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AND JESUS WENT BEFORE THEM
Intro: Since the day Jesus began His earthly ministry and called His disciples to follow Him, He had tried to help them see exactly Who He was. They believed that He was a great teacher. They believed that He was a great prophet. They believed that He was a man of God. They may have even believed, on some level, that He was the promised Messiah.
They believed that their leader, their rabbi, Jesus, was going to deliver their nation from the domination of Rome. They believed that Jesus was going to restore Israel to its former greatness. They believed that He would be the King of Israel. And, they were right. They were just mistaken about the timing.
The disciples believed that these things were about to happen in their lifetimes. They believed that Jesus was on the verge of establishing His kingdom in the world. They failed to understand the truth that God was up to something much greater than that.
On two previous occasions Jesus had tried to tell His men that He was sent to this world to die. The first Jesus told them about His approaching death was in Mark 8:31. On that occasion Peter rebuked the Lord and could not grasp what Jesus was trying to tell them. On the second occasion, Mark 9:31, they were all confounded by what Jesus said and could not get their minds around it.
The Jews were looking for the Messiah, but they were looking for a military leader, not a man who gets Himself executed. They simply could not comprehend the truth that Messiah would have to die to accomplish His divine mission on earth.
So, once again, Jesus tells His men what is about to take place. He gives them the clearest and most detailed statement about His impending death.
This occurred as Jesus and His men were walking toward Jerusalem. Verse 32 says, “ and Jesus went before them. It was common for a rabbi to walk ahead of his disciples. It was common for the rabbi to walk in front, all alone. That is where we find the Lord. As He leads the way, Jesus gives His followers some very important information. I want to share the contents of His message with you today.
In this passage, we see Jesus, out in front, leading His men. We see Jesus going where no other man could go; about to do what no other man could do. We see Jesus blazing the trail for all who will receive Him by faith.
I want to point out the divisions of this text today. I want you to see Jesus And His Focus; Jesus And His Followers and Jesus And His Future. I want to preach on “And Jesus Went Before Them. Lets see what was on our Lords mind as He approached the cross.
I. v. 32 JESUS AND HIS FOCUS
(Ill. The phrase “and Jesus went before them is in the present tense. This phrase has the idea that Jesus kept going and going, as He lead the way for them. It is the picture of a man whose face is set. It is picture of a man whose mind is made up. It is the picture of a man who is determined to go somewhere and who refuses to be distracted from his mission. It is a picture of a man who has His mind made up.
That is the Savior in these verses. He has His mind fixed on some things and He is determined to carry out His mission. What is He focused on?)
A. He Was Focused On A Place The Bible says they were in the way going up to Jerusalem. They were headed to the capital of Israel. They were going to the place where the Temple resided. They were traveling the same road walked by pilgrims on their way to sacrifice. They were walking the same path and millions of others had walked down through the centuries. They were headed to a specific place.
We are told that there were “going up to Jerusalem. This was true since Jerusalem is located high in the mountains of Israel. There are places with a higher elevation, but people always spoke of going up to that city.
One reason for that way of thinking has to do with its spiritual nature. Jerusalem was the home of the Temple of Jehovah. It was the place God dwelt. It was here that sacrifices were offered and atonement was made for the people. To the Jew, Jerusalem was always on the way up. It was a place of higher spiritual elevation in their minds.
That is the city to which they were headed that day. However, I do not think Jesus had the city on His mind. I do not think that He was focused on the Temple and the religious rituals that were being carried out there. I do not think that He was contemplating the architecture He would see. I do not think His mind on the sights and sounds that would surround Him when He arrived in Jerusalem.
I am convinced that Jesus had His mind on a little hill just outside the city gates. I am almost sure that His focus was on a hill called Golgotha; a place we call Calvary. His mind was on the hill where Abraham offered up his son Isaac to the Lord, Gen. 22. His mind was on the place where He would offer Himself up as the final, perfect, eternal sacrifice for sin and sinners.
Every day of His life; every step in His ministry; every miracle; every sermon; every single thing Jesus did while He was here on this earth served to bring Him to that hill. Calvary was His destiny. Calvary was His mission. Calvary was His goal. (Ill. Mark 10:45; Phil. 2:5-8) And, Calvary was the central of His mind as He walked toward Jerusalem that day.
B. He Was Focused On A Plan Jesus knew that when He arrived at Calvary an ages old plan would be accomplished. Jesus knew that at Calvary the prophecies of the prophets would be fulfilled. Jesus knew that at Calvary the just demands of a holy God would be met. Jesus knew that when the events that would take place on Calvary were accomplished, God Almighty would be satisfied and lost sinners could be saved.
