Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” (John 12:13)
Jesus came to this world not to be served, but to serve. He laid out himself as Lamb of God, and became the ultimate sacrifice for all to forgive all our sins and transgressions so that we can be saved from the eternal death. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
Throughout three years’ of His ministry, Jesus continuously ministered those who were poor in spirit, and mourned, hungered and thirsted for justice, and were persecuted. He comforted, encouraged and satisfied them with His mercy, love and righteousness. They tasted Jesus’ mercy and love, and saw the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Jesus was truly compassionate to those who were suffering. One time, Jesus even wept when He came back and saw again Martha, Mary, who were Nazarus’ sisters and His friend. They were mourning for Nazarus’ death with those who were close to Nazarus. Jesus saw the deep sorrows of the people. Out of His deep compassion, Jesus told to roll the tomb stone blocked the Nazarus’ tomb. Then He called Nazarus out of the tomb with His authority and power. Even death could not hold of Nazarus anymore. Nazarus was released from his death, and he walked out of the tomb. Martha and Mary were greatly comforted along with others around them. All praised God for His mercy and comfort given to them.
However, the religious leaders were troubled by Jesus, because He raised Nazarus from the dead. They plotted to kill Jesus, but they were also very cautious. It was almost time for the Jewish Passover celebration, and many people from all over the country arrived in Jerusalem several days early so they could go through the purification ceremony before Passover began. Passover was a very important day. All Jews celebrated Passover as a commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in ancient Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses in God. The religious leaders were continuously searching for an opportunity to arrest Jesus.
Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
When all the peopled heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted theme and believed in Jesus.
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,
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD!
Hail to the King of Israel!” (John 12:13b)
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.” (John 12:15)
Jesus was the humble King, who rode a donkey, not a horse to Jerusalem, the place where He would be sacrificed. The people welcomed Jesus as He was making a triumphant entry, but nobody knew the true meaning of His entry to Jerusalem. The religious leaders were fully prepared to arrest Jesus and kill Him. Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”
Of course, Caiaphas did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation. And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world. Again the religious leaders did not know Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb of God for all.
On the contrary, the people in Jerusalem were in joy with Jesus. Many of them had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it. That was another reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign. Then the crowd believed finally they had their own messiah whom they waited for long time. They believed Jesus was the one who would save them from their oppression from the Roman occupation of their country.
Some came to Jesus and asked about Him. Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.” (John 12:23-26)
Jesus foretold His death for the lost like a kernel of wheat that dies when it was planted in the soil. However, when one kernel of wheat died, it would produce many new kennels – a plentiful harvest of new lives. Jesus was ready to give His life as ransom for many to produce countlessly many new lives – we are the very fruit of His sacrifice on the cross.
Then Jesus told not to love their life of this world because our earthly joy and pleasures are deceiving. We feel we live forever when everything goes well with us, but it passes away without trace. Often our live is filled with sorrows and pains. Additionally, none of us could hold our life on earth forever although we might want to have forever. Our love for the life on earth ends, and our earthly life perishes without an exception when the time comes. Jesus asked us to follow Him. The One who came to this world to serve and give Himself as ransom for many to forgive sins and save souls by offering His own blood as the ultimate sacrificial to God. Today Jesus wants for us to Him by serving and loving others. By doing this, our Heavenly Father’s name will be glorified, and God will be pleased. He will honor us, who are faithful follows of Jesus’ footsteps.
Of course, following Jesus is not easy. Even Jesus said,
“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.” (John 12:27-28a)
Jesus’ soul was deeply troubled before the cross. Jesus prayed while focusing on His purpose on earth – being a sacrificial lamb to forgive our sins, and save His children from the eternal death. Only through Him, we become His Eternal children of God. This is the glory of God, and the very reason why Jesus came to this world. Jesus was absolutely obedient to God. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross!
God, Our Father, could not be silent. Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” (John 12:28b-29) God was with Jesus, and Jesus with God. This is our comfort and assurance. The God, who was with Jesus when Jesus was deeply troubled, is with us when we are deeply troubled. This is the promise of God and His love toward us. Yes, God is always with us, especially when we are in life pain and troubles.
Jesus made the triumphant entry to Jerusalem, not to be served as a king, but to serve and give Himself as ransom for all who believe Him as savior. The walk to the cross was not easy even for Jesus. Jesus was deeply troubled. Even so, He was completely obedient to death on cross – the most gruesome death for us. This very act of Jesus glorified God, Our Father, and God honored Him.
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)