The King who Conquers by Dying

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The King who Conquers by Dying
Text: John 12:12-26
Occasion: Palm Sunday
Audience: Adults
Theological Tradition: General
Topic: Trust, Expectations
Author: Jeff Mammen


Jesus does not save us how we want Him to, but how we need Him to.

How to Get There

  • We do our best, but sometimes we can miss the point of something, or not see what the best way of doing something is. We see the world and act based on the small amount we know.
  • The disciples missed the point, this passage says they didn't understand it all at that time. They followed Jesus, believed in him, but didn't understand what Jesus was there to do. They only knew a small part of what was going on.
  • The people thought Jesus was here to save them from Rome, from being powerless against the nations oppressing them. H had shown power over death, now must be the time to free everyone.
  • So people were naturally shouting “Hosanna” or “save us,” crying out for their powerlessness to be over.
  • We feel powerless too, and we expect to find Jesus in those moments of power, to free us from feeling helpless ever again.
  • The Jesus that shows up, however, is often not the one we expected.
  • Jesus came on a donkey, the sign of peace, not on a warhorse ready to conquer. The people just sat confused, eventually so upset over him not meeting their expectations they wanted him dead. We get confused too, with Jesus coming on His terms and not ours.
  • The bitterness that these people felt we feel in us sometimes too. We too try and use our own power to fix it all because Jesus didn't meet our expectations.
  • The disciples didn't get it either, but instead of taking away their trust when their expectations weren't met, they kept trusting Jesus even though they didn't understand. That's what a disciple does, they trust their teacher.
  • It was only later, looking back, that the disciples understood why Jesus had done what he did. And the people never did get it.
  • Jesus conquered not with the sword, but by dying.
  • Jesus did exactly what they needed, whether they knew it or not, whether it seemed like it at the time or not. Jesus will always save us how we really need it. Will we be a disciple or one of the crowd? Will we let our disappointment turn us away from Jesus or will we trust in our teacher?

Things to Watch For

An understanding of what people thought the Messiah would be, as well as an understanding of the political situation in Israel at the time is needed to see the contrast between the expectations of everyone and what Jesus actually did.

There are many situations we feel powerless in and want Jesus to save us from in specific ways, ways we can gain power. This message can be hamstrung by being limited to only political, or physical, or financial, relational etc.

Other Ideas that use this Topic:

Handicap CrossingWhat it's like to need and give helpExperiential Learning
Spiders WebHow to work as a team to overcome obstaclesExperiential Learning
Trustfall GameTo trust other people or to illustrate our faith and trust in GodExperiential Learning