John chapter 12 begins with the account of Jesus' visit to Bethany, where He is welcomed by His close friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. While they are having a meal together, Mary takes a pound of expensive perfume and anoints Jesus's feet, wiping them with her hair. Judas Iscariot objects to the extravagance, but Jesus defends Mary's actions, saying that she has anointed Him in preparation for His burial. The next day, Jesus enters Jerusalem triumphantly as the crowds wave palm branches and shout, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" Jesus foretells his death, saying that He must be lifted up, and that those who believe in Him will have eternal life.
When Jesus performed miracles He regularly told those who witnessed them not to tell others. Until now. This day was different, this event was different, as He would call public attention to himself on purpose. This event is known as The Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem. It is the Palm Sunday story that is written about in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. That makes this story unique, as it is covered by all four of the Gospels. As we read in John 3:3, 3:5, 8:34, 13:16, 13:20 and, 14:12 when Jesus says something twice, like “Truly, truly I say to you,” he's about to say something important and we'd better listen. When something is repeated three times, like in Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8, when the angels proclaim, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,” you’ve guessed it, it’s really important. In both cases they’re revealing an immutable characteristic about God and his sovereignty. But here, in John 12, this is the 4th time God is telling us about this event. Do you think that it might be important? This is when Jesus chooses to reveal himself as the Messiah to the public, and as Jerusalem is bursting with visitors that are preparing for and ready to celebrate the Passover. Verses 14-16 read, “Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said: “Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem. Look, your King is coming, riding on a donkey’s colt.” (Zech 9:9) His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory (meaning that He returned back to the Father in Heaven), they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about Him.”
Jesus, at this point, has now done something that no other has ever done before, by fulfilling the prophecies that foretold of him so long ago.
Later, some Greeks approached Philip and asked to see Jesus. Philip tells Andrew, and together they inform Jesus. Jesus responds by saying that His hour has come, for the Son of Man to be glorified. He explains that whoever loves their life will lose it, but whoever hates their life in this world will keep it for eternity. This simply means that whoever chooses their own way and desires in life are choosing to reject Jesus and his gift of salvation. However, those who choose to follow Jesus and His ways, in turn giving up their own ways, will experience salvation and life with Jesus for eternity.
The chapter concludes with a summary of the unbelief of the people. Although Jesus had performed many signs and miracles, the people still did not believe in Him. This was to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah, who said that the hearts of the people would be hardened and they would not see or understand. However, there were some who did believe in Jesus, including some of the Jewish leaders, but they were afraid to confess their belief openly for fear of being put out of the synagogue.
Today, I want to leave you with a closer look at the final verses of John 12. They are labeled “Jesus Came to Save the World”. Specifically, It is written in verses 44-48, Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken.”
So, don’t be surprised that even today, there are people who believe and people who don’t. As a matter of fact, we who believe are a vast minority to those who don’t. So, as Jesus came into this world as light, trust in Him and let His light shine through you.