit of knowledge, but they haven't got much understanding. And and the thing is they seem to know the scriptures quite well because they're quoting directly from Psalm 118 when they're crying out. They know the Scriptures. Do they understand them? The problem is their interpretation.

They read Psalm 118. They read things like Zechariah 9 and a whole host of other prophecies in the Old Testament, And the conclusion that they all firmly arrived at is that God is basically gonna send another David. He's gonna restore the line of Israel's kings. He's gonna he's gonna make Israel a great nation In fact, I mean, and it's quite heady stuff, isn't it? When you think about that time when David was king.

Just think back to that time. He was smashing the Philistines in, left right and center. You're David's mighty men. I mean, how cool is that? I mean, there's probably a whole host of young Jewish blokes who are thinking, I could be the next Joe shared Bachelbeth.

Stick me in front of a Legion of Romans and I will slay them all with 1 spear. Yeah. You can imagine this, can't you? You can sort of feel the excitement around something like that. You know, it says in Zechariah 9 that his rule will extend from sea to sea They're gonna be a superpower.

That's what they think. They literally think that. Well, that's the problem, actually, is that they think literally. They've taken it and read the Scriptures literally. So from their literal reading of these passages, they believe that with the coming of the promised king, they will be the next world superpower here on this earth.

They're gonna overtake the Romans. They'll be bigger than the Roman empire. They'll overshadow any empire that's ever existed. That's the kind of excitement I think that's going on, and and this is the problem. This is the problem.

It's like in Mark chapter 4 when Jesus says the people are ever seeing but never perceiving and never hearing, but never understanding. That's Jesus' verdict about people as he speaks in parables to them. In fact, it's highly likely that some of the people that heard Jesus say those parables are in this crowd now, cheering out for him, cheering him into Jerusalem. And there's a clue hidden in amongst Psalm 118. Well, it's not really hidden of what's gonna happen.

Of what the crowd are gonna do with Jesus. And you may be sort well, I don't think we read it earlier, actually. I don't think we got that far, but the stone the builders rejected has become the capstone. They are going to reject Jesus. As an unfit building block for their lives.

Their agenda is not on board with his agenda. He is not going to fit into their interpretation of how he should be And what he should do for them to make their lives better here and now, and so they are blinded to the truth about him. And how true is that for so many people? How true is that for so many people? The same today as back then, that Jesus is an unfit building block for their lives.

He's an awkward fit. He doesn't work. He's not gonna build the house that I wanna build. I'm not gonna be able to build my life upon that building block. It's what we were looking at this morning.

The Jesus we want is the Jesus that makes our lives better. Jesus that is gonna make us wealthy, prosperous, happy. We deserve to be happy. He should make us happy. Why would he not want us to be happy?

The 1 that we turn to when we need help, and he gives it, like a genie in a in a lamp, We don't want the Jesus who gets involved with us. We don't want the Jesus that looks into the darkest parts of our lives and goes to work on them to deal with the issues that he finds there. That's awkward Jesus. That's difficult Jesus. That's challenging Jesus.

He's an awkward, painful bloke, to be around when he's like that. I don't really want that in my life. That's a lot of hard work. You gotta give stuff up and sacrifice your own selfishness to to be around a Jesus like that. Haven't you?

I I remember before I became a Christian, I was an incredibly selfish bloke. I just did what I wanted to do all the time in I didn't want to do it, I wouldn't do it. And what I wanted to do, I mean, I I I certainly wasn't wealthy or prosperous and I wasn't particularly happy But I was still doing things that I thought were fun. And I just would chuck everything out as long as I could have my bit of fun. I certainly didn't want a Jesus to come in and start interfering with all of that.

And to say, Chris, what are you doing? What are you doing? Where are you going? This is lunacy. Or people reject Jesus on the basis of their knowledge, of their worldly knowledge.

