Day 25 - Wednesday, April 1 King Jesus DAILY READING - Jn 12:12-36 A great crowd gathered and went out to Jesus shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!” The text does not tell us who is in the crowd. But, “crowd” consists of many people. At this point, Jesus had notoriety. Many people witnessed his miracles and more had heard of them. People wanted to see the man who raised Lazarus from the dead. What does the presence of the “crowd” tell us about the movement of belief in Jesus as Messiah? A significant number of people believe Jesus is the Messiah. The crowd picked up palm branches and went out to meet Jesus as he was entering Jerusalem. I’ve always wondered what was significant about the palm branches. Have you? Palm branches were a national symbol of victory. When Syrian forces were driven out of Jerusalem, the people waved palm branches (Carson, 432). When the temple was rebuilt and rededicated, the people waved palm branches in celebration (Carson, 432). Palms were placed on Judean coinage as a way to recognize independence from Rome (Carson, 432). By waving palm branches, the crowd confirmed Jesus as victor and liberator. Read Psalm 118. Psalm 118 was significant in the life of the Jews. It was sung at the Feast of Tabernacles, Feast of Dedication, and with Passover. This Psalm would be at the forefront of their minds as they prepare for Passover. What is significant about Psalm 118 and the life of Jesus? The crowd recognizes that the Lord is with them. They affirm that the Lord is the long-awaited Messiah. Compare Psalm 118:25-26 with John 12:13. What do you think the crowd is saying? Compare Psalm 118:25-36 and John 12:13 with Luke 19:38. What are the differences? How do all of the accounts weave together in affirmation of who they now understand Jesus to be? The crowd affirms that Jesus is the long-awaited King of Israel who was sent by the Lord. The Jews expected the Messiah to come as a king. Many Jews couldn’t see that Jesus, from the line of David, was that King. Jesus wasn’t an earthly monarch of the Jews. He was unexpected. The people in the crowd finally acknowledge that Jesus is the awaited king of Israel sent by the Lord. What does it mean that Jesus is King of Israel? What does it mean for us today that Jesus is King? Well, you have to figure that the Pharisees were not happy about this parade. Jesus had a substantial following. The Pharisees were frustrated. They’d tried to capture Jesus and jail him. They’d reported Jesus to the Sanhedrin. Nothing curtailed Jesus’ popularity. To them it felt like “the whole world” had started to follow him. Jesus knows “the hour has finally come”. What does Jesus mean when He says “the hour has finally come”? Read verses 23-27 closely. 1- What must happen for a kernel to produce many seeds? 2- How does death, then, produce more life? 3- Why does Jesus tell us that we must hate this life in this world? 4- What does it mean to you to hate life in this world? Life in this world is temporal. Nothing temporary brings the abundant life Jesus desires for us. We are meant to be uncomfortable in this temporal world because we are eternal beings. We are meant to look forward, in hope, to eternal life while we remain in this world. We die to the earthly desires that do not bring the deep joy God intends for us. Material treasures may bring comfort, they do not bring deep joy. Comfort and happiness are temporary. Joy is eternal. Jesus is the only deep and abiding joy. Death to the material world brings abundant life in Christ. What material things do you rely on for comfort or happiness? In your experience, how does the temporal nature of material things limit happiness? Reflect on the nature of happiness versus the nature of joy.