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Entry Into Jerusalem

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

People gather to line the streets as a King enters Jerusalem. Exclaiming His praises, they rush out to greet Him. People had heard rumors of Him. Was this the One spoken of by their ancestors?

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Though, not everyone welcomed Him. Some in power saw the crowds following after Him, and they feared losing their position of status, authority, and power. A plot was underway to take His life.

John invites us to come out to the street and meet the King. Continuing through the Gospel of John, chapter 12 is a powerful chapter and a transitional movement in the narrative of the gospel.


Notice the arrangement as the scene opens with Mary washing the feet of Jesus with expensive perfume.

JOHN 12: 1-3

“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” (NIV)

One scene begins in (12:1) and continues through the end of the chapter. A king is anointed, and now He makes His entrance into Jerusalem. The people are lining the streets to celebrate their new King. However, as He enters Jerusalem, there have been hints that this King would not be the King many expected. When Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet, Judas criticized what he saw as a waste of money. Jesus planted in our minds that not everything is as it appears.

JOHN 12: 7

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.” (NIV)

As we watch the crowds, our attention focuses on the mission and message of Jesus through chapter 12.


JOHN 12: 12-19

“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.” At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him. Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” (NIV)

As the crowds gather, those, who had witnessed Jesus raising Lazarus tell others about this great sign. News spreads, and more are rushing out to meet the Messiah. With each person running out to meet Jesus, the Pharisees see their power and authority slipping away.


When Jesus enters Jerusalem, the crowds are shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the king of Israel!" The word "Hosanna" means save us we pray. This refrain echos back to the Psalms.

PSALM 118: 25-26

“Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you.” (NIV)


Although the disciples following Jesus did not understand the things happening at this moment, Jesus understood the mission. Jesus knows what He has come to do.

The desire of John is for his readers to understand the message and mission of Jesus. Therefore, the whole gospel has been arranged to reveal the identity of Jesus. Events of Jesus riding into Jerusalem are organized so that the reader sees the fulfillment of the prophet Zechariah in Jesus.


“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!

See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.” (NIV)

Jesus has come to establish God's peace, His shalom. John wants us to see Jesus, God's Anointed, and understand the mission.


JOHN 12: 20-26

“Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (NIV)

The good news of God's peace, His kingdom, is for all. Some who are in the crowd wish to meet Jesus. They are not descendants of Abraham. They are Greek. However, they want to meet Jesus.

In Jesus’ response, our understanding of Jesus' mission is opened up. His mission is not for just one people group (the Jews), His mission is for all people. As they come to meet Jesus, His message is somewhat cryptic. Here, though, is the turning point in the gospel as Jesus explains the mission.


"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." With this statement, there is a shift in the narrative and focus of Jesus. Until this point, it has not been time for the "hour." Throughout the gospel, we have seen the hour was not yet (ref. 2:4; 7:6-8; 7:30; 8:20). Now is the time for the Son of Man to be glorified. John wants us to see this Jesus. Not the liberator who has come to overthrow the Roman government, but Jesus the Servant-King who has come to give His life for all people. 

Jesus knows the necessity of the hour. He is aware that His self-sacrifice, like a grain of wheat planted in the ground, will bear more fruit as it breaks through the earth. His sacrifice will be for the life of others. 

He calls those who would follow Him to this same self-sacrifice. We can't follow Jesus without a willingness to surrender. A desire to live for ourselves is not where Jesus is headed. The person who serves and follows Jesus must follow His example of service and sacrifice for others. In this, a follower of Jesus will bear much fruit and be honored by the Father. 

Jesus the King, stepping forward to the cross and giving His life so that others may live, is the signpost John wants us to see. A signpost pointing us to Jesus reveled in the gospel.


Scripture quotations from; THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Explore More: Series Gospel of John


Entry Into Jerusalem
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