So I I work with a load of guys that are like this, actually. Intelligent blokes, really smart, funny. I really like them actually. I get on really, really well with them. But when it comes to Jesus, like how in the modern day and age could you possibly believe that?

Like, it's laughable. How stupid are you? But we like everything else about you, Chris. Don't get me wrong. Fun to be around and we quite enjoy having you on a team, but shut off about that, please.

You've said it once, you've said it twice, you've said it 3 times, 4 times is too much. We don't wanna hear it. We think you're mental. It's just stupid. And these are guys that otherwise they have a lot of knowledge.

They know stuff. They know way more than I do about a whole load of things. And they would say that there is no way that building your life around Jesus is possibly gonna be beneficial for you. It's just not And they're probably right in many ways, you know. If Jesus is just about getting more in this world, well, it doesn't tend to work like that.

Actually, you know, the decision to follow Jesus can be career limiting. It can be seriously career limiting as people overlook you. Well, they think, well, Yeah. I mean, I kind of can get on board with most things about them. But to give them a promotion, I mean, they're a bit crazy.

Because they believe this sort of nonsense, so I'm not too sure about it. Or a dedication to church can mean passing up opportunities or other things that come your way and you know they're gonna take you away from from church and diminish your capacity and that kind of thing. Or all the additional time and energy spent in things like church ministry, I mean, you could get a second job, the amount of hours that some people pour in, you could work 2 full time jobs for goodness sake. Like, you could get paid double salary. Why wouldn't you do that?

If only we knew and understood scripture better, knew him better, we would understand what's happening right in front of our eyes better. And see things for what they really are. That's the crowd. That's what's going on with them. Their tagline is We want Jesus as king as long as he gives us what we want.

That's basically what's going on there. If he makes our lives better, Well, everything will be gravy. If he doesn't, well, we'll see. Next group of people will jump to the end of our passage. It's the pharisees, So you've got the pharisees and they it goes a little bit like this.

So the pharisees said to 1 another, see this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him, catastrophizing as as as as normal with the with the pharisees. Now, it's a little bit understandable because this is the moment that I had been fearing. This is this is the moment that kept these guys up at night for the last couple of years, I'm I'm guessing. Jesus with a great crowd backing him in the middle of Jerusalem.

Oh my goodness. This is what we call a volatile situation. It's a political nightmare for them. This could go any which way very quickly indeed. A crowd like this, this riled up with a charismatic leader at their head, who has absolutely set himself up against us on pretty much every single meeting we've ever had with him.

And he seems to be holding all the Trump cards now. They are in a bit of a sticky situation. In their minds, rebellion is in the air. 100 percent in the air. If you remember the pretext for for a lot of their worries, in I think it was last week, maybe the week before.

They start to say, oh, well, the Romans are gonna come and demolish us if they if this sort of thing happens. If everyone goes over to him and he'll rile them up and there will be a rebellion and the Romans will just come in and stamp everything out. Well, If they were afraid then, they should be more afraid now. Because the Romans watching this may actually be thinking, whoa, hold up a second. What's going on here?

Because palm branches, palm branches were a symbol of Roman victory. You got them in Roman triumphs. Cicero, the great Roman statesman called, 1 that had won many prizes, a man of many palms. A great victor, a great king, was a man of many palms. Jesus is a man of many palms here, isn't he?

That's certainly going on. So any Romans watching this are going to be thinking, hold on a second, we're not quite sure what's what's going on here. Which way is this gonna go? Maybe we should start reporting back on this and this could go south. We should probably get the get the lads ready.

But for the Faracies, that's just a pretext, isn't it? That really is just a pretext to cover what they really fear. They were just using that as an angle. Because they, like the crowds, are so utterly concerned about earthly things. And it's about it's about their lives and their power and their status here in this earth.

