A New Kind of Power in Power

John 12:12-19
Preached @ Harambee Church by Pastor
Michael Gunn on June 24th, 2007

“This is the sum of duty: do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.” Mahabharata

“One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality. All other activities are due to selfish desire.”

“The beauty and the glory of Jesus Christ consists largely in a conjunction of such actually diverse excellencies as otherwise would have seemed to us utterly incompatible in the same subject.”
Jonathan Edwards

When humans come to power they generally do it with politics, money, military might or status, or some kind of combination. Even Gandhi (Who himself was enthralled by the person of Jesus Christ) ruled from a political base. The above 2 verses shaped Gandhi’s non-violent revolution (Ahimsa), which is steeped in a shame-honor culture mentality, which according to Florida professor of English History is a “Self-regarding” ethic, as opposed to Christ’s “Another-regarding” ethic. Christ came into this world, and assumed His kingdom in a way that defined His upside down revolution. He wasn’t interested in taking over power; He was called to create a new one! In our passage today we see a humble Christ, who enters Jerusalem as a king of a different kingdom!

From the Head…
Christ’s Mission
The word “Hosanna” in the Greek is the Hebrew word “Hoshiya Na” meaning to “Save please (see Psalm 118:25-26). The word began with the idea of a desperate cry for help, but evolved as a cry of hope. It began describing the cry of one who fell in the water and couldn’t swim, and ended up as the cry of the one in the water that became aware of the life boat making it’s way toward him. Christ came to bring salvation. This passage clearly identifies Jesus with the humble Messiah of Zephaniah 9:9, and as the one who comes in the “Name (Authority) of the Lord (cf. Psalm 118:26 and Matthew 28:19).

Christ’s Revolution
While the world awaits a savior from oppressive regimes, Christ came to bring an end to death. Political upheaval may help to assuage human pain, but it doesn’t change hearts or give eternal life. Political change most often ends in its own form of corruption. It is for this reason that Jesus doesn’t pursue political power, even though He challenges the oppressive political figures of His day, but He does so from the margins, with no intention on using this force for His own revolution. The world and its reason consistently uses the same powers to make changes, while Christ is interested in using a “New kind of Power” to make real changes in humanity. His kingdom is an upside kingdom.

…to the Heart
Well what about us? His reign allows us to truly serve others, without expectations to be served, or to be used by those we serve. If our kingdom is not of this world, we can begin to serve it out of an inner abundance, and not out of need. We can trust that Christ will provide for our needs, and therefore our needs will come from Him, and not what the world dictates to us. Tim Keller says that, “We won’t care about our position on earth, if we understand our position in heaven.” Who is your king? Are you taking your cue from the king of the universe, or the king of this world?

For Further Reading: “The New Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of John” William Barclay; “The Gospel of John,” F.F. Bruce; “The New Testament Commentary: The Gospel of John,” William Hendriksen; “Preaching the Word; John: That You May Believe,” R. Kent Hughes; “The NIV Application Commentary: John,” Gary M. Burge; “The Pillar NT Commentary: The Gospel According to John,” D.A. Carson

Next Weeks Verses: John 12:20-26

2 comments so far

  1. Michael & Shannon on

    We loved your sermon on Sunday. An amazing part of the prophecy about Jesus found in Zechariah 9:9 is the next verse:

    “I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to teh nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

    King Jesus definitely had a plan to bring His Gospel to the nations! We pray the nations that have come to Seattle would all hear about His great Name.

  2. mike on

    Great point. It is amazing to see the bible pieced together, and realize God’s plan from and for the ages!
    Thanks bro!@

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