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Looking at the People | Palm Sunday Message with Jonathan Laurie

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 28, 2021 3:00 am

Looking at the People | Palm Sunday Message with Jonathan Laurie

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 28, 2021 3:00 am

On the first Palm Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem and had a mixed response—some worshiped while others grew angry. In this Sunday morning episode, special guest Pastor Jonathan Laurie asks us to respond to Jesus’ claims anew. Will we recognize Him for who He is? Listen in for this Palm Sunday message from John 12.


Both physical death and leprosy are spiritual pictures of sin.

“Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:15 ESV).

Sin is an inward disease that shows outward symptoms. 

Martha was worshipping Jesus through her service.

The Traitor, the Killers, and the Undecided 

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21 ESV).

The Different Responses to Jesus:

The Dead Man and the Leper

Mary and Martha

The Traitor: Judas

The Killers: The Religious Leaders

The Undecided: The Large Crowd 

Who are you in this story?

Scripture Referenced

Matthew 21:6

Matthew 15:19

Matthew 23:27–28


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Everybody Greg Laurie here. You're listening to the Grigori podcast and my objective is to deliver hopefully compelling practical insights and faith culture and current events.

From a biblical perspective to find out more about our ministry is go to our website so thanks for joining me for this podcast. I titled this message the word and be looking at in a moment, looking at the people looking at the people and my taxes going to be John chapter 12 if you like to turn your Bibles or iPads on your computers. Whatever you're watching on you can turn there if you like, so that we can follow along.

I titled this message that because living in Southern California.

One thing that we see a lot of his people. We see a lot of people here you know how crowded it is those of you who live here and those of you who have visited to Southern California. You've heard about the traffic you had to sit in that you probably had to fly to LAX. I'm sorry okay I'm sorry it's not my favorite airport, that's for sure there's people on the freeways or people on the beaches or people in lines at the grocery store everywhere at the church at the gym everywhere you go.

There are people and actually if if you want to get away from people.

You have to be totally intentional about it, don't you.

If you're in Southern California and you want to get away from where the people are like you have to drive to some remote place you'll be very intentional about getting away from people. It's it practically impossible. Like I said, everywhere you turn there are people about during the days of lockdown, April of last year my wife and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary that's right. 10 years is pretty cool Roxie celebrating 11 years this coming April 24. But when we were unable to do anything during lockdown. We decided that hey were to go down to the beach and ready to ride our bikes down there know this is when the other state parks were completely close. You couldn't have any of that public access and so we parked over in a nearby neighborhood and we rode our bikes for 2 miles to get to the beach touching up that far. It sounded farther when I was thinking about in the moment but we rode our bikes to miles on the sand in the beach and it was pretty cool is beer down the beach. There was nobody around. And the further we went up the beach.

The further away you got from that one access point that you could go through and it was empty. I've never seen in all my years of going to this particular spot know people on the beach.

It was pretty cool and so we got up to our spot. We finally found a spot that it seemed nice on me posted up.

We had our umbrella and are you know can of our picnic stuff and it was a great time over sit there and I was just like phone on my phone would look at this 360.

There's nobody around. This is awesome and as we were sitting there about 15 minutes later I kid you not. We see a person walking up the beach we can see and way down the beach, you know, because there's nobody around so we can spot them out.

We see this person walking up the beach like all that there is a person while that's crazy and they're getting closer than they're getting closer and then I kid you not. The entire beach miles in either direction.

There's nobody around this person decides to post up their stuff 50 feet away from his right there was like really guy you could have found somewhere else to go. Hey first world problems right it was just so funny though that this person decided to go right next to us. No matter what you do.

You can't get away from people there everywhere.

They're always around and so here in Southern California. One thing that you learned to do because there are so many people's people watch right. Come on you know you like to people watch to you like to sit there. Maybe you got a specific spot you like to go to to really look at all the different people that come through maybe for you at your local Walmart your local movie theater or your local mall for us here in Southern California.

It's is probably our local themepark it's this place called Disneyland.

You probably never heard of it but all joking aside, Disneyland. You see people from every walk of life. That place is crazy. You see all kinds of people all different ages and and everything parents with little children, small children coming to Disneyland for the first time you see teenagers that are there, you see middle-aged people with no kids and then you see elderly people no grandchildren inside just hey live in the dream right. It's amazing and as I prepared for this study.