Lest you misunderstand, the cross and the death of Jesus were not some unfortunate accident. The death of Jesus on the cross was not “Plan B. The death of Jesus was planned long before this world was ever created, 1 Pet. 1:19-20; Rev. 13:8.
His death was promised to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Gen. 3:15. His death was pictured in the coats of skin God made to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve, Gen. 3:21. His death was prefigured in every sacrifice and offering in the Tabernacle and the Temple. His death was the theme of the Old Testament prophets.
Jesus, in His death on the cross, would accomplish what all the millions of gallons of blood that was shed under the Old Testament system had failed to do. His death would accomplish what Adam’s fig leaves could never have done. His death on the cross would fully, eternally, and perfectly pay for the sins all those who would place their faith in Him, Heb. 10:4, 11-14; 9:12-14, 28.
As Jesus made His way toward Jerusalem, the plan of salvation was on His mind. He was headed there to fully deal with sin, and nothing would stand in His way!
C. He Was Focused On A People It wasnt just a place and an plan that had the Lords attention that day; His mind was also focused on a people.
Before He was born the angel told Joseph, “thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins, Matt. 1:21. Jesus came to this world with some people on His mind. Who?
· All those who would believe on Him and be saved, John 1:12!
· All those who would be given to Him by the Father, John 6:37!
· All those chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, Eph. 1:4!
He had His mind on all those who bow before the Father and confess Jesus as their Savior. He died for all those who would believe the Gospel message!
In other words, if you are saved, or if you will ever be saved, you were on His mind and Jesus made His way toward Jerusalem that day.
II. v. 32 JESUS AND HIS FOLLOWERS
(Ill. These verses do not simply talk about the Savior. They also tell us something of the mindset of His men.
We are told that they are “amazed. This word means to be astonished or frightened. We are also told that they were afraid. This is the word phobeo. We get the word phobia from it. It means to be put to flight; to be seized with alarm.
There was something in our Lord’s demeanor that caused His men to be filled with fear. There was something about the resolve in the eyes of Jesus that filled his men with fear. Let’s look into their fears for just a moment.)
A. The Reason For Their Fears The disciples are afraid for Jesus, and for themselves, because they know the Jewish leaders hate Jesus. Jesus has had several bitter encounters with the Jewish religious leaders.
They are upset by His miracles. They are upset by His claims to be the Son of God. They are upset by His claims to be the Messiah. They are so upset that they want Jesus dead. The event that has them so angry is the miracle involving the raising of Lazarus from the dead, John 11:1-45. This miracle, which so clearly identified Jesus as God in the flesh, was the miracle that cemented the Jews in their unbelief. They hate Jesus so much that they are determined to see Him dead, John 11:53-57. They had already threatened to stone Him one time already, John 10:31.
The disciples know this and they are amazed that Jesus seems determined to march to His death, John 11:8. I would imagine that they tried to talk Him out of going. I am certain they tried to change His mind. Every attempt failed and Jesus continued to march toward His date with death. Of course, Isaiah predicted the Messiah would be focused, Isa. 50:7.
The disciples are afraid for Jesus, but they are also afraid for themselves! This is not what they signed up for. They followed Him because they believed that He was the Messiah. They followed Him because they believed that He was about to establish His kingdom. They followed Him because they thought they would reign with Him. Now it appears as though they will die with Him and they are afraid.
B. The Resolve In Their Fears Even though they are afraid; even though they cant talk Jesus out of going to Jerusalem; and even though they want to run away, they continue to follow Him. What a testimony that is! They were resolved to follow Jesus even if it meant that they would die with Him. Their feelings are summed up by Thomas in John 11:16, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.
(Note: It’s hard to find that kind of resolve today! It seems the least little thing is enough to knock people off course with the Lord. A word spoken out of turn; a little pleasure; a little inconvenience; a little trouble, and the average church member is done with following Jesus.
I didn’t know it was going to be like this! I thought following Jesus would pay off big for me. I have to give up too much. It just costs too much. Those are the kinds of things people say today.
Where are the people who will follow Jesus, even if His path leads you to your death? Where are the people who are determined to follow Him regardless of the cost?)
C. The Remedy For Their Fears Jesus sensed the fear in His men and He took the time to comfort them. That lets me know that His people are important to Him.
(Note: We all deal with fear from time to time. There isn’t a person in this room that doesn’t have questions, doubts and fears in various areas of your life. There are very few true followers of the Lord Jesus who don’t have some fears about where the path God has them walking is headed.
