Wednesday, May 2, 2012

John 12:12-19

In John 5, when Jesus was answering the Jewish leaders who had questioned His credentials for claiming to be God, Jesus pointed them to the Scriptures which testified of Him. More than 300 Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled during Jesus’ first coming - with many more yet to be fulfilled at His return. Here, in today’s passage, we see some that were when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, being hailed as the King who had come to save His people.

Remember that Jesus had been visiting Lazarus and his sisters in Bethany, just outside of Jerusalem. The buzz about Lazarus had reached the masses gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. According to projections based on what the Jewish historian, Josephus, wrote, there were possibly more than two million in the city observing Passover week. And then Jesus comes:

The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, 
    “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
    “Blessed is the King of Israel!”  Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,
    “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion;
   see, your king is coming,
   seated on a donkey’s colt.” (John 12:12-15)

Most of us will find a reference in our Bible’s to Psalm 118 here. Particularly, verses 19-25 of that Psalm speak to this event.

Open for me the gates of righteousness;
   I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
 This is the gate of the LORD
   through which the righteous may enter.
 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
   you have become my salvation.

   The stone the builders rejected
   has become the capstone;
 the LORD has done this,
   and it is marvelous in our eyes.
 This is the day the LORD has made;
   let us rejoice and be glad in it.

   O LORD, save us;
   O LORD, grant us success.
 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
   From the house of the LORD we bless you. 

The word for “save us” in this Psalm is the word, “Hosanna.” The Jews in Jerusalem that Sunday were welcoming Jesus as their Savior, the “gate of the LORD.” Other Old Testament prophecies fulfilled on this day were from Zechariah 9:9 and Isaiah 62:11. The crowds greeted Jesus with worship and praise. And yet, these are the same who would cry, “Crucify him!” just a few days later!

My pastor, when teaching on this passage just this past Palm Sunday, pointed out that It’s not shouting ‘Hosanna’ on Sunday that matters - it’s following the Light on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, as well! How many of us who claim to be followers of Christ prefer to keep Him in a Sunday box? We faithfully go to church each Sunday, but leave Him there as they go through the rest of their week not giving Him a thought. Are we truly walking in the awareness of His presence each day? Do we give thank and praise throughout our days, even when our days seem to go completely awry? Are we trusting Him to save us, or are we looking to our jobs, our own skills, or our families as the source of our strength?

While I’m certain the disciples were blown away by the reception Jesus was getting, John tells us that they did not really comprehend this event until later. The fickle crowd was so excited to see Him, but the Pharisees not so much:

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. 

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. Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” (John 12:16-19)

Standing in that crowd that day were a group which was NOT happy! The religious leaders, who should have been shouting praises the loudest, were instead whispering murderous plots!  

No comments:

Post a Comment