World English Bible translation
12:12On the next day a great multitude had come to the feast. When they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 12:13 they took the branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet him, and cried out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!"
12:14Jesus, having found a young donkey, sat on it. As it is written, 12:15 "Don't be afraid, daughter of Zion. Behold, your King comes, sitting on a donkey's colt." 12:16 His disciples didn't understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about him, and that they had done these things to him. 12:17 The multitude therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb, and raised him from the dead, was testifying. 12:18 For this cause also the multitude went and met him, because they heard that he had done this sign. 12:19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, "See how you accomplish nothing. Behold, the world has gone after him."
Today's Scripture is John's version of the Triumphant Entry on Palm Sunday. Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey's colt to the praises and encouragement of the multitude. It is a moment of public acceptance and adulation. Each step of the way is a fulfillment of prophecy.
As Jesus rides into the city, the people that had been waiting on Him went out to meet Him. They cried out to Him, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!" Hosanna means "God saves". They were praising Him and declaring Him to be King of Israel. They were expecting something miraculous to happen by His returning to Jerusalem.
The author tells us that His disciples did not understand the significance of what was happening at the time. This was a spontaneous demonstration on the part of the multitude. Those that had seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead were encouraging the crowd on by testifying about the miracle that they had seen. Even His detractors were amazed by the reaction of the people. "Behold, the world has gone after him."
What was the significance of the Triumphant Entry? It was a fulfillment of prophecy. It did contribute further to the antagonism of the religious leaders and Jesus. It does demonstrate the anticipation that the people had for His arrival. But, there is more to this event than the surface reasons.
This is how Jesus should have been accepted. He was the true King of Israel, without herald or crown. People should have greeted Him with praises and blessings wherever He went. There should have been joy and celebration whenever He came into town.
But, in this story, the same multitude that praises Him today will be calling for His crucifixion in just a few days. They call for Him to be King, but they do not like His style of leading them. They are unwilling to follow where He chooses to lead.
Because where He is leading them is toward the cross. This demonstration does not forestall the necessity of the cross. Even if all His enemies had bowed down to Him, He still would have had to die. The Angel of Death had been let loose in the world. Only the blood of the Lamb could make it "pass over" God's Chosen. The Lamb of God was coming to the Passover Feast in order to make that sacrifice.
But, would there be anyone who would follow?
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