Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday - 2013.
John 12:9-19 - Lazarus and Jesus




Palm Sunday, The Sixth Sunday in Lent, 2013


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn #160         All Glory, Laud                       4:49 
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual          
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 162                 Ride On                      4:80 

Lazarus – The Last Raising


The Communion Hymn # 42            O Thou Love 4:93
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn # 229                    Holy Spirit                              4:70

KJV Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

Palm Sunday

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast caused Thy beloved Son to take our nature upon Himself, that He might give all mankind the example of humility and suffer death upon the cross for our sins: Mercifully grant us a believing knowledge of this, and that, following the example of His patience, we may be made partakers of the benefits of His sacred passion and death, through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.


Lazarus – The Last Raising in Jesus’ Public Ministry


KJV John 12:9 Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; 11 Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus. 12 On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. 14 And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, 15 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt. 16 These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him. 17 The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. 18 For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.

The Entry into Jerusalem is also called Palm Sunday for the palm branches placed in the street to honor the arrival of Christ. (John is the only evangelist to call them palm branches.) They also threw their clothes down as well, to make a carpet for the Messiah.

Something similar happened when the Maccabean Revolt was successful, because they thought of that conqueror as the Messiah, too. And there were several revolts after Jesus – but only one true Messiah.

Based on John’s Gospel, we view Jesus’ public ministry as taking place over three years. He was in Jerusalem a number of times. He performed many miracles. What made this entrance so spectacular that the religious authorities plotted against Him and the Roman government sought to arrest Him?

I highlighted the name of Lazarus in this narrative because these extra details tell us why Jesus was met by crowds coming out of the city and followed by a crowd from Bethany.

Lazarus was a prominent man, wealthy and influential. His funeral lasted for days before Jesus arrived. That delay was deliberate so there would be no “swoon” theories later, about Lazarus not really being dead but in a coma.

We know Lazarus was wealthy because of his burial in an expensive cave-tomb, a foreshadowing of Jesus’ own tomb. When a wealthy and prominent man is buried, everyone comes to the funeral. That is still true today. When Jack Preus, former LCMS president, died, large numbers from all over attended the funeral. (Chris attended with some church members.)

So we can assume that many came from Jerusalem for the funeral when news traveled all over that Lazarus was dead. Since trade and news travels constantly, people received their updates about the funeral. Who was there? What about his friend Jesus? After all, Jesus received the news that His friend Lazarus was deathly ill – and He was blamed at first for not arriving on time to heal His friend. And He was blamed in the crowd too, for healing so many and neglecting His own friend.

KJV John 11:1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) 3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. 4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. 5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. 7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. 8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? 9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. 10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. 11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. 16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. 17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. 18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: 19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. 20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. 21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. 23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. 28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. 29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him. 30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. 31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. 32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! 37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? 38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

Therefore, the raising of Lazarus by the Word of God was dramatic and unique -  witnessed by a large crowd. Jerusalem knew that famous Lazarus was raised from the dead by Jesus, who was well known for His miracles already. After hearing for some time about the deathly illness and passing away of Lazarus, they heard about the funeral, then the raising of Lazarus.

This was the miracle that precipitated the final events in Jerusalem. Opposition had built ever since He drove the money-changers from the Temple.

KJV John 12:9 Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death;

The disciple closest to Jesus was in a position to observe and record many details that supplement Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This is the answer, if anyone asks, “Why was this trip to Jerusalem so special?”

And we can also see the wisdom and providence (seeing ahead, literally) of God in unfolding all the events according to the prophets. The people wanted to make Jesus the Messiah-King after He fed them, so Jesus escaped their grasp. Also, the opposition wanted to grab and kill Him early, but He also evaded them.

11 Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus. 12 On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,

Therefore, the raising of Lazarus, which clearly revealed Jesus as the Son of God, caused large numbers to believe in Him. People wanted to see Jesus and Lazarus. That antagonized the Jewish leaders and likewise alarmed the Roman authorities.

Messiah means King, and that was a reminder of the successful Maccabean Revolt. Only a few decades after Christ, another revolt was successful for a short time, so Messiah and revolt went together for the Roman Empire.

13 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

What we hear as praise for God was seen by others as a riot against the established order of the time. Nevertheless, it was important for Jesus to show Himself as the Messiah and Savior, to fulfill all prophecies and obey the will of God the Father.

14 And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, 15 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.

Lenski:
Here is the picture of the King on his royal entry. Since we know from the other records how Jesus “found an ass;” John is very brief and mentions only the fact, although in v. 17 he indicates the aid of others in securing the ass: “they had done these things unto him.” Only the essentials are given, first, of the fulfillment; secondly, of the prophecy. The extensive perfect, “as it has been written,” includes the present: is still on record.
15) John quotes Zech. 9:9. In the call, “Fear not!” he reproduces only the sense of the original, “Rejoice greatly!” For when fear goes out, joy comes in, i.e., over against God. One may quote the ipsissima verba, but an entirely legitimate form of citation is to restate the sense in equivalent terms, especially such parts of a quotation as are not to be stressed. Here the call to rejoice is entirely minor; the point of the quotation is the statement about the King’s coming, riding upon the foal of an ass. This remarkable feature is the one stressed by Zechariah. “Daughter of Zion,” to which the prophet adds, “daughter of Jerusalem,” is one of the honor names of Israel. “Zion” seems to have been the name of the locality where Jerusalem came to be built and was then used as a designation for the highest eminence in the city. The Temple, however, was not on this high point but on Moriah, which lies lower. Thus “the daughter of Zion” names the people according to the most prominent eminence which distinguishes its capital. By a legitimate transfer this poetic title is now applied to the New Testament Israel, the Christian Church.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. John's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 853.

Jesus established His core teaching and believers among Jews and Gentiles before His death and resurrection. He also spent three years in tutoring the future apostles about the meaning of His teaching and mission.

Looking back upon this, we can see how God worked to bring this about, so we should also trust that the same wisdom and providence works today.

16 These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.

We are very much like the disciples, often not understanding at the moment but remembering and believing later.

17 The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. 18 For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.

This shows us how much the raising of Lazarus was connected with Palm Sunday and Holy Week. This is essential to know, because the One who could conquer death by the Word would reveal Himself as the Resurrection and the Life, as He taught Mary and Martha.

And the opposition to the Gospel is just as clear. While nothing was done to upset the material realm, the Gospel was seen as a revolt and a horrible thing to be quashed by religious and political means. Thus it will always be.


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