Glorify Thy Name
Text: John 12: 12-33
Proposition: The Triumphal entry of Christ glorified God as it glorified His name.
Introduction: There’s a thing that we do in all cultures and in all languages that is the same. It is so common that we almost don’t even think of the significance of it. For a parent it’s a privilege, for children an expression of what’s precious, for organizations an statement of identity… what I’m talking about is that we name children, pets, corporations and sometimes even cars, trucks and various kinds of machines. You’ve certainly done that, in fact most of us in this room have probably named someone or something. I once had a 1966 Chev pick up that I named ‘Patches’, for obvious reasons. Names have meaning don’t they, it’s unlikely that you’ll call a pure white dog, ‘Spot’. Peoples names have meaning too, though it’s not always that clear. For instance the name ‘Raymond’ coming from Germanic roots means Guardian or Counselor. The name ‘Marcia’ has a Latin root and means ‘Brave’, the name ‘Susan’ dates back to 2000 BC and has an Egyptian root meaning ‘Lotus’.
Okay, so why all this talk about names, what does this have to do with Palm Sunday? Well if you have a name, and that name not only means something, it in a sense represents you, that is, your reputation is attached to your name. But is this also true for God? What do you do with verses like Psalm 29:2 “Give the Lord the glory due His name…”, or Psalm 63:4, “I will lift up my hands in Thy name.”, or Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and they are saved.” Palm Sunday is all about the day that God made His name known in a whole new way. Let’s look more closely and see what it says. Turn to John 12:12-33.
I. It Was the Day God Went Gone Public About His Love For You.
When you read the various accounts from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that describe this day, you see that though they vary in certain details they all have the account of Christ acquiring the colt of a donkey and riding upon it into the city of Jerusalem. The crowds are there to see this Jesus who raised Lazarus from the dead, who healed so many, who came upon a humble donkey and was heralded as a King. In every one of the gospels it takes care to record what the crowds were shouting that day… “Hosanna, blessed is He who comes IN THE NAME of the LORD…”. It was a quote from Psalm 118:26, a Psalm that they regularly sung as they ascended on the path to worship in the Temple. It was a Psalm that proclaimed the coming of the Messiah. Palm Sunday was the day that God had chosen from before the creation of the world to go public with His name, to go public with His love for all mankind. It was meant to be very public, in fact when the Pharisees cautioned Jesus to quiet down the disciples He said that if necessary the rocks themselves would cry out (Luke 19:40). Indeed in John 12:19, the Pharisees felt like all eyes were on Jesus. So it was meant to be a very public moment, a moment that fulfilled prophecy, an event that testified to the character and purpose of God, an event that was done in the name of God. The name of God is not just what we call Him, it’s Who He is, what He does. Author John Piper said that the purposes of God are focused on two opposite things simultaneously: 1.The unswerving preservation of the glory of Who He is as a Holy God.
2.The unswerving commitment to save, bless and exalt a people who sin.
These two purposes meet in the public presentation of Jesus Christ, holiness reaching through sinfulness to accomplish redeeming love. It was the public presentation of Jesus Christ to die for sin that was being made that day, it was a presentation for Jew and for Gentile, it was a presentation underwritten by the love of God for you and I. It was the day that God went public with His love for you.
II. It Was the Day God Went Public About the Power of Christ.
Jesus had entered into Jerusalem, the crowds greatly excited. Then some Greek believers ask to see Jesus and Philip and Andrew approach Christ with their request. Isaiah 53:10 says, “When His soul shall make an offering for sin, He shall see His seed.” Jesus must have had this in view for He does not respond to the request, instead He responds to the hour that is at hand (vs23). What Jesus says next has everything to do with the power of Christ. It is a power to move into death and bear fruit as a result of that action, a power to effect eternal life for others and a power to draw people to serve and to care for the world. I want to point out just a couple of things about the power of Christ, things you need to know because this very power is at work in you.
1. The power of Christ is Predestined. Look at verse 24, it talks of the power of a seed, it falls to the ground and then dies and then bears much fruit. Now draw a line from this verse to the latter part of verse 27, where it says, “for this purpose I came to this hour.” The power of Christ was predestined by God to bear fruit through death. Is there an aspect of your life in which you too are predestined to bear fruit through death because of the power of Christ at work in you?
2. The power of Christ is both Invitational and Motivational. Do you see verse 26, in the Greek it reads, “If Me serve anyone, let him follow and where am I there also servant My shall be. And if anyone Me serve, will honor him the Father.” In the first part the emphasis is upon ‘anyone’, it is invitational to all whom He calls and is an assurance that He precedes His servant, He doesn’t follow us He leads us. If you follow Christ into a battle, He was there before you got there. His presence and thus power are with you in the struggle as you move in obedience.
In the second part, the emphasis is upon the motivation of serving as the basis for the power of Christ to be manifested. In the words used here, ‘will honor him the Father’, it says that God will honor those who serve. The power of Christ to serve is now extended to us.
3. The power of Christ is perfected through Weakness. The humanity of Christ is seen in verse 27, He anguished over the struggle ahead. His soul struggles with what to say, yet His intent remains firm, that the name of the Father would be glorified. Your weakness does not refer to your sinful actions and choices, it refers to the areas of our lives where we have to trust Christ because our skill, our talent, our understanding and our very nature are insufficient. The weakness has the purpose of bringing glory to God as He makes up the difference in you because you trusted in Him.
III. Palm Sunday Was the Day God Went Public with Our Future.
When Jesus said, “Father glorify Thy name”, what He was saying was ‘Father reveal the truth of Who you are, reveal Your name, as You move in these moments of the crucifixion, that all men would give you the honor that is due You.’ The response was, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” The Father had already revealed Himself in the Son, in miracles, at the Mount of transfiguration, in the very things Jesus did and said. God had glorified His name in the person of Jesus Christ. And not only had, but will again! What does this have reference to?
1. It refers to the justice that His name stands for, justice accomplished through Christ upon sin. The words of Christ will judge the world.
2. It refers to the casting out of Satan as having dominion over the earth. The future for him is now restricted, subject to truth in the minds of the church and ultimately eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire.
3. It refers to the impending moments when Christ would be lifted up, primarily to crucifixion but then resurrection, then ascension, then exaltation! The exalted Christ will come again, as the Father again glorifies His name in the Son, as the Father reveals even more of Who He is through the actions of the Son. One day there will be a Palm Sunday, Part II. Matthew 23:39 says, “For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me, until you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Hosanna!