Who Is This Man?

Who Is This Man?



Missing Jesus
“He hides in plain sight.”
Henry Cavill

I was up late and saw this interview with Jimmy Kimmel and Henry Cavill. So here’s the deal. Cavill plays Superman in the upcoming Dawn of Justice movie. Essentially, Superman is going to duke it out with Batman. Yes, I am excited. I digress…

For years people have criticized Superman’s disguise as regular joe Clark Kent. Essentially, the secret identity of Superman was shielded away from the public by a set of black frame glasses. Preposterous! Surly people would take one look at Clark and realize that he was indeed Superman. Yet, comic book after comic book and movie after movie, no one figures it out. Even Lois Lane, investigative reporter, is clueless.

So, Cavill decides to put the disguise to the test. With his face plastered all over Times Square and a Superman t-shirt on, Cavill enters the public domain. No glasses. No disguise. What happens? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. No crowds. No autograph hounds. No one even wants his picture.
Superman didn’t even need a disguise.

It’s sad that we often miss great things or greatness itself because we are simply not looking for it.
This Sunday is Palm Sunday. It is the global celebration of when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. People sang, wept, shouted and praised God. However, there is a telling verse captured in Matthew 21:10. 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” Did you catch that? The very people who were shouting and crying out had absolutely no idea who Jesus was. They had no idea that He was the Savior of all mankind. No idea that He was about to die for all of us. No idea that He loved them more than anything.

They had no idea that He was God in flesh come to live with them, love them and liberate them from spiritual bondage.

They missed it.

Friends, we are obviously no different today. Superman just walked the streets of New York City and no one was the wiser. Jesus journeyed through Jerusalem and people had no idea who He really was. To prove the point, in the following verse Jesus is referred to as a simple prophet. Boy, we humans just don’t get it do we?

I often think to myself how many times I have missed Jesus right in front of me. How many times have I walked past someone who is hungry, hurting, broken, beaten, abused, damaged, downcast, depressed, sad or suffering? How many times did Jesus present me with an opportunity to see Him and I let my schedule get in the way?

Friends, Jesus is right in front of us. Everyday we can see Him. We have to open our eyes. Are you missing Jesus today? If so, wake up, He is not disguised.
Happy Palm Sunday to you and yours!

Introduction:
A kindergarten teacher was walking around her classroom while her students drew pictures. One little girl was scribbling so intently that the teacher asked what she was drawing. The little girl replied, “I’m drawing a picture of Jesus.” The teacher said, “Oh honey, nobody really knows for sure what Jesus looked like.” The little girl, without missing a beat, responded, “They will in a minute.”

Point:
Friends, people have argued for centuries about Jesus of Nazareth.  

Judaism recognizes Jesus’ life and death.  Some might even say that He was a miracle maker.  However, they would profess that He is not God.

Islam maintains that while Jesus is to be revered that He is not God.  They recognized Him as a prophet and teacher. They deny that Jesus was the Son of God.

Hinduism claims that Jesus was a holy man. He was a wise person.  The Hindu states that Jesus was “a” god.  Jesus is simply one of many Gods.  

To the Buddhist, Jesus was an enlightened man. 

To the man confessing the New Age Movement, Jesus was another wise moral teacher.  

What about you?  Who is Jesus to you?  There are so man opinions and views of Jesus Christ.  His identity is widely debated even today.  

Point:
Our culture has so minimized Jesus that it is really hard to decipher what is true and false about Him.  Instead of Jesus, the Holy One, we have turned Him into Jesus, our Homeboy.  



We have dragged Jesus down to a place of our simple and finite understanding.  Jesus is so much more than our Homeboy and when we deliver to Him anything less than our complete worship and adoration, we blaspheme who He is and what He has done for all of humanity.  

When It Comes To Jesus, Are You Clear or Confused?

Background of Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, where he would be crucified five days later. According to the Gospels, Jesus rode into town on a donkey as exuberant crowds hailed him as the Messiah and spread out palm branches and cloaks in his path.

The event commemorated on Palm Sunday is told in all four gospels (Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, John 12). 

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, an especially solemn and important week in the Christian calendar that focuses on the last days of Jesus' life and anticipates Easter, the most important holiday in Christianity.

Point
Today we will look at four characters.  First, will look at Jesus through the lens of the crowd.  Next, we will see Jesus through the eyes of the donkey.  Then we will see Jesus through the lens of the disciples and finally through the eyes of the Pharisees.  

Our goal this morning is to discover the identity of Jesus.  Who is this man that drew so much attention?  Why did the crowds gather?  Let read John 12:12-19 to discover these truths.  

John 12:12-19 (NIV)
The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. [13] They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! " "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!" [14] Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, [15] "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt." [16] At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him. [17] Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. [18] Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. [19] So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!"

