John 12:12-36 (NRSV)
Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
12The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes
in the name of the Lord— the King of Israel!”
Hail to the Lord’s Anointed, Great David’s greater Son!
Hail, in the time appointed, His reign on Earth begun!
He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free,
To take away transgression, and rule in equity.
He comes with succour speedy, to those who suffer wrong;
To help the poor and needy, and bid the weak be strong;
To give them songs for sighing, their darkness turn to light,
Whose souls, condemned and dying, were precious in His sight.
He shall come down like showers upon the fruitful earth;
Love, joy, and hope like flowers, spring in His path to birth;
Before Him on the mountains shall peace the herald go;
And righteousness, in fountains, from hill to valley flow.
To Him shall prayer unceasing and daily vows ascend;
His kingdom still increasing, a kingdom without end;
The tide of time shall never His covenant remove;
His name shall stand forever, His name to us is Love.
–by James Montgomery, 1821
14Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:
15“Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion.
Look, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
“With us, the ass is lowly and despised; but in the East it was a noble creature. A king came riding upon a horse when he was bent on war; he came riding upon an ass when he was coming in peace.”
16His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.
17So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify. 18It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him. 19The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!”
For God so loved THE WORLD . . .
Some Greeks Wish to See Jesus
“We would see Jesus.” What a wonderful thought for pastors as they step into their pulpits. And what a wonderful thought for each of us as we live our lives in front of our families, our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends.
20Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
23Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Do you remember? Jesus previously said that the time was not ready (John 2:4 and 7:6). And the fact that His hour had not yet come had delivered Him from violence before (John 7:30, 8:20). Now that the hour has come, it is time for Jesus to make the final sacrifice.
24Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
Jesus came to the Jews with a new view of life. They looked on glory as conquest, the acquisition of power, the right to rule. He looked on it as a cross. He taught men that only by death comes life; that only by spending life do we retain it; that only by service comes greatness. And when we come to think of it, Christ’s paradox is nothing other than truth.
Jesus Speaks about His Death
27“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name.”
“Thy will be done.” Sometimes those are hard words to say. Yet — if we believe that God is who he says he is, that he is infinitely loving and willing to sacrifice his own Son for our sakes — these words are the easiest words to say. Joyfully I tell you again, God is for you! He loves you! You can trust him!
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”
30Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.
34The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”
The people had been taught the passages from “the law” (the Old Testament) which speak of the triumph of the Messiah. They were seemingly unaware of the passages that speak of His suffering (such as Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53). This crowd who waved palm branches with such enthusiasm thought they were welcoming a Messiah who would set up a political, earthly kingdom. They didn’t want to consider His sacrificial death. It didn’t fit in with their idea of what a Messiah should be.
35Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. 36While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.” After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.
“Today is the day of salvation,” Scripture says several times. Do not delay your faithfulness, your obedience, your service to the Lord!
HERE is “We Would See Jesus,” as a piano solo by Michael Gayle.
1. We would see Jesus; lo! his star is shining
above the stable while the angels sing;
There in a manger on the hay reclining;
haste, let us lay our gifts before the King.
2. We would see Jesus, Mary’s son most holy,
light of the village life from day to day;
shining revealed through every task most lowly,
the Christ of God, the life, the truth, the way.
3. We would see Jesus, on the mountain teaching,
with all the listening people gathered round;
while birds and flowers and sky above are preaching
the blessedness which simple trust has found.
4. We would see Jesus, in his work of healing,
at eventide before the sun was set;
divine and human, in his deep revealing
of God made flesh, in loving service met.
5. We would see Jesus, in the early morning,
still as of old he calleth, “Follow me!”
Let us arise, all meaner service scorning;
Lord, we are thine, we give ourselves to thee.
1) “The world has gone after him!” the Pharisees complain (verse 19). Why do you think the common people responded so enthusiastically to Jesus? Why were the Jewish leaders so negative? And — What draws you to Jesus?
2) As you are thinking about the world following after Jesus, consider this:
The countries with the greatest rate of evangelical Christian growth are Iran and Afghanistan. Isn’t it amazing that we hear so much about the military conflicts in these two countries but rarely have insight into the victories being won on the spiritual battlefield?
Iran has a population in excess of 75 million with an annual growth rate of 1.19%. There are slightly fewer than 118,000 Evangelicals in Iran, representing 0.2% of the total population of the Islamic Republic. However, the openness of the people is evidenced by a growth rate of 19.6% for the Evangelical population. Iranian young people are particularly responsive to the Gospel. Two-thirds of the population is 30-years-old or younger, and much of the underground church is made up of this younger generation.
The Evangelical population in Afghanistan is growing at a rate of 16.7%, more than four times the overall annual population growth of 3.51%. Evangelicals number about 8,500 out of a total population of more than 29 million.
Nepal, with a population close to Afghanistan’s, is listed 27th among the Top 40 fastest growing Evangelical sectors. There are close to 801,000 Evangelicals in Nepal, nearly 10 times the number in Afghanistan. The rate of growth among Evangelicals in Nepal is 5.3%. Because Christians are not allowed to proselytize, pray for perseverance for believers to continue their courageous evangelism.
3) How can we do as Jesus says in verse 25 and “hate” our lives? See Hebrews 11:13-16 for one idea . . .
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.