The Triumphal Entry: John 12:12-19
“The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted, ‘Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel!’ Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said: ‘Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem. Look, your King is coming, riding on a donkey’s colt.’ His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him. Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others[j] about it. That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign. Then the Pharisees said to each other, ‘There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!’” (John 12:12-19 NLT).
This is the beginning of a very busy week for our Lord:
•He will cleanse the Temple, saying, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves” (Luke 19:45,46).
•His authority is questioned by the religious leaders, “By what authority are You doing all these things? Who gave You the right?” (Luke 20:2).
•The Herodians will question Him about paying taxes to Caesar, ”Now tell us—is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” He saw through their trickery and said, “Show me a Roman coin. Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied. ‘Well then,’ He said, ‘give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God’” (Luke 20:22-25).
•The Sadducees question Him about the resurrection, “Then Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead” (Luke 20:27).
•He challenges the scribes, “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished” (Luke 20:46,47).
•He teaches on the widow’s mite, “While Jesus was in the Temple, He watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. ‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus said, ‘this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them’” (Luke 21:1-3).
•He gives signs of His second coming and challenges them to watch, Luke 21:8-38.
•Judas agrees to betray Him, Luke 22:1-6.
•Preparation for the Passover, (Room secured, lamb slaughtered, other elements: wine, unleavened bread, bitter herbs).
•He and His disciples celebrate the Passover in the upper room (Luke 22:14-23).
Yesterday was a good day for Jesus.
He is in Bethany with His friends, Mary and Martha. Mary anoints Him with a very expensive oil. Judas complains about the cost, and we know why: “Now he (Judas) said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it” (John 12:6). Jesus says to Judas, ‘Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial’” (John 12:7).
Today, Palm Sunday is another good day.
He is honored and praised as the people lay palm fronds and garments in His path and shout “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!” (John 12:12).
Palm Sunday was originally “Lamb selection day,” the day when Jewish families chose the lamb with which they will celebrate Passover. The Feast of Passover began when God’s people were still in bondage in Egypt (Exodus 12).
Early Sunday morning, Jesus and His entourage are walking to Jerusalem, He stops for a moment then sends two of His disciples into a nearby village to carry out a special assignment. Luke records this event, “After telling this story, Jesus went on toward Jerusalem, walking ahead of His disciples. As He came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, He sent two disciples ahead. ‘Go into that village over there,’ He told them. ‘As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying that colt?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it’” (Luke 19:28-31).
Jesus knew what He would face in Jerusalem, so humanly speaking, this decision must have been one of His most difficult decisions, and to ride into the city on a donkey colt, again, humanly speaking would have been an even more difficult decision, because riding into the city on a colt was a public declaration that He was King. Zechariah wrote about this five-hundred years earlier, “Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your King is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet He is humble, riding on a donkey…” (Zechariah 9:9).
So, we are looking at a most unusual parade. Since it is Passover, it is estimated that 100,000 to 200,000 people were in Jerusalem on this day. The parade was a simple man-on-a-donkey parade. Great crowds lined the streets, which was covered with garments and palm branches.
As Jesus viewed His audience he must have seen, many who loved Him, those whom He had healed were surely there. I’m pretty sure Zacchaeus, who has paid his debt to society, and has made his peace with God was there. The lepers, whom He had cleansed were there to praise the Man who changed their lives. Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter and the son of the widow of Nain were there to thank Him for just being alive. Mary Magdalene was there, she had much for which to praise Him. Mary and Martha were most likely shouting the loudest praise for raising their brother Lazarus. Peter was there, probably walking with his hand on his sword, just in case something went wrong. Then there was Thomas, a bit skeptical about all the hoopla, wondering what was going to happen next. Andrew, the one who was always bringing people to Jesus may have been a bit overwhelmed by the multitudes, just look at all of the people coming to see Jesus. Probably many of those whom Jesus had fed were there. How about James and John, perhaps thinking about whom Jesus would choose to sit on His right hand in a position of authority.
And His detractors were there: The Sadducees and Pharisees were there, keepers of the Law, inept spiritual leaders. Jesus had gained so much popularity they were threatened, so, full of jealousy they watched Him. Judas was there, probably thinking how the coffers were going to overflow with money. The Romans were there, fearing revolt and watching for any sign of rebellion against Rome. They were ready to crush any uprising. Pontius Pilate was there, wondering how this was going to effect his government.