This weekend looking at John chapter 12 looking at Jesus triumphal entry that he had when he came into Jerusalem, I couldn't help but just notice all the different characters that were shown in the story all the different characters and all the different reactions that they had as well.

I did a little bit of people watching.

In John chapter 12 if you will. You got Mary and Martha, you got Judas you got the chief priest you got the massive crowd is an eclectic group to say the least. So if you're a visitor today and your maybe new to church and you're not really familiar like what the heck is Palm Sunday was out all about for you guys like celebrate palm trees or something. Well, you got a giant beautiful palm tree on the back screen there but now the reason we call it Palm Sunday is because this weekend. Sunday, March 28. We call it Palm Sunday and it comes every single year is exactly one week before Easter Sunday, which we also call resurrection Sunday Palm Sunday is called that because five days before Jesus was crucified. He entered Jerusalem and he was given for the first time the welcome he finally deserved a true hero's welcome. It would've been a sight to see. It was an amazing thing. Jesus finally heralded for who he was. People finally recognized at least so we thought that Jesus hey, he's the king he's the guy he's the person we been waiting for. And as Jesus rode into Jerusalem. They ran out of and they cut they cut down palm fronds from the from the trees that were local there the date palms.

I they're still there to this day.

Some of them and they cut down the palm fronds. They threw him at Jesus feet they took off their cloaks and their robes and threw them at Jesus feet and they all shouted in unison. Hosanna, the son of David, Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord peace in heaven and glory in the highest and it was an amazing sight. It was beautiful. They were celebrating Jesus for who he was.

He finally got the recognition the notoriety that he so deserved not to the Romans, they would've seen this and recognize oh well this is somebody really important because in Roman culture. When a conquering general military general was coming back from a victorious battle. He will be given a very similar hero's welcome.

It would've been a little bit more grandpa a little bit more official, but he would've written in on the back of a donkey and given that same kind a hero's welcome know on the Jewish people. The religious leaders. The meaning was not lost on them either. They saw Jesus writing in the Jesus was being called the son of David, which in Scripture is symbolic of the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, the prophesied one the one they had been awaiting for all this time was now here and so is Christians as Christians 2000 years later we look back at Palm Sunday kind of is a bittersweet day to be honest, it's bittersweet. It's sweet because, well, like I said, Jesus came and when he rode in for the first time he was given that welcome he deserved.

He was given the love and the praise that was due to him into his name was also bitter is better because we know how the story ends just five days later on Friday a man named Pontius Pilate who is the governor of Judea stood before a crowd with Jesus at his side and he asked them what do you want me to do with Jesus who is called Christ, whom you call the king of the Jews and they answered Pilate with the same fervor the same passion and the same conviction that they welcomed him in what and they said to Pilate, let him be crucified, let him be crucified, crucify him, crucify him and thus Roman soldiers. They would take Jesus and they shouted at him hail the king of the Jews as they beat him with their fists only five days later, only five days later you know there's never been anybody on the face of the earth who was garnered this much division this is that he just continues to evoke such extreme responses and continues to evoke extreme responses over 2000 years later from people as Jesus Christ does. It's amazing you look at the two people.

The two different groups of people that are in the Bible and we see them reflected today. You see people that love Jesus, and then he see other groups that hate Jesus, you see devotion from one group and rejection from another UC worship from one group and blasphemy from another Faith and unbelief. So why is that why is Jesus so polarizing. Why has he so divisive. If you will, even in 2021 with all of our tolerance. All of our sympathy. It is largely in a BC culture that we live in ABC anything but Christ. And so what we are going to see probably won't surprise us too much. As we look at all of the different characters in all their different perspectives and their responses to Jesus won't surprise us a whole lot but I will say this, more than ever we need to be vigilant against cultures and I should say against Satan's influence on the church and its desire to make Jesus into their own image to make Jesus into a powerless Savior.

I titled this message. Looking at the people and again were to be reading through together. John chapter 12 verses 1 to 15. Let's read together starting in verse one, six days before the Passover Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead, and so they gave a dinner there and Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at the table.

Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his own disciples, he who was about to betray him, said, why was this ointment not sold for 300 Dinar I am given to the poor. He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief and having charge of the money bag used to help himself to what is ever put into it. And so Jesus said to him, he rebuked him. He said leave her alone so that she may keep it for the day of my burial for the poor. You have always with you, but you do not always have me on a large crowd. Verse nine of the Jews learned that Jesus was there. They came not only on account of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead, and so the chief priest made plans to put Lazarus to death as well because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. The next day the large crowd that he come to the feast heard the Jesus coming to Jerusalem and so they went out and they took branches of palm trees and they met him where he was at, crying out, hosanna blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the king of Israel, and Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, fear not, daughter of Zion, behold, your King is coming sitting on a donkey's colt. Let's pray together as we just read this passage of Scripture welcoming you Jesus for the king that you truly deserve to be recognized as Lord we we want to see ourselves in this story and figure out who we are and who we can better understand ourselves to be an and correct our our recognition of who you are and help us Lord to just see you for the Savior that you really are not making you into our own image, not making you into something that you are never going to be so helpless. Lord speak to us through this time a Bible study.

We pray in Jesus name we ask a man and men. And so here we have the story of the triumphal entry an amazing amazing image that we see you've got all kinds of people there people going crazy. Some historians believe that at the time of the Passover, which is when Jesus was coming in the weeks leading into it. Pilgrims from all over the ancient world would travel to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the Jews, of course, remembering when God brought the Jewish people out of Egypt out of Rome and I should see Egyptian captivity and into the promised land. They remember that and celebrate that at the Passover and so you had tons of people again those historians. They believe that there could have been up to a million people in this small little ancient city of Jerusalem. It would've impact to the gills.

It was crazy and so right away. We see some interesting characters in the story and every character has a different response to Jesus some good some bad. And I want to reveal to you what I believe, because that divide between these groups of people between true worship and affection and murderers hate for Jesus and really everything in between is he just a short time prior before Jesus triumphal entry as he came in through the gate in Jerusalem and he was given that hero's welcome he had just performed his magnum opus if you will, his pice de rsistance, his most powerful and breathtaking and bold miracle. He had performed to date they got people talking like nothing before Jesus raised a man from the dead. He raised a man from the dead. His name is Lazarus and this guy he wasn't like a little bit dad like he wasn't like on his deathbed, and about to die. Jesus healed him. No, he was really dead like he was in a tomb for four days dead. His sisters when Jesus showed up. They begged Jesus, please do not roll the stone back because he's going to smell that's literally what they said don't rollback his body will smell the process of decomposition have begun to take place.

Rigor mortis had certainly gone through his body and he was beginning to deteriorate.

They begged him to not roll the stone back luck didn't stop Jesus. He commanded that the stone be rolled away and the local crowd from Bethany gathered around to see what was going to happen and they stood witness the stone was rolled away and Jesus.

He calls out to Lazarus in the tomb. He says Lazarus come forth and like something from a stinking movie Lazarus comes hopping out of the tomb with his whole body wrapped in linen strips for burial like a mummy. It says his hands were bound in his feet and face were wrapped tightly okay so I'm thinking his feet are wrapped together right what you do when your feet are wrapped together you come popping out man he's hopping. I was on his hands bound. He's all tied up. It is a crazy site. This dude was as dead as you could possibly be.

And Jesus just rose him again from the dead of this all took place only 2 miles outside of Jerusalem. Only 2 miles outside of Jerusalem, so you can be sure that word got out all over the area.

But what Jesus had done and so what we see in this chapter.

Well, we see Jesus and his disciples six days before the Passover celebration began arriving back in Bethany, the hometown of Lazarus were you just raised him from the dead and we see his sisters, Mary and Martha, but the other gospel fills any detail that John's Gospel does not the gospel being Matthew he tells us that as they came into Bethany, which was, yes, the hometown of Lazarus and Mary Martha. The Matthew fills in this detail. He came into the house of a man named Simon the leper's time in the leper and so right away. I'm intrigued.

Who is this guy Simon the leper and so would you look with me for just a moment in our first group of people. Point number one first group were to be looking at is the dead man in the leper, the dead man in the leper we find them in John chapter 12 and Matthew 21 verse six no doesn't take a genius to figure out that this dude Simon the leper used to be a leper right. He wasn't currently a leper because in ancient culture. Lepers were ostracized, they were kicked out of society. They were not allowed to be with the rest of the people they had to lip live in leper colonies. It was a very sad fate for these people who contracted this incurable disease. And so we can easily assume that this man Simon had been healed by Jesus of his leprosy and there in his home. In those days leprosy. It was a death sentence.