Un unlike the crowd, they they're a bit unlike the crowd as well because the crowd are interested in Jesus because of what they stand to gain, But the pharisees are interested in Jesus for what they stand to lose. From him becoming king. So it's a bit like it's a bit like if there was a really popular Russian you know, sort of folk hero from the countryside. Maybe he's a war veteran from the Ukraine front and he's gotten really, really popular with with the troops. He's gotten really popular with the common people and he's now marching in to the middle of Moscow and Putin's going to be going, well, he's got to die.

Because I'm otherwise, that's kind of what they're that's kind of what they're thinking. I mean, the Messiah messiah's not just a king. They know this, but someone who fulfills their priestly roles as well. So so in in in other words, they're out of a job if Jesus comes in here, if he is the Messiah. Backing him is like a Turkey voting for Christmas for these guys.

It would be so stupid for them to to get on board with it. And look at what they say at the end of the passage. This is getting us nowhere. The whole world's gone after him. It's this catastrophizing element, and it's funny because there's a couple of Greeks turn up at the beginning of the next passage.

So it really is spreading. They're concerned about numbers. They're playing a numbers game. They're concerned about their following. They're concerned about their popularity, and anything that gets in the way of that, they're gonna kill off.

Because I bet they stand to lose a lot of money as well. So again, this isn't a group you wanna be part of. Don't be part of this crowd. Maybe you are. I don't know.

Maybe a part of the previous crowd about what you might lose for following Jesus and about what you might gain for following Jesus, but it's all tied up in this world. This group lives and dies in this world. The importance is in what they can achieve and cling onto here and now but it dies with them in this world. No matter how much they get, no matter how great they grow, it ends when they die. And death is final.

So finally, we move on to the only crowd left that's worth being in. And we see them in verses 16, 17, 18. There's only 1 crowd worth being in here and it's the smallest the crowds, I think. It's the disciples, and it's the people that saw jesus raise lazarus from the dead. What a thing that would have been to see.

And the funny thing is that they are watching what's going on, if you notice, and they haven't got scooby, what's happening This disciples are going, what on? Earth is happening here. This crowd have gone berserk. They're crowding around us, waving palm leaves, Jesus is on a flipping donkey and we don't know why. So they're just completely in the dark, but they're quite enjoying it.

I'm guessing it's quite a heady occasion. And they're just a bit swept up in the moment I would imagine. But it's only later after the dust has settled. That they see the enormity and the fullness of what took place on that day and on the days that followed it. And what is it that enables all of that for them?

Well, it's Jesus' glorification. In verse 16. And by by his glorification, what it means is Jesus' death on the cross, and his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension up into heaven. That's his glorification. And it changes everything.

When you interpret the scriptures through a a cross shaped lens, you gain a view that isn't anchored in this world anymore, but it's anchored in the new heaven and the new earth. It looks up and out of this world and a world to come. When you see things from the other side of the cross, your view is no longer restricted to this life and blinkered, it's focused on the other side of death. And and that gives you a true understanding and perspective on what happens in this life. That's the funny thing.

When you understand beyond death, when you understand the next life, you understand this life a bit better. And what's going on down here now, in a way that the pharisees and the crowd never could, because they don't have the key. They don't really understand. So you can imagine these guys. You can imagine John and Peter and Matthew and the disciples getting together and in the years that followed and looking at the scriptures and just being constantly blown away.

It's like on the road to EMEAus when Jesus is hidden from 2 of them and he's explaining how that all the scriptures relate to him and their hearts were burning within them. It's like that. That's what's kind of going on here. And they're looking, and John's like, hang on, didn't you go and get that donkey? That prophecy was about them.

They're part of that prophecy, like, they actually saw that prophecy happen. They were they were the ones that got the donkey in Zecharia 9. Bows your mind, doesn't it? And you I mean, let's do it. I mean, let's go.

I haven't planned this bit, so this could be interesting. Let's go to Zechariah 9 and just see what the scriptures have to say. I mean, goodness. I mean, I'm not gonna wait for you to get there because it could take a while, but I'm just going to read a few out. Zechariah 9, here you go.

