John 12:12-15

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 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!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”

This is an amazing story about Jesus, the King of Kings, entering Jerusalem, to great praise and acclaim, but seated on a donkey!

In ancient times, kings and conquerors would enter cities triumphantly on horses, which were symbols of war and power. In sharp contrast, Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, a humble beast of burden. It symbolized his peaceful mission, but more than that, it heralded a different kind of kingdom — one that challenged the existing order not through force, but through love, humility, and sacrifice.

This was also a fulfilment of Zechariah's prophecy about Jesus coming seated on a donkey’s colt, confirming his messianic identity. Zechariah’s words, "Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming," also offers words of comfort. In a world where political and social turmoil was the norm, Jesus' entry was a sign of divine assurance.

The crowds shout "Hosanna," which means "save, please.” It reveals their expectation of Jesus as a political savior who would liberate them from Roman oppression. This misinterpretation of Jesus' mission is an important element. It highlights the frequent disconnect between human expectations and God’s plan. There is a lesson in this about the dangers of projecting our desires and hopes onto God, instead of seeking to understand and align with his will.

The use of palm branches by the crowd is also deeply symbolic. In Jewish tradition, palm branches were associated with victory and triumph. Their use here signifies the crowd's anticipation of Jesus' victorious reign, yet ironically foreshadows his impending suffering and death. It makes us reflect on the nature of true victory in the Christian faith. It is achieved not through dominance and power, but through sacrifice and love.

Finally, this passage also invites us to reflect on the concept of recognition. The crowd recognizes Jesus as "the king of Israel," but their recognition is limited to their understanding of kingship. This moment, therefore, becomes a call for a deeper, more profound recognition of Jesus' identity and mission - an invitation that extends to all of us to continually seek a fuller understanding of who Jesus is.

God bless you.

More in this category: « John 12:9-11 John 12:16-19 »
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