Who Was Jesus?

I. To The Crowd Jesus Was A Celebrity vs. 12-13
John 12:12-13, 17-18(NIV)
The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. [13] They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! " "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!" [17] Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. [18] Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. 

Point:
Our society loves celebrates.  Don’t believe me?  Turn on the television and you have entire networks devoted to them.  E! or Entertainment TV devotes 24 hours a day to celebrities.  There are shows to help us keep up with celebrity gossip: you have Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight and TMZ. You cannot even escape our hunger for celebrities at the grocery store.  Just look on the rack and you will see countless magazines devoted to celebrities.  It seems that American society loves, and I mean loves, celebrities.  

Some celebrities deserve to be celebrities.  Just a few weeks ago, there was an awards show where celebrities gave other celebrities awards.  Of course I am talking about The Oscars. Yet, there are other awards shows.  You have The Golden Globes, The SAG Awards, The Emmy’s and The Tony’s to name just a few.  

Point:
Desiring celebrities is as old as time.  Turn in your Bibles to I Samuel 9.  The people of Israel are hungry for a King.  God decides to oblige their request knowing that the substitution will never measure up to His Lordship and leadership.  Next we are introduced to Saul.  The people wanted Saul to be their King.  Do you know why?  

Was it because of his deep spirituality?  

Was it because he was an excellent leader? 

Was it because he was moral? 

Was it because of his love of God?

The answer is “no”.

The people wanted Saul because he looked the part.  He looked like a celebrity in their eyes. Listen to Samuel’s words.

I Samuel 9:2 ESV
And he had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.

So, Saul became King because he was tall and handsome.  That’s it.  Could you imagine putting that down on a resume just before a job interview?  Why did the people want Saul?  Saul looked like a celebrity. He looked fancy.  He looked like everything that they wanted. 

Point:
Fast forward a few hundred years and we meet Jesus.  Jesus looks like a person who might fit the celebrity bill.  There are stories about Jesus being able to perform awesome miracles.  

He can walk on water they said.  

He can heal the sick and raise the dead they said.  

He has stood up to the Pharisees.  

He claims to be a King they claimed.  

This was going to be the crowds ticket.  A celebrity was entering town.  Time to make a big deal.  Time to lay down some palm branches.  Time to sing and shout.  There is only one problem, they saw the celebrity but missed the Savior.  

How do we know this?  Turn to Matthew 21:10-11.

Matthew 21:10-11 ESV
10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

So the crowd shows up shouting and praising.  There is just one problem.  They have no idea who they are even talking about.  There is great confusion in the crowd. They didn’t know who he was and the people that are suppose to be know mistakenly call him a prophet.  Of course we know that Jesus is so much more than a prophet.  Like the crowd, we honor Jesus verbally but most of us miss the point of the cross.

Point:
If we are being honest, that is the way most of us see Jesus.  We see Jesus the celebrity not the Savior. 

Friend Jesus is bigger than the Kardashians.  

He is more important than any world leader.  

He is brighter than the smartest person.  

His words more powerful than the most gifted preacher.  

His power larger than any force in the Universe.  

Jesus Christ is King of Kings.

Jesus Christ is Lord of Lords.

There is no other name higher or holier.  

There is a great song called No One Higher by Seth Condrey.  When I think of the greatness of Jesus I am often brought back to this song.  

Verse 1
Our Father, Creator
You hold our hearts together
There’s no one higher than You
Redeemer, defender
Our great and mighty savior
There’s no one higher than You

Bridge
You are always with us
Gracious to forgive us
By Your power we’ve been set free

Chorus
And Lord we stand amazed in your presence
Astounded by your mercy and love
Our hands are lifted high in surrender
Your grace for me is always enough
And there is no one higher than our God
There is no one greater than you
Let my life forever praise
The glory of Your name

There is no one higher than You

Verse 2
Majestic in wonder
You reign with love forever
There’s no one higher than You
Your beauty, your splendor
Your glory knows no measure
There’s no one higher than You

Bridge

Chorus

Tag (x6)
There is no one higher, no one greater, no one like our God
There is none more able, Christ our savior, great and glorious 

Point:
The Bible is clear that Jesus is so much more than just another celebrity.  He is so much more than an earthly king.  

Philippians 2:9-11 ESV
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Who Was Jesus?

I. To The Crowd Jesus Was A Celebrity vs. 12-13
II. To The Donkey Jesus Was A Responsibility vs. 14-15
John 12:14-15 NIV
[14] Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, [15] "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt."

Point:
Have you ever wondered what the donkey must have been thinking?  How cool would it have been if the donkey started talking, yelling and praising in the same manner that the donkey talked to Balaam back in the Old Testament?  

Well, we don’t hear much about the donkey.  We are not made aware of what he must have been thinking.  

