(A devotional for Palm Sunday) We will take a break from the book of Acts for Palm Sunday and Easter. This devotional will look only at events in the book of John, giving attention to some events that revealed the kind of Messiah Jesus came to be. The first event we note is Palm Sunday (John 12:12-15). Jesus had made no official public declaration of His Messiahship, but the time had now come. On Palm Sunday, the crowds shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” But many may have missed His symbolic declaration in fulfillment of prophecy. Zechariah had written: “Behold, your king is coming to you…Humble, and mounted on…the foal of a donkey (Zech. 9:9). Sitting on a donkey, as compared for example to a white horse, showed that his kingdom would be one of deliverance from sin (making peace) by being a Savior; not one of deliverance from Rome by being a military warrior.
Then we see what he said when some Greeks asked to see Him (John 12:20-36). It’s not clear if He spoke to the disciples, to the Greeks, or to all of them, but what He said was of extreme importance: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Those words must have made their hearts pound—His time had now come! But then He talked about death, about a seed having to be buried in the ground before it could bear fruit. He talked about being a servant: “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me.” He made a proclamation: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself.” John gave this commentary: “Now He was saying this to indicate what kind of death He was going to die.” He would be lifted up on a cross so He could be the Savior of all men!
The other two events we look at have to do with the feet. First, Jesus accepted Mary’s gift of the anointment of His feet with expensive perfume (John 12:1-8). Judas protested such extravagance, but Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial.” When other women later showed up at the tomb to anoint His body, they were unable to because He had arisen! Only Mary accomplished this by doing it in advance of His death and burial. For this gesture of devotion and spiritual insight, Jesus said, “She has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the entire world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her” (Mk. 14:8-9). Mary understood the sacrifice involved in the Messiahship of Jesus. If He will be our Messiah, our Lord, we will be ready like Mary to offer Him our greatest treasure, our very lives!
Jesus strongly modeled this sacrificial element of His kingdom when He washed the disciples’ feet (John 13:5-17). Judas had protested what Mary did, and now Peter protested what Jesus was doing. They had so much to learn from Jesus! “For I gave you an example, so that you also would do just as I did for you. Truly, truly I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.” Kingdom living would involve not only serving Him, the Lord and Master, but also serving one another! He said, for them and for us: “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”
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