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Jesus: The Messiah

John 12:12-16 

On the next day the great multitude who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, [13] took the branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet Him, and began to cry out, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel." [14] And Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, [15] "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey's colt." [16] These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.

On this day, Jesus entered Jerusalem announcing that He was the promised Messiah as Nathaniel had declared in John 1:49 when he said, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel." This was his only public declaration of His messiahship. By riding in on a donkey colt, he did two things. First he fulfilled the prophesy of Zech. 9:9 that says: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey." It also showed that he was coming in peace, not war. Whenever a King rode a donkey, his intentions were peaceful, but if he came in on a horse, it wasn't. Remember that Jesus will return one day, and when He does, He will not be riding a donkey, He will be riding a white horse. John would later write, "And I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him; and he went out conquering, and to conquer." (Rev. 6:2 NASB) 

But this time, His intentions were peaceful. In the crowd that day was three different groups of people. The first group was the Passover Pilgrims mentioned in John 12:12. The second group was those who witnessed him raise Jesus from the dead in Bethany. They are mentioned in John 12:17, "And so the multitude who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb, and raised him from the dead, were bearing Him witness. The third group was the religious leaders that lamented Jesus' popularity in John 12:19 " The Pharisees therefore said to one another, 'You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him.'"

To the first group, Jesus' action was a novelty-it certainly was something they could talk about on the long journey home. To the second group, Jesus' action was a victory. I'm sure they led the multitude to grab the Palm Branches and cry out Hosanna-Save us Now! To the third group, Jesus' actions were a threat. It took deliberate courage for Jesus to even enter Jerusalem that day, much less become the leader of a spectacle. John 11:57 says, "But the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone found out where Jesus was, he should report it so that they might arrest him." The religious leaders put a warrant out for His arrest, and now, he rode right into their midst.

By extending Palm Branches in Jesus' path, the crowd was accepting Jesus as a triumphal Messiah. I'm sure the imagery wasn't lost on the religious leaders. They knew what Jesus was saying by his actions, and they knew what the crowd was saying by their actions. That's why they mumbled in verse 19lamenting Jesus' popularity.

This will not be the last time that Jesus is greeted as a conquering hero. Rev. 7:9 says, "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;"

The citizens spread out "the red carpet" for Him--they placed garments and palm branches in His path, and they greeted Him as their King. Listen again to their words, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!" 

Hosanna is an exclamation of praise that literally means, "save us." When the crowd said, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord;" they quoted a Messianic Psalm, Psalm 118:25-26 that said, "O Lord, do save, we beseech Thee; O Lord, we beseech Thee, do send prosperity! [26] Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord; We have blessed you from the house of the Lord."

Boldly, Jesus accepted the praise of the crowd, but the glory would not be long lived. The religious leaders would let Him "have His day" but soon, they would rally the crowd against Jesus and they would cry for his blood.

Jesus didn't try to pacify anyone. Soon after he rode into town, he went to the temple and cleansed His house. No self-preservation here-He was on a mission.

When some Gentiles sought Jesus out, He explained His mission to them. In John 12:23-32 Jesus said, "'The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. [24] Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. [25] He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal. [26] If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. 

[27] Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. [28] Father, glorify Thy name.' There came therefore a voice out of heaven: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." [29] The multitude therefore, who stood by and heard it, were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, 'An angel has spoken to Him.' [30] Jesus answered and said, 'This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. [31] Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out. [32] And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.'"

And that's exactly what happened. The religious leaders thought they had rid themselves of Jesus when the Romansoldiers took his limp body from the cross. But they hadn't. Three days later he burst through the tomb, holding the keys to death, hell and the grave in his hands. Not to spite his enemies, but to provide a way for their salvation.

Today, you can know the King of Kings and Lord of Lords yourself. Romans 10:9 says, "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;"

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