Point:
Well, if the crowds missed Jesus, perhaps the donkey did as well.  I imagine that the donkey looked at Jesus as another man to be carried.  I imagine that the donkey looked at Jesus as just another burden on his back.  It was something he was being forced to carry.  Are you like the donkey? Do you feel that Jesus is just another burden in your life? 

Is it hard to carry Jesus at school?
Is it hard to carry Jesus at work?
Is it hard to carry Jesus at the ball field?
Is it hard to carry Jesus at home?

Why did Jesus choose a donkey?  One to fulfill prophecy.

Zechariah 9:9 NLT
Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey--riding on a donkey's colt.

Why did Jesus choose a donkey? A donkey represents people in general. 

A Psalm For Palm Sunday: Joseph Bayly in Psalms of My Life.
King Jesus, why did you choose a lowly donkey to carry you to ride in your parade?

Had you no friend who owned a horse--a royal mount with spirit for a king to ride?

Why choose an donkey, small, unassuming beast of burden trained to plow not carry kings?

King Jesus, why did you choose me, a lowly unimportant person to bear you in my world today?

I'm poor and unimportant, trained to work not carry kings--let alone the King of kings, and yet you've chosen me to carry you in triumph in this world's parade.

King Jesus, keep me small so all may see how great you are; keep me humble, so all may say,
"Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord," not what a great donkey he rides.

Joseph Bayly in Psalms of My Life. 

Point:
Friends, Jesus is not a burden to carry but a blessing.  Jesus even says as much.  

Matthew 11:30 ESV
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Remember when you have Jesus, you have access to His…
Presence 
Power
Protection

Point:
In our humanness, we often feel like Jesus is a drag when we want to go down the road that everyone else is traveling.  Jesus reminds us that while that broad road is often tempting, it leads to a bad place.  

Matthew 7:13-14 ESV
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Point:
That’s right, Jesus may seem like a burden today.  Trust me, life with Jesus ends up being much better.  You will live a life of peace and prosperity.  So, don’t be jealous of others and their seemingly free lifestyle.  Be joyous because He leads to life eternal.  Remember His burden is so much lighter than the world.

Lastly remember that we are going to carry a burden.  That’s going to happen.  We can either carry Jesus’ light burden or we can carry the heavy burden of the world.  

Illustration:
A lecturer was giving a lecture to his students on stress management. He raised a glass of water and asked the audience, "How heavy do you think this glass of water is?" 

The students’ answers ranged from 20g to 500g. 

"It does not matter on the absolute weight. It depends on how long you hold it. 

If I hold it for a minute, it is OK. 
If I hold it for an hour, I will have an ache in my right arm. 
If I hold it for a day, you will have to call an ambulance. 
It is the exact same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." 

"If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, we will not be able to carry on, the burden becoming increasingly heavier." 

Friend, Jesus wants to carry that burden today.  What is the burden that you have been bearing?  Is it heavy?  Is it to much?  Lay it down.  Take up Jesus. 

Who Was Jesus?

I. To The Crowd Jesus Was A Celebrity vs. 12-13
II. To The Donkey Jesus Was A Responsibility vs. 14-15
III. To The Disciples Jesus Was A Mystery vs. 16
John 12:16 NIV
[16] At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him. 

Point:
Let’s be honest, Jesus is a complete mystery.  Every time the disciples had Him figured out, Jesus goes and rattles the foundations of their beliefs.  You see the disciples had Jesus in a box.  They thought they knew why He was here.  They thought they had him figured out.  They were so wrong.

Imagine that you were the disciples for a second.  Your leader is fulfilling prophecy.  He is riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.  People are laying palm branches on the road.  People are taking off there coats so that Jesus and the donkey don’t walk in the dirt.  They are treating Him like royalty.  They are treating Him like a King.  So, if Jesus is King, then what about the disciples?  Surly Jesus will make them high governing officials? Surly there will be a place of importance in this newly established kingdom?  

The disciples were thinking that Jesus was entering Jerusalem as a sign that He was going to overthrow Roman rule.  Jesus was going to restore Israel to prominence.  Just look at what Jesus could do. He performed miracle after miracle.  He healed so many people.  Of course He was going to sit on David’s throne.  

Just one problem, just as they had Jesus figured out, they realized that Jesus was here for an entirely different purpose.  Jesus would not fit so neatly into their box.  Jesus even tells Pilot in an later discussion that He had no plans to set up an earthly temporal kingdom.  Pilot and the disciples just didn’t believe Him.  

John 18:36 ESV
36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.

Point:
Isn’t it sad that the men who spent the most time with Jesus never really understood Him.  Truthfully the disciples thought they knew what they needed.  In their mind, they needed an earthly King.  However, Jesus really knew what they needed.  They needed salvation.  They needed rescue.  Unfortunately, the road to the cross was paved with confused and fickle people.  