It was a death sentence. It was an incurable disease that is if it were devastating enough that you're going to die. It force you to live out the rest of your life in exile. You would have to live outside from your family away from your friends away from your home away from your comforts in life.

No matter your status level or your success.

You would have to live outside of all of those things, like being in quarantine for the rest of your life that would be terrible. And so we see Lazarus, a dude who just been raised from the dead, reclining at the table with Jesus in verse two. It tells us, and also with Simon the leper there as well. Now that's a party you got a dude who used to be dead. And you gotta do that literally had leprosy and incurable disease both hanging out with Jesus. That sounds like a good time right there that's while they're hanging out with Jesus there talking their eating food together the reclining, which means at their friends with each other and that there enjoying each other's company. This would've been the main meal of the day and it would've been been it would been prolonged for good length of time hours reclining and eating and kinda like a eight course meal type a deal just snacking and eating and dipping together and they would've enjoyed each other's company very much. Really. As I look at that. It's just a perfect picture of a physical and a spiritual healing see both physical death and leprosy are pictures spiritual pictures of sin. James 115 tells us that the desire when it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it fully is grown, brings forth death. Death is a picture of what sin ultimately leads us to not just physical death.

We can think out of a need for that, but also brings forth spiritual death. Sin brings forth spiritual death separation from God.

And just like physical death cuts you off from the living soda spiritual death through sin, cut you off from spiritual living. It severs connection with God and if in God's presence there is fullness of joy. Psalm 1611 tells us and logically in God's absence. There is complete absence of joy and what is that that is hell. That is what sin brings you to sin brings you to hell. The opposite of joy and then leprosy. Leprosy is also a picture of sin, because leprosy is an inward disease with outward symptoms you sought on the outside through sores and other symptoms.

But the cause of it was something much deeper.

Many times leprosy would go undetected for periods of time, and only after the disease began to show itself externally. Was it able to be addressed and hopefully taken care of and in the process will be slow down at best is not exactly how sin works is not exactly how sin works inside of us. Sin is also an inward disease that shows outward symptoms.

Jesus said in Matthew 1519 from out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander, sin starts off undetectable secret sin right almost completely undetectable, like leprosy, you got some secret sin that only you know about nobody is aware of it and then what happens begins to reveal itself begins to grow it gets bigger and reveals itself for the disease that is and he begins to fester and what is it to. It destroys your life and ultimately it brings spiritual death. A person with leprosy was also unable to cure themselves. They're unable to cure themselves. There's no remedy or exercise program or dieters. No topical ointments they could apply to help treat or even cure the disease.

And just like that.

We also are unable to cure or treat ourselves of sin is no program or regimen you can follow nothing that can free you from your sin, but lastly both sin and leprosy are no match for the healing touch of Jesus Christ, you come to Jesus with your sin, you come to Jesus with their spiritual leprosy and he can make you clean only he can forgive your sin, and so you got both Simon and Lazarus.

The dead man in the leper there hanging out with Jesus. Why because their lives had been changed.

They had been supernaturally healed from their sin from their leprosy and you know what God also healed them. Jesus healed them from their sin. Listen we have had leprosy of the heart.

We have had spiritual death and because of Jesus he can come in and change our lives and forgive us for what we've done and restore us and give us that brand-new baby skin and give us new hearts and a new nature and the new life. Hey, if he's done that for you give some praise in the comments section right now.

If you're on YouTube or whatever chat room your own some love and that charter was to hate Jesus changed me. He healed me as much of your younger person we love to hear from you.

Tell us right now. Jesus change your life.

Would love to hear from you amazing. The second group of people I want to look at is number two. The second group, Mary and Martha. We find them in verses two and three.

I love this section because Mary and Martha were they doing, they are being true to character their being true to character Martha serving and Mary hanging out with Jesus that we read in Luke's gospel at a different time, Jesus and the disciples again stopped at the home of Mary and Martha for a nice meal. Martha was in the kitchen with the pots and pans, cooking things up oil splattering everywhere. She's you know she's a mess she's on the fritz just trying to get everything under control. I mean, would you do if you had Jesus and 12 disciples show up 13 people out of nowhere with no preparation show up. Hey Mary what's cooking Martha what's going on when he got what he got on so there will I had some food for you know my sister and I but okay we can accommodate you Lord. And so we find in this other story.

