The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the Fellowship of
the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
John 12:12 On the next day the large crowd 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 shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is
He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.” 14 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. 17 So the people, who were with Him when He called
Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify about
Him. 18 For this reason also the people went and met Him, because they heard
that He had performed this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You
see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him.”
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to
worship at the feast; 21 these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of
Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip
came and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip *came and *told Jesus. 23 And Jesus
*answered them, saying, “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 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 will keep it to life eternal. 26 If anyone
serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; 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 Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it,
and will glorify it again.” 29 So the crowd of people 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
will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to
Myself.” 33 But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He
was to die. 34 The crowd then answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law
that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man
must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “For a
little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that
darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know
where he goes. 36 While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you
may become sons of Light.” These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and
hid Himself from them. 37 But though He had performed so many signs before
them, yet they were not believing in Him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of
Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to
whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this reason they could
not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and He
hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with
their heart, and be converted and I heal them.” 41 These things Isaiah said
because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. 42 Nevertheless many even of
the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not
confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for
they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. (NASB)
When it comes to the assigned readings for Palm Sunday, the accounts
given to us in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke are more common. John’s
account is a little less frequent and by modern sensitivities less Palm Sunday like,
Now each Gospel provides us with the same basic set of details of Jesus’s
entry into Jerusalem and each includes different elements in order to show their
respective audiences something important to their original readers. The Gospel of
John tells us of not only the great crowd and the palm branches and all the rest that
has come to be associated with Palm Sunday, the Gospel of John records a number
of conversations Jesus had along the way.
In the Gospel of St. Luke we read, “the whole crowd of the disciples began
to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had
seen.” The implication in the way St. Luke wrote about the crowd is that the
crowd was following Jesus because of the miracles He had been doing. They
welcomed Jesus because they thought there was something in it for them. They
thought they would soon be on easy street.
John tells us that there were “people, who were with Him when He called
Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, [and they] continued to
testify about Him. 18 For this reason also the people went and met Him,
because they heard that He had performed this sign.”
These folks showed up along the side of the road because of a very specific
miracle. Jesus had brought back to life a man who had been dead four days. These
people thought that their along awaited King had finally arrived. They were
rejoicing over the great reversal from death to life. They rejoiced because the
Messiah had come. These folks were perhaps a little less selfish and more sincere
in their faith.
Whether selfish or sincere the two groups had something in common. No
one in either group could have imagined that Jesus the miracle worker, the
promised Messiah, Jesus the Nazarene who had power over death would Himself
end up dead, sealed in a tomb, and seemingly unable to perform a miracle that
could save Him from crucifixion.
As these two groups celebrated Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem, a third group
was not celebrating. The Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are not
doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him.” For three years the
Pharisees and other religious leaders had tried to discredit Jesus. Every attempt to
discredit and separate Jesus from His disciples and the throngs of people who
sought to be with Him had failed. It was time for desperate measures. Otherwise
they might lose their little kingdom.
Of the three groups, the only group that had any idea about what might
happen during this Passover Feast was this third group, the religious leaders. They
wanted Jesus dead and were in the process of making that happen. This time they
had an ace in the hole – Judas.
But as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday, no one except
Jesus saw exactly how the week would end. Some thought the parade was a
precursor to the coming of new kingdom ruled by Jesus as the new King of Israel
seated in Jerusalem. No one thought of the parade as the prophesied procession
leading to Mt. Calvary for the purpose of making atonement for the sins of the
It didn’t make a difference whether they were crying out “hosanna” for the
right reasons or the wrong ones, everyone along that route was left in shock and
disbelief six days later. They all looked at the arrest, trial, beating, mockery, and
crucifixion as a shameful defeat. And many would have seen Jesus as yet another
Jesus knew what was going to happen. Even on Palm Sunday He was
teaching His disciples that He was going to Jerusalem to die but would rise from
the dead. “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
alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.’” Jesus just told them what was going to
happen. His death. His resurrection. Our deaths and our resurrection.
