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JOHN - The Light Shines in the Darkness
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to John
PART 3 - Light Shines in the Circle of the Apostles (John 11:55 - 17:26)
A - Prelude to Holy Week (John 11:55 - 12:50)

2. Jesus enters Jerusalem (John 12:9–19)

JOHN 12:9-11
9 A large crowd therefore of the Jews learned that he was there, and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests conspired to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.

The capital grew turbulent at the news that Jesus had visited Lazarus. The crowds hurried from Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives and Bethany to witness the miracle of life-giving.

High Priests leaned towards the Sadducees, even though the latter did not believe in the resurrection, nor in the existence of spirits. Yet they hated Jesus and Lazarus, to the extent that they not only rejected the miracle, but wished to kill the miracle worker, and put both into the grave, to prove that there is no hope after death. At the same time, they wished to demolish all faith in Jesus’ movement, since the crowds deemed the raising of Lazarus proof that Jesus was the true Messiah.

JOHN 12:12-13
12 On the next day a great multitude had come to the feast. When they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 they took the branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet him, and cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!”

Jesus’ name was on every tongue, and they speculated what he might do, "Will he flee or capture the city?" After staying a night in Bethany, the observers saw him in the morning with his disciples moving towards Jerusalem, "The new King approaches, the divine Sovereign comes." Many people rose to see further miracles and victories. Some cut down palm branches and carried them to welcome him. Others sang hymns that celebrated the entry of kings and heroes. They called out with loud cheers, "We praise and magnify you. You are omnipotent; you have come in the name of the Lord, filled with his authority. We thank you for the blessings you bring. Help us and save us from all shame. You are our Savior, hero and leader. You are our true King."

JOHN 12:14-16
14 Jesus, having found a young donkey, sat on it. As it is written, 15 “Don’t be afraid, daughter of Zion. Behold, your King comes, sitting on a donkey’s colt.” 16 His disciples didn’t understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about him, and that they had done these things to him.

Jesus did not respond to this applause, because he knew that people, when tumultuous, cannot hear or think clearly, but jostle in lanes and pathways shouting and cheering. So Jesus spoke to them visually, riding a donkey in response to their choirs, as if to say, "I am the King promised in Zechariah 9:9. Fear not but exult. I do not break down the walls and gates of cities. I do not kill or carry out God’s judgment. I am just, with no favoritism; showing justice to orphans and caring for widows."

"Sadly, not all men are just. Most are unfair, diverging from the straight path. Fear not, I will not destroy you as you deserve, but will defeat evil in you. I will bear your sin in my body, a victor, yet at the same time appearing a weak and defeated victim. Thus I will rescue you from God’s wrath; he came out victorious in the spiritual war."

"You desire a hero-king conquering by the sword, but I come to you humble as a lamb, without violence. I surrendered my will to my Father. You expected a revolt and a victory, but I offer you reconciling, salvation and peace with God. Look at the beast I ride. I do not ride a horse, or a camel, but a donkey. Do not expect riches or honor from me, for I come with eternal life, and open heaven’s gates for you, reconciling the penitent with God."

But the crowd, including the disciples, failed to understand Jesus’ purpose with this acted parable. After his ascension, the Holy Spirit opened their minds to realize Christ’s meekness and God’s glory in him. This was totally different from men’s aspirations, both political and material. But the Holy Spirit led Christ’s followers to cheer and rejoice at his appearance, before they realized the meaning of the prophecy and its literal fulfillment.

JOHN 12:17-19
17 The multitude therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb, and raised him from the dead, was testifying about it. 18 For this cause also the multitude went and met him, because they heard that he had done this sign. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “See how you accomplish nothing. Behold, the world has gone after him.”

Those who accompanied Jesus from Bethany met the procession coming from the capital to welcome him in the Kidron valley. The former cried out, "You do well to receive him, because Jesus is the Messiah, who raised a dead man proving his Messiahship." The raising of Lazarus was the basis of illumination for the crowds to follow Jesus for feeding the five thousand with five loaves. Here then are other crowds coming to him because he had raised a dead man. In both instances men’s love for Jesus rested on earthly matters, not on righteousness and repentance.

Beside the cheering crowds stood the Pharisees and the leaders of the people angry, envying Jesus, waiting for him to invade the city. They trembled and admitted their failure. The plan to deliver Jesus secretly to them did not materialize. He entered the city riding in a victory procession.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I open my heart and mind to you, to enter by your Holy Spirit and change me to conform to your image. Pardon my sins, for I am unworthy for your entry into my heart. But you come in despite my sins. You love and save me, because you have reconciled me to God, and brought me into the Kingdom of your peace. I shout with all who cheer, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." You are my King, I am your possession. Amen.


  1. What does Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem signify?


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