Martha in the kitchen and Mary hanging out at Jesus feet and Martha just going crazy trying get all the stuff trying to prepare this meal try to get everything done and it was hard and so what is Martha do she come storming out of that kitchen and she goes and she admonishes her sister Mary and says you're supposed to be helping me in the kitchen, Lord, tell her she needs to be in there with me, Jesus is Martha, you're so anxious about everything you're worried about all the stuff.

Don't worry about it. Mary is chosen the better thing. She is sitting and hearing from me and so this time we see Martha again showing love now to Jesus and affection and appreciation and an even more special way. Why because Jesus just raised her brother from the dead.

She's in the kitchen now, but she's no longer grumbling. She's no longer frustrated that her sister Mary is not assisting her because what's Mary doing again. She's sitting at the feet of Jesus we hear about her in just a second. This time around.

Martha doesn't complain about Mary's absence from the kitchen because Martha is no longer just doing a job or a chore.

She's worshiping Jesus to her service. She's worshiping Jesus through her service. Remember Jesus just raised her brother, her beloved brother Lazarus who'd been dead for four days in a tomb dead decomposing Jesus just raised him back to life and she is so thankful for that. So all she is doing just like hey I'm cooking this meal. I don't care who's around. I'm doing this for Jesus.

I'm doing this job for Jesus and hey listen, we can have that same mindset to we can have that same mindset we can worship God in any situation in any chore any task that cleaning up after your family that cooking dinner for your family that doing office work and staying late having to get the job done the preparing of a meal it can become a joyous act of worship God.

You've done so much for me, Jesus, you done so much for me you love me so much I want to show love to my family. I want to do something special for them.

I'm doing this because you show me love you show me love Jesus, you can do that as an extension to them and so next, we see Mary we see Mary in the same place as last time hanging around Jesus, soaking up everything that he is saying listening to his words hanging on every word that he says but this time we see Mary doing something a little bit more than just listening. She comes in she brings in a 12 ounce alabaster flask filled with something called spikenard a very costly perfume note 12 ounces.

I have the star right here at the Mason charts on alabaster. This is 12 ounces.

This is this hold a lot of liquid, especially if it's really strong smelling perfume.

How to know about you but I like really no sensitive so if I walk through department store like I hold my breath when I walked to those perfume counters I get such bad headaches from smells in all kinds of stuff and so I can just imagine this being filled with 12 ounces of pure, potent, strong smelling perfume being broken over the head of Jesus, that is exactly what Mary does. She goes and she breaks that alabaster flask and she pours it over the head of Jesus. I'm sure it smelled beautiful and the whole house. It says was filled with the aroma this very rare and expensive perfume that Judas actually goes and tells us what the cost was. He says this is worth about 300 and RI, which would be today. The equivalent about maybe $30,000 a lot of money at on a ton of money and so he says. Rather, Mary takes that that perfume pours it over.

Jesus had breaks that that nice bottle and pours it on. Jesus had in his body and then she takes her hair and she soaks it up off the floor. The remaining liquid. She wipes it all over Jesus feet. She wipes all over his feet. What a beautiful picture something that Jesus commended her for and he surely appreciated.

He was on his way to die in Jerusalem.

He knew it he knew exactly what was coming and he shared all the time with the disciples but everybody seemed to kinda miss it will. I think that Mary didn't miss it. She knew exactly what was going on that he was going to be crucified. And so Jesus says in verse seven she did this in preparation for my burial. And so I'm sure that when the disciples looked back on this moment. After Jesus was crucified, and rose again from the dead, they look back and they see what Mary did and they're probably kicking themselves for not doing something similar. Why did I do that when I do something blessed for Jesus. Why deny show some amazing demonstration of love like Mary and Martha did so you've got the girls, Mary and Martha there serving their shown Jesus love you got Lazarus and and Simon the leper hanging out with Jesus being resurrected. Men healed man hanging out, spending time with Jesus. A very appropriate thing in the third group of people that I want to look at with you together right now is this number three the trader, the killers and the undecided, the trader, the killers and the underside and we find them in verses 4 to 7, nine intent. Let's look first at the trader Judas. This is the first time that Judas has words recorded in Scripture in John's Gospel. It says that as soon as Mary broke that flask Judas here started tingling that sounded expensive.

This summary just break something expensive, excuse me, what are you doing with that and he scolds Mary he scolds Mary for her active sacrifice trying to appear some kind of philanthropist thing he cared about poor people concerned with the least of these.