They were all there that Sunday morning in Jerusalem, loving faces, faces filled with hatred, curious faces, sinister faces, anxious Apostles faces… They were all there that Palm Sunday morning.
The King is on the way to His coronation. Jesus tells us in John 12:23, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory.”
His glorification can only be achieved by His death on the cross. He is the sacrificial Lamb. “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29). For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God”(1 Peter 1:18,19).
His glorification will show His true identity. “Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges. He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being, When He appeared in human form, He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:6-11).
He left the splendor of heaven knowing His destiny
Was the lonely hill of Golgatha, there to lay down His life for me.
If that isn't love the ocean is dry,
There's no stars in the sky and the sparrow can't fly.
If that isn't love then heaven's a myth,
There's no feeling like this if that isn't love.
“Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up, O ancient doors, That the King of Glory may come in! Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle” (Psalm 24:7,8).
His glorification guarantees our future glorification, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one” (John 18:20-22). “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:30). “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later” (Romans 8:18).
This glory is still ours today! The glory of God that guided the children of Israel by cloud and by fire, the same glory of God that lit the Tabernacle and the Temple, and sat as cloven tongues of fire on the disciples of Pentecost, is still ours! “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). “He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:14). “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified” (1 Peter 4:14). “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20,21).
What does Palm Sunday mean to us today?
Jesus is the Messiah.
Imagine! The King of kings, God in the flesh, came riding into Jerusalem, meekly sitting on the lowly colt of a donkey, just as God's Prophet, Zechariah, had predicted over five-hundred years earlier! And not only did Jesus fulfill this part of the prophecy, but the multitudes of Jerusalem who “rejoiced greatly” and “shouted praises” to Him as He entered the city were further proof of that! Jesus of Nazareth was the “King” of whom Zechariah had prophesied! The King of Kings and Lord of Lords entered Jerusalem that day, announcing that He is Messiah. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John1:14). “I and [my] Father are one” (John 10:30). “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).
What the people proclaimed about Jesus on that first Palm Sunday, I now proclaim to you. Jesus is the King, the Messiah, the Christ. He is the Lord and Savior.
How do I make Jesus MY Lord?
The word, “Lord, in Greek,” “kyrios-kyria.” It means “Master, owner, the one who has absolute authority, to have dominion over, to rule, to conquer.” Is Jesus Your Lord? Does He have absolute authority? Does He own you?
First, you cannot make Him Lord, God has already done that, “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!” (Acts 2:36). How then? “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:7,8). “Submit” in Greek is, Hypotasso: “To arrange under, to subordinate; to subject; to put in subjection; to subject one's self; obey; to submit to one's control; to yield to one's admonition or advice; be subject.” (Thayer’s Greek Concordance). So Lordship is putting myself under another’s authority. “Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?” (Hebrews 12:9).
As believers, salvation comes with a command, “Follow Me” is not a call for volunteers: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). So when we accept Christ as Savior and Lord, we can only accept Him as He is, He is Lord, Master, Owner, Ruler, Conqueror. I am only His humble bondservant! A “bondservant” is a slave. The word is the Greek word doulos, which means “one who is subservient to, and entirely at the disposal of, his master; a slave.”
Halleluiah, Praise the Lord! God lives in the midst of the praises of His people. Psalm 22:3, “You are holy! Who inhabits the praises of Israel.” One translation reads, “You are enthroned upon the praises of Your people.” Every time we praise Him we put Him on the throne of our lives. Psalm 149:1, “Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise in the congregation of saints.”
•1 Chronicles 16:23-31, “Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and gladness are in His place. Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples, give to the Lord glory and strength. Give to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth. The world also is firmly established, it shall not be moved. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
•Psalm 150, “Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!”
He is Lord, He is Lord!
He is risen from the dead, and he is Lord!
Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord!
He is King, he is King!
He will draw all nations to him, he is King;
and the time shall be when the world shall sing
that Jesus Christ is King!
Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The King James Version (KJV); and The Message (MSG);
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