See your king is coming to you, righteous and having salvation gentle and riding on a donkey on a colt, the fold of a donkey. Just seen it happen. Just seen it come true. Absolutely brilliant. Oh, here's 1 verse 11.

As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. Because of the blood of my covenant with you, that's gotta be Jesus on the cross. Freeing prisoners through his blood. And, oh, here's 1, I will rouse your sons, O' Zion against your sons, O' Greece, to make you like a warrior sword. Well, at at the very next bit in John, guess who turns up, some Greeks.

And he's mentioned Greece in f and I 9. There's stuff going on all over the place. You go back to Psalm a hundred and 18 and my goodness that it's just everywhere. This is Jesus on the cross. In my anguish, I cried to the Lord in verse 5, and he answered by setting me free.

The Lord is with me, he will be my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. Does Jesus not do that? He triumphs at the cross. We read it elsewhere He casts satan down.

The cross is his victory. It's where he wins. All the nations surrounded me, they surrounded me on every side, they swarmed around me like bees. Well, he surrounded on the cross like a pack of wild dogs. Baying for his blood, I was pushed and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.

I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. This is all about Jesus. And if you're in Christ, this is about you. This is the gate of the lord through which the righteous may enter.

Jesus is the gate. Open for me, the gates of righteousness. I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. The stone, the builders rejected, has become the capstone. The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

What an amazing time those guys must have had. And that's just a snippet of what there is in the old testament. For the rest of their lives, they were reading these scriptures and just constantly blown away by what Jesus had been doing. All the way throughout and going, oh, hang on a second. When he did that, that was that was that 1.

I don't know if you've ever had that experience when reading the scriptures. I don't know. Have you ever had that? When I first became a Christian again, it was like it was literally like God was going into my brain and saying, well, that's not wired in the right place. You idiot.

What you're thinking that for goes in there. Oh, get it now. Makes perfect sense. Every someone was like that, I came out. I was like, oh, I understand loads more stuff now.

That's brilliant. How did I never see that before? Didn't have the Holy Spirit. So there you go. These guys have got the Holy Spirit after Jesus goes.

They get it. They're viewing it through the lens of the cross. And they're not about this world anymore. Well, they are. They're in this world, they're working in this world, but they're not ultimately for this world, they're for another world, for another life.

That's where they're going. And look at what it causes them to do. The crowd that that call sorry. The crowd that saw Jesus call lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead, Call Jesus from the tomb, raise him from the dead, continue to spread the word. We are the crowd that saw Jesus come out of the tomb, raised from the dead, resurrected.

We're part of that crowd now. It's been passed down. I witness to the next generation and the next generation and the next until we're here today in this weird building in Kingston, talking about this still. What an amazing thing. Look at the parallels these people now see beyond death.

They see beyond the tomb. They've seen and they've tasted that there's life beyond. They saw lazarus walking around. They've seen that life is not limited by death anymore. And they've seen that that is only possible through Jesus.

And so they tell them, they spread the word Now in light of that, there's only surely 1 thing you can do, isn't there? Tell everyone about him. It doesn't matter if they think you're mad, and they will. Some of them will anyway. It doesn't matter if it's a career limiting thing to do because, hey, I'm gonna die 1 day, and I guarantee when I'm in heaven, I will not be thinking about my job.

It doesn't matter, because people knowing about this is more important than anything in this life. Do we live like that really? I wish I did more so. I really do. And I wish it for Cornerstone as well.

That we would be more like these excited followers, telling the crowds in front of them exactly what Jesus has done. Is that not why we are still here after all? What else are we here for? To live is Christ to die is gain. Which crowd are you a part of?

Preached by Chris Tilley
Chris Tilley photo

Chris is an Elder at Cornerstone. He is married to Bernadette, who is part of our safeguarding team, and they live in New Malden.

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