He tries to say oh we could use that money for them. We could've done something wonderful with it, but is such a waste, but I love John's sarcastic response. It's amazing.

John says in verse six. He didn't say this because you care to sense about the poor because he was a thief. He was in charge of the common funds and he would steal money for himself. Okay, thank you for that insight. John Goodson know and so immediately. Though Jesus rebukes Judas, he jumps to her defense you leave her alone. Jesus says she did this in preparation for my burial.

Hey, you'll always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me with you.

And so, in this moment Judas had a choice to make. He could either go and fall at the feet of Jesus and repentance for his incorrect perspective in his heart and heart or he could further harden his heart and surrender to Satan's influence and site and betray Jesus. It was at this very moment was at this very moment. The Judas fully decided to betray Jesus.

That's right, he saw that valuable item and he wanted it for himself. He was jealous. He was angry, are you kidding me are you kidding, that money could've been used by Saul Rhodes. We could've all bought homes without how that money are you kidney.

I wasted three years of my life following Jesus around camping out in the wilderness, walking all over the face of the earth. I want to something show for that gene. You know Judas.

He probably thought that Jesus was going become the king of Israel, and he was probably hoping that he be some kind of rule or some kind of crazy thing. He had visions of grandeur, kingdoms, royalty wealth, that's why Judas was in it. We know for sure now and so he got jealous. He got mad so he goes and he makes a deal with the religious leaders to go and betray Jesus that was in Jesus mission. Jesus mission wasn't to be a political deliver Jesus mission wasn't to come and free his people from Roman occupation.

No, Jesus came for a much greater reason he came because he was a spiritual deliverer coming to free his people from their sins. We read this all the way back in Matthew chapter 121. The angel appeared to Joseph he said she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. That's why Jesus came to save his people from their sins. Thank you, Lord. I'm thankful that is why you came in the next group of people that we read about are the killers the killers. That's the religious leaders all the way back going into John chapter 2 we read about Jesus and the religious leaders first encounter together and all the way back then their testing Jesus challenging his authority, telling them to provide them with some kind of sign that he is who he said he is and with each and every encounter that they had with Jesus. They became more angry, more furious, more outraged, and finally they decided they're gonna kill him. That's it were done were knocking to build a trap the sky anymore.

We can't outwit him were just gonna have them killed, were going to kill him. Why, because they also believe that the Messiah, the prophesied one, the Christ, who is talked about in Scripture would be a political military conqueror. They believe that the Messiah would come and liberate them from the Roman occupation and restore Jerusalem to the world power that she deserved to be the that's not why Jesus came guys that is not why he came all the things they did to be righteous and holy, was just an act. Jesus said to them in Matthew 23 woe to you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites, harsh, direct the word just means actor you're pretending that you are something that you are not. So he says you are like whitewashed tombs, which appear outwardly beautiful, but within our full of dead men's bones and uncleanness and so you also outwardly appear to be righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Hey, if I was a Pharisee I be ticked off to I be pretty mad but see they wanted Jesus to fit their mold they wanted Jesus to fit their mold they want to write on his coattails, just like Judas did.

They had been making themselves out to be something that they were not, and they wanted Jesus to be their ticket to wealth to riches to success to notoriety. What's so funny is that Judas actually would've made a great Pharisee right there practically the same people with the same aspirations there hypocrites directors.

They care nothing about actual spiritual things. They just want status they want notoriety and recognition. Then in verse 11 verse 11. It tells us that they wanted to kill Lazarus. They wanted to kill Lazarus. Poor Lazarus.

The dude already died 17. Come on, what more do they want from him, why did they want to kill Lazarus will tells us verse 11 it says that it was because of Lazarus many of the people had deserted the religious leaders teachings and believed in Jesus. I love that I love that because of Lazarus.

People were believing and giving Jesus a chance. That's what a good testimony will do guys hey I once was dead.

Now I'm alive. I once was this way but now in this way. I once lived in darkness, but now I live in light hey if God did for me.

He can do it for you to it. That's a good testimony because Lazarus was living a resurrected life and a resurrected body. It attracted people to Jesus and that is what our testimony, our lives can do to those around us and then lastly, let's look at the undecided, the undecided, this would be the large crowd was following Jesus. We read about them in verse nine, the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there. They came not only on account of him also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. Now remember, Bethany was just 2 miles away from Jerusalem.

