Sunday, March 24, 2013

John 12:12-19: Palm Sunday

Jesus entering jerusalem on a donkey
By Unknown publisher of Bible Card
 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
LINK: John 12:12-19

Palm Sunday, Spring A.D. 30

183. Jesus Rides into Jerusalem on a Donkey: Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, John 12:12-19


Jesus is riding on to die. This is the start of the final days of Jesus' life. Jesus' death is emphasized in all four gospels. Matthew devotes 33 percent, Mark 37 percent, Luke 25 percent, and John 42 percent to the last seven days of Jesus' life. 

This event is often called the "Triumphal Entry."  Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time and the mood was celebratory for some but others plotted His death. 

Jesus rode on a donkey as a just and humble King and fulfilled the prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9, but He also rode on to die. All four Gospel accounts include this event, but Matthew 21:2 mentions a donkey and a colt.  Mark 11:2 and Luke 19:30 record the colt only. A simple explanation would be that a mother donkey would naturally go along with her colt. Apparently Jesus rode on the colt so Mark and Luke did not add that his mother came along. Also, Matthew would often add more detail for his Jewish audience. John starts his narrative when Jesus enters Jerusalem and mentions nothing about the donkey or the colt.

The crowd spread out palm branches. The palm symbolized the beauty and righteousness of man (Psalm 92:12-14). It also symbolized the head of state and victory.  "Hosanna!" means "save now" in Hebrew, and they were asking the One who was coming in the "name of the Lord" (Psalm 118:25-26) to do just that!

When Jesus rides in, the crowd acknowledges Him as the Son of David, the Messiah they have waited for all these years. There are three different groups present:

1) Passover pilgrims (John 12:12,18)
2) Locals who had witnessed the raising of Lazarus (John 12:17)
3) Religious leaders who threatened He would start a revolution (John 12:19)

The religious leaders were threatened because Jesus' followers were proclaiming Him to be the Messiah or King and because Jesus prophesied that Jerusalem would someday fall (Luke 19:39-44). It did just that when the Romans totally destroyed it in A.D. 70. National acceptance of Him would have brought them peace, but they did not recognize the time of God's coming! So sad!


Worship and pray through Psalm 118:25-29 below and meditate on the Triumphal Entry through the lyrics of the song 

"Ride on to Die" by Michael Card

Sense the sorrow untold, as you look down the road
At the clamoring crowd drawing near
Feel the 
heat of the day, as you look down the way
Hear the shouts of Hosanna the King

daughter of Zion your time's drawing near
Don't forsake Him, oh don't pass it by
On the foal of a donkey as the prophets had said
Passing by you, He rides on to die

Come now little foal, though you're not very old
Come and bear your first burden bravely
Walk so softly upon all the coats and the 
Bare the One on your back oh so gently

Midst the shouting so loud and the joy of the crowd
There is One who is riding in silence
For He knows the ones here will be fleeing in fear
When their shepherd is taken away


Soon the thorn cursed ground will bring forth a crown
And this Jesus will seem to be beaten
But He'll conquer alone both the shroud and the 
And the prophesies will be completed


On the foal of a donkey as the prophets had said
Passing by you He rides on to die


Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord; 
We have blessed you from the house of the Lord. 
The Lord is God, and He has given us light; 
Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. 
You are my God, and I give thanks to You; 
You are my God, I extol You. 
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; 
For His lovingkindness is everlasting. 
(Psalm 118:25-29)

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