Monday, December 7, 2015
Jesus Enters Jerusalem As The King
“On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.
And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt. These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.
The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle.” (John 12:12-18)
Jesus had spent the Sabbath in Bethany with Lazarus’s family. Sunday morning he sent his disciples to Bethpage where they collected a young donkey for him to ride. Some of the people who had been present when Lazarus was raised had been at the dinner, or come by during the Sabbath, as well as people who just wanted to see him. They accompanied Jesus to Jerusalem and word of his coming spread rapidly. Many of them believed he was the Messiah and were shouting his praises and laying their coats and palm leaves on the street like we would roll out the red carpet for a visiting dignitary.
Though the disciples didn’t realize it until later, they were seeing the fulfilment of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” It was another proof that he was the promised Messiah.
“The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.” (John 12:19)
Seeing the people rallying around Jesus the Pharisees became increasingly concerned they were losing control and worried that the Romans might hold them responsible if things got out of hand.
“And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.
And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name.” (John 12:20-28a)
A group of Greeks had come to Jerusalem to participate in the Passover, and learning about Jesus, asked Philip to arrange a meeting. After a brief discussion, both Philip and Andrew went to Jesus to see what they could do. Jesus’ response implies that the Greeks may have accompanied them.
He told them that for a seed to produce anything it was necessary for that seed to be changed to something completely different than the seed itself, effectively dying so that a plant can grow. If not planted, eventually a seed dies and will not grow. In the same way, a person who does not allow God to change him eventually dies and loses everything. A person who chooses to give up this life, on the other hand, will receive eternal life. If a person chooses Christ, he should follow his teaching and example, and he will find Christ is with him, and receive honor from God.
Jesus explained that it was time for him to be glorified, literally to fulfil his purpose, and be shown as the sacrifice for the world. As he put it he was troubled about what was coming and would like to bypass it, but he came for the purpose of going through it. He asked that God would Glorify himself by completing his plan.
“Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.” (John 12:28b-33)
God spoke from Heave, and the people heard him just as he had done when Jesus was baptized. Some of the people just thought it was thunder, while others thought it was one of the angels. Jesus said the voice came so they could know that the world was being judged, and that Satan, the prince of this world was defeated. He spoke of being lifted up describing the crucifixion, and thus drawing all men to him, as he had described to Nicodemus in John 3.
“The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?
Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.” (John 12:4-36)
The people were familiar with the prophecies that Messiah would reign forever. Unfortunately they had overlooked the prophecies about his death, so when Jesus talked about dying, they were confused, and wondered who the Son of Man could be if he was going to be killed. It highlights the human tendency to only see the part of the story that fits our ideas. Jesus explained that he would only be among them for a little while, and that they needed to believe while he was there because it would be more difficult when he was not. He then disappeared from their sight, leaving them to think about what he said.
“But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. ” (John 12:37-43)
De3spite all the miracles, the majority did not believe on him, fulfilling the prophecy in Isaiah 6:9. While many of the chief rulers believed in Christ, because of the political power the Pharisees wielded, they were afraid to take a public stand because they were more concerned with keeping their position than with pleasing God.
“Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” (John 12:44-50)
Later, Jesus spoke to them, telling them that believing on him was based on believing God’s promises, and that knowing Christ was in effect Knowing God. He had come like a light, so that people could know what they were believing in, and not be just trusting blindly. People who refuse to hear and reject his message will be judged according to whether they listened or not. It will not be an arbitrary judgment by Christ, because he came to save people, not to send them into Hell. His words would force people to think about what they were doing before he was crucified.