Everybody would've caught wind that Lazarus was raised from the dead. They all would've heard about it were would've spread like a wildfire. Again, remember all of the people that came in for the Passover celebration up to a million people.

In addition to the city's already large population, it would've been packed and so were would've spread like crazy about this guy, Lazarus who was dead over a Bethany, just a couple, you know like one town over a couple miles away. He was raised again from the dead.

This is wild were would've spread like crazy and so this group. They heard about what happened.

They wanted to see Lazarus know they were openly hostile to Jesus like Judas was. And like the religious leaders were, but they also were committed like Mary and Martha and Simon and Lazarus were this group of people.

They were there thrill seekers. There are thrill seekers following the coolest trend. The latest spectacle only interested in Jesus because of his miracle working abilities so fast forward to verse 37 in John 12 and we read about the same group of people says though Jesus had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him.

The thing they were coming for all believably see a sign there's a dude did dad came back to life. Wow, that's amazing. Let's go check that out. They still didn't believe even though Jesus did, although signs they did not believe you see it's not until you see your brokenness.

It's not until you see yourself for who you really are. Your sin for what it is until you really begin to see Jesus for who he is is on until you realize that you could say your boat is sinking the you realize you need to call the Coast Guard you need to call somebody for help is on until you feel that lump or you feel that sharp pain in your brain that you realize you need a doctor that whole second half of John, chapter 12, it actually shares a conversation that Jesus had with that huge crowd that ushered Jesus in to Jerusalem the crowd that welcomed him with the palm fronds and throwing their cloaks down there so excited he goes into a conversation with them and basically he tells them exactly who he is and know you know vague terms tells him who he is what he came to do what is going to happen and as a result because of Jesus own words.

Many of them turn from Jesus that day and they became that same hostile crowd that would call for his crucifixion, just five days later is not crazy Jesus own words turn them away.

So looking at the people looking at the people we see all these characters all their different responses to Jesus.

Who are you in the story. Who are you in the story are you Lazarus and Simon raised to life spiritually healed from your sin resurrected men, resurrected women living a resurrected life you like Mary and Martha, lovingly and affectionately worshiping Jesus for all that he is done for you. He exceeded your wildest expectations and delivered all that he said he would do or you like Judas and the religious leaders in the hostile crowd angry and hardened.

The Jesus isn't who you made him out to be who you wanted him to be in 1972. My dad was a brand-new Christian. He was 19 years old and one of the ways that he got involved at his local church was. He was a cartoonist and he loved to draw and so he wrote this tract out any Druid outcome on the process of a person's salvation and he actually titled it. Looking at the people here it is on the screen will throw some images up there for you and so you see about halfway through this tract the dialogue happening see the two characters guy and a girl, sit down, they look like hippies.

This was in 1972.

After all, and there sit down. Looks like they're using some illicit drugs there and he says this. I've got to find some peace someplace just can't seem to get out. Take some dope live nice make love.

Is this what life's all about, and he goes on, is this what life is all about somethings missing. I've got a shout. Why is this world going so wrong is it God or to myself.

The blame belongs. I see many people as plastic as can be the same thoughts inside their heads. How can we be free than he got.

The next picture with the picture of their hands in shackles there in prison to sin their imprisoned there, unable to break free on their own. How can we be free, are all thinking that he goes on churches just for old folks I gotta do my thing. I'll make God my puppet my song Hill saying that he goes on, but wait I said something wrong. The picture I've been painting doesn't belong.

I've been making God in my own way.

Seems like everyone's been doing that these days have I been the potter making God the clay forming him to myself each and every day will have a look at the picture. Lord I painted of the but as I look closer it looks more like me wow how telling is that that is exactly what we are seeing right here in this story we are seeing the different people looking at Jesus and trying to make him into somebody he was never going to be. He was never supposed to be that he was ever supposed to be a political deliver. He was never supposed to be these things that Judas and the religious leaders and the people wanted him to be no Jesus came to free his people from their sins member. We read that in Matthew chapter 1. The angel heralds it. He tells us why he came to free his people from their sins.

Hey, it's not until you see your brokenness and your sin until you can really see your need for a Savior. You can see Jesus for who he really is and so in closing today.

Maybe you are finally are like that large crowd the undecided crowd. The crowd that was following Jesus. Not all of those people hardened their heart toward Jesus. But maybe you're like that undecided person that's in the story. You've heard of Jesus always on some amazing things.

