Morning Bible Study
We are in the final week of Jesus’ life on earth. The annual Feast of the Passover is approaching