His disciples only heard one phrase. “The hour has come.” From the
wedding at Cana when He told His mother that His hour had not yet come, until
Palm Sunday, they had heard Jesus say time and again that Jesus’s hour had not
yet come. Now, for the first time they hear Jesus telling them that the “hour is now
here” and that this hour is the hour in which God the Father is going to glorify
God the Son.
That was reason all those people lined the road in the first place. They sang
Hosanna because they thought Jesus’s glory was waiting for Him on the throne in
Jerusalem. They thought that Jesus was about to be crowned as royalty and be
adorned with the kind of glory one would expect of the world’s greatest King.
But Jesus’s glory consisted of false charges, beatings, mockery, crucifixion,
and resurrection. Jesus knows what manner of death He is going to die and He
agonizes over it. 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.’”
There it is right here in verse 27.
This verse should teach every Christian and every pastor, minister, worship
leader, and the like the purpose for the incarnation of the Second Person of the
He did not come to be a moral example. He did not come to be a spiritual
coach. He did not come to entertain. He did not come so His followers could rock
out and get a spiritual high. He did not come into the world to show people how to
be good by doing good deeds.
All those parables, stories, and teachings are to be understood in light of this
one and single purpose. He told all those stories and taught all those doctrines so
that we would believe that He was and is the Son of God, the Christ Who came
into the world to die for our sins and be raised on account of our justification.
Not only was Jesus teaching them about what was going to happen, God the
Father also weighed in.
That is how important this moment was. God the Father spoke at Jesus’s
baptism. He spoke to the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration when Moses
and Elijah talked with Jesus about how He was going to die. God the Father
speaks here as Jesus is about to enter Jerusalem for the last God ordained
“Then a voice came out of heaven: ‘I have both glorified it, and will
glorify it again.’ 29 So the crowd of people 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
It’s all right here on Palm Sunday. Jesus even tells them exactly how it is
that He is going to die. 32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all
men to Myself.” 33 But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by
which He was to die.”
Jesus is being pretty clear about what is going to happen and why it is going
to happen. Now some were beginning to understand. But they didn’t like what
they were hearing. Just like Peter didn’t like it and earned the rebuke “Get behind
Me Satan.” Dying doesn’t fit with what they think the Messiah ought to be doing
on this trip the Jerusalem.
The crowd was confused and they beginning to argue with each other over
what they heard and what Jesus was telling them. In short Jesus just did it again.
He took a perfectly good party and parade and turned it into an occasion to argue
over religion and doctrine.
34 The crowd then answered Him, ‘We have heard out of the Law that
the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be
lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” The Messiah isn’t suppose to die. That’s the
Messiah they want.
Jesus gives it another try. 41 “These things Isaiah said because he saw His
glory, and he spoke of Him.” Isaiah saw what the real glory of the Christ was.
The glory of Christ is the whole package. Isaiah saw that His glory consisted of
the Christ’s perfect life, death, and resurrection.
From the very beginning, Christians and the visible Christian Church has
been so corrupted with theologies of glory. We don’t like the kind of Messiah that
puts us at odds over doctrine. We don’t like a Christian faith that requires
suffering, that doesn’t answer our questions as clearly as we’d like. We want
mysteries to be solved and we want positive results when we are put to the test.
But “being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by
becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore also
God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every
As we enter into Holy Week today, Jesus comes to us. He comes humbly
as He did two thousand years ago. He does not ride into town on a donkey to the
cheers and songs of great multitudes. In American that crowd has thin
significantly over the past 40 years.
Yet, Christ still comes to us cloaked in the humility of the Word of Holy
Scripture. He comes in His preached Word. On this Palm Sunday, Jesus comes the
bread/body and the blood/wine.
He comes to us with the very same mission and the very same goal with
which He rode into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday, to save us from our sins.
Christ comes to give to us the benefits of His death on the cross. Christ comes as
the one who has risen from the dead. This week we ride with Him into Jerusalem
and hang with Him on the cross on Good Friday.
May the Peace that surpasses all understanding keep your heart and mind in Christ
Jesus our Lord. Amen.
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the Fellowship of