You know he's on some amazing stuff for people you've heard crazy testimonies but you still have some investigating to do. You're just not quite sure hey that's okay.

Asking questions is okay. It's okay to even be skeptical.

Even one of Jesus own followers, Thomas. We call him doubting Thomas right. I don't think he was a downer.

I just think he was skeptical I think is maybe a little cynical. Honestly, he didn't believe the Jesus was raised from the dead and Thomas actually said hey if I put my hand in his side. Then I'll believe right about my hand in the side of his wound in the side of his ribs.

That's when all believe will one day Jesus appeared, and Thomas was there and Jesus walks over. He says hey, Thomas, stick your finger right here buddy what you think. And Thomas responded very appropriately when he was confronted with evidence. He said my Lord and my God. Listen, if you're looking for proof you need to look no further than the person standing before you right now I can't tell you how far I was from God. Just a few years ago I was raised in the church, kind of an understatement.

Might as pastor Greg Laurie big deal, right.

I was raised in the church and you know what I always believed in Jesus. Around 16 years old I decided I was going to run from God. I was gonna turn from him and I was going to go into pretty much everything the world had to offer and what happened. I found everything the world had to offer and what it offer me emptiness, depression, guilt, shame, loneliness. I found this world to be lacking, and I found myself in a downward spiral.

Unable to break free from it and I was about 22 years old had a conversation with my older brother were driving home from church one day and he actually asked me said Jonathan what's can it take for you to put your faith in Christ and again I was pretty miserable. I was trying to get free from this. At this point. At this point I was actually in pursuit of God, but I couldn't get there. My addictions and my habits and my friend group that was around me was all holding me back.

It was so hard to break free but his question that he asked me said what's he can it take for you to give your life to Christ not remember what my answer was by no that it stuck in my mind because I couldn't stop thinking about what to can it take to give your life to Christ will one day I was at work and I heard the tragic news that my older brother Christopher when he was on his way to church where he worked at the time was killed in a car accident and all I could think about was my brother.

The person that I was honest with was now gone from this world and I was heartbroken and I was devastated and in that moment I decided I was going to turn from those things and I was really going to ask God to invade my life. I took some practical steps to get right with him and also to be free from those addictions and I'll tell you today that was 2008, and here we are almost 13 years later to the day I can tell you God is free me from those things. He is maybe a new creation. He is given me a beautiful family and a wife and a ministry and a love for God's word.

I'm happier than I've ever been. He's done more for me than I could ever imagine.

It is not because always maybe so rich and give me all the things in a beautiful wife and family and this and this. No, listen, God freed me from my sin.

That's the greatest thing that he did everything else is just gravy issues blessing on top of lessons at this point.

Listen God can do the same thing for you. He can free you from your sin he can forgive you for the things that you've done all you have to do is turn to him and recognize him as a Savior that he came to be. He didn't come just a little spring in your step I get you that front row parking spot at the mall when you pull up and make your life a little bit easier.

No Jesus came to make you alive again your dad in your sin rhino cut off from God.

He came to restore you back to life just like you did with Lazarus. Lazarus come forth is what Jesus said he saying to you, friend. Come home, come to me, come give me your burdens. Come give me your guilt and your shame. I will take it from you and I will give you rest. Jesus can do that for you today. He's offering it to you right now. Would you like to put your faith in him.

It's very simple. All you have to do is call upon his name, ask him to come into your life. Believe in your heart and turn from your sin and you be saved.

It's very simple it's very simple and he can do it for you just like he's done it for me.

Hey, if you can do it for me.

He can do it for you. So if you'd like to put your faith in Christ.

Right now I like to lead you on a prayer I like to lead you in a prayer it's really simple, you just pray this prayer in your heart prayed out loud. Maybe you're in your car, maybe in your front room.

Maybe her sitting next your family right now and something I've said is spoken to friend that's not me that's the Holy Spirit speaking to you, so listen if you like to put your faith in Christ today.

Pray this prayer after me.

Pray this now. Dear God, I know I'm a sinner but I know Jesus is the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. So I turned for my sin.

Now, and I turned to Jesus from this moment forward.

Thank you God for loving me and for forgiving me in Jesus name I pray, amen and amen everybody Greg Laurie here. Thanks for listening to our podcast in the learn more about harvest ministries. Please subscribe and consider supporting this show.

Just go to and by the way, if you want to find out how to come into a personal relationship with God. Go to know that's key NOW Geo

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