We all have doubts and fears, but we also have a Lord Who cares about what disturbs us, 1 Pet. 5:7. In fact, we are told in the Word that what touches us touches Him, Heb. 4:15. He cares; He is concerned; and He invites us to bring our fears to Him, Heb. 4:16; 13:5-6.
Don’t allow your fears, your doubts and your concerns to derail you. Bring them to Jesus and find a Friend Who is able to help you deal with them all. Ill. Matt. 7:7-11; 2 Cor. 12:8-10; Phil 4:6-7)
III. v. 33-34 JESUS AND HIS FUTURE
(Ill. As Jesus spoke to His men there on the road to Jerusalem, His words were not what they wanted to hear. Jesus tells them in very clear terms what is about to happen to Him at Jerusalem.
How did Jesus know these things? There are two answers. First, Jesus is God! He knows these things are about to take place because they are part of the plan He developed. Second, He knows these things because He had read the Old Testament. Everything Jesus tells His men in these verses was prophesied of the Savior before He ever came into the world.
I said that to say this, if you want to know the mind of God, read His book! He has all the information you need to know for both life and death in the pages of His Word, the Bible. That is why there are people with extensive and expensive educations that are as dumb as a rock in spiritual matters; while there are people who can barely read that are wise in the things of God. What makes the difference? The Word of God! Read the Book and grow wise!
In these verses, Jesus tells His men what He is about to suffer. Let’s be reminded again of what the Lord did for us when He went up to Jerusalem.)
A. His Future Involved Rejection The leaders of the Jews would make a final rejection of Jesus as the Messiah, John 1:11. Their Supreme Court, the Sanhedrin, would condemn Him as a common criminal and sentence Him to die, Matt. 26:63-66. The Jews, the very people He came to save, would turn Him over to the Gentiles so they could put Him to death.
B. His Future Involved Ridicule Even as He died, the crowds around the cross would mock the Son of God and ridicule Him as He died. Ill the scene: The guards of the High Priest mocked Him, Matt. 26:67-68; The soldiers of Pilate mocked Him, John 19:1-5; The crowds mocked Him - Matt. 27:39-44.
C. His Future Involved Regicide That word refers to the killing of a king. They took the Son of God and they scourged Him. They bent Him over a low pole and they beat His back with a Roman flagellum, John 19:1. Many people died from this act alone.
Then they spit in the face of Jesus and ripped the bread from His face, Isa. 50:6. Then they nailed the King of Glory to a Roman cross, where He hung for six agonizing hours before He died. They removed the dead body of the Lord Jesus from that cross and buried Him in a borrowed tomb, John 19:31-42.
D. His Future Involved Resurrection Three days after the King died on the cross, He got up from the dead! Jesus freely laid down His life and He had the power to take up that life again, John 10:18. Jesus got up that third day never to die again, Rev. 1:18!
(Note: What does that mean for us? Simply this: If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, you need never fear death, Hell, the grave or the judgment of God. Why?
· When Jesus died, He was not dying for Himself. He was dying for all those who would place their faith in Him for salvation.
· When Jesus died, He was paying for sin and satisfying a holy God, 1 John 2:2.
· When Jesus died, He was opening a way of salvation for every person who would receive Him as their Savior!
· When Jesus died, He was dying for sin and for sinners, 2 Cor. 5:21.
· When Jesus died, all those who believe in Him died with Him, Gal. 2:20.
· When Jesus died, He was judged in the place of the sinner, 1 Pet. 3:18.
· When Jesus rose again He arose with everlasting life for all those who have their faith in Him, John 11:25-26.
· When Jesus rose again, He stripped the power of the grave away forever and He gave His followers victory over death, Hell and the grave, 1 Cor. 15:53-57.
· You see, Jesus went before us! He endured the wrath of God on the cross, before us. He rose from the dead, before us. He has paved the way for us and if we will simply follow Him by faith, we will enjoy His perfect, eternal salvation and we will experience peace with God.
· Are you saved today?)
Conc: Jesus led the way! Like a Good Shepherd, He walked before His flock, taking care of every need in advance. He has cleared the way for His people.
He came to this world with a single goal. He came to accomplish our salvation. He did this when He died on the cross and rose again from the dead. He went where we could not go and did what we could not do so that we might receive what only He can give us.
Here is the invitation:
1. Do you need to be saved today? If you are lost and you understand that Jesus died for you and rose again, please come to Him and be saved today.
2. Do you have fears and worries in your walk with the Lord? Bring them to Him today. He cares and He can help.
3. Do you want to bow before Him and thank Him for His unspeakable gift of love? Do you want to thank Him for saving your soul?
Whatever the need, He is the supply. Get to Him today!