Point:
What about you?  Have you ever felt that you needed something and God gave you something different?  It’s frustrating isn’t it.  How many of you have cried out to God concerning your marriage, your children, your addictions, your work, your spouse, or something else.  You spoke to God clearly and plainly but instead of giving you what you want, He gave you something that you were not even asking for.  

The disciples were not asking for salvation, but they got it. It may have not been what they wanted but it was what they needed.  

Point:
We do this with our children don’t we.  If we let our kids have their way, they would eat candy for breakfast, chocolate for lunch and milkshakes for dinner.  That is what they want.  That is what they feel that they need.  However, the role of a parent is not to always bend to a child’s wants.  The role of the parent is to understand what the child needs and to meet those needs.  

Throughout the pages of the Bible, the Lord again and again tries to encourage us in times of suffering and despair.  He tries to comfort us when we don’t understand His plan.  

Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Song:
Years ago, a Christian musician and singer named Babbie Mason penned a song entitled Trust His Heart.  It was written to help people in the midst of crisis and trial.  This is the chorus of that song.  

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don't understand
When don't see his plan
When you can't trace his hand
Trust His Heart

Who Was Jesus?

I. To The Crowd Jesus Was A Celebrity vs. 12-13
II. To The Donkey Jesus Was A Responsibility vs. 14-15
III. To The Disciples Jesus Was A Mystery vs. 16
IV. To The Pharisees Jesus Was An Enemy vs. 17-19
John 12:17-19 NIV
[17] Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. [18] Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. [19] So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!"

Point:
To put it mildly, the Pharisees didn’t like Jesus.  They saw Him as a threat to their religious power.  Numerous times throughout Scripture, we see the Pharisees plot to kill Jesus.  Why?  Why did the Pharisees hate Jesus so much? Why did they want Him dead?

So, there were three basic reasons that the Pharisees and Jews wanted to kill Jesus:

Jesus healed on the Sabbath - this worked outside their religious traditions. He told them that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. In that, he restored the true, biblical, divine reason for the Sabbath, so he did not break the Law. But, their tradition had become more clear to them than God's original intention. Because they were so afraid of breaking the Law, over time they changed it and lost the true meaning. This was a parapet, or wall, far from the edge of law breaking that kept them "in bounds." Jesus challenged that so that they would be restored to the heart of God, but it made them so angry, they wanted to kill him.

Jesus claimed to be God and to be sent by God. He claimed to represent God, but he did not fit their preconceived notion of what the Messiah would look like. They expected the Messiah to be a political conqueror, in the guise of David, not a humble carpenter's son from Nazareth. Their preset notions caused them to miss God's Anointed. They had decided how God would work, and when someone came claiming to work in a different way, they could not accept him as of God. They missed God's greatest work, because they already had a ready made box for how God was to do things!

Jesus declared that salvation was no longer just for the Jews, but it was for all who would believe in Him, even outcasts, sinners, pagans, and Gentiles. This was too much for the Jews to take! If they weren't special, then what good were they? What was the point of all that they had been through?

Point:
Friends is Jesus still not under attack today?  Is He still not an enemy?  Christian voices around the world are being suppressed every day.  Jesus even states that the world will hate us because of Him.

Matthew 10:22 NIV
You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Do you feel hated today because of your faith in Jesus Christ?  Do feel like you are being persecuted because of your Christian faith?  If the answer is “no”, then you might have a problem.  If you say “no” could it mean that no one really knows you are a Christian?  Could it be that you look no different than the rest of the world?  Jesus tells us that there is blessing that comes through persecution due to His righteousness.

Matthew 5:10 NIV
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Point:
Friends, Jesus wouldn’t fit into anyone’s box.  Not the crowd’s box.  Not the disciples’ box.  Not the Pharisees’ box.  Jesus won’t even fit into Stuart’s box.  Even when Eastern Shore Baptist Church tries to put Jesus in a box, He will not be suppressed.  He cannot be stopped.  He is a force unparalleled in human history.  

Point:
To some, Jesus is a celebrity.  To others, He is a burden.  To the rest He is an enigma and enemy.  Friends, who is Jesus to you?  If you examine Scripture and listen to the words of Christ, you have to make a decision today about the validity of His claims.  

According to C.S. Lewis, Jesus is either a liar, lunatic or LORD.  Friends I hope that you will open you heart to Jesus today and allow Him to be your Lord. 

Plan of Salvation
Receiving Christ is as simple as ABC: 

Admit that you have sinned. 
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. —Rom. 3:23 

Believe that Jesus Christ died for you. 
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. —John 1:12 

Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of your life. 
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.. —Jn. 14:15 


Who Was Jesus? Jesus Is Lord




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