12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”
Those who had witnessed Jesus’ final sign continue to affect the story. They have believed in him and they become the fuel to the glory that he receives from the adoring crowd. In the other gospels it is not clear why such a loud crowd gathers to welcome the celebrity from Galilee. Now we see that Jesus is riding like a king into the city. Yet he is not in a Roman triumph or a war-like assault. Jesus’ entry into his glory is humble and contrary to what a king will usually perform. His throne will be contrary to the norm, too. When he is enthroned on the cross and raised to full glory, he will be in excruciating pain, asphyxiated and bleeding to death.
The signs of Jesus point to the deeper purposes behind his humble actions. As he empties himself for the people and opens the door to new life, the signs point to his purposes. Now that we have transitioned in John from the Book of Signs to the Book of Glory, we see how the two fit together as a whole.
The signs of Jesus give us understanding as to the true nature of his kingship. Are we willing to welcome him and follow him in his glory. His path of glory is one of humility, torture and death. Are we willing to accept the death that he brings so that we may ironically experience the new life Jesus offers?
May we honour you because of the testimony of scripture that tells us who you are. May we sing with rejoicing that our king has come. May we worship you as you are glorified through the cross. May we walk with gratitude the new life that you have purchased.
- How is Jesus received in Jerusalem?
- How does Lazarus’ story play into the triumphal entry?
- Why is a prophecy inserted into the text?
- Who do the seven signs of Jesus (John 2-11) tell you Jesus is?
- How do you respond to Jesus approaching you with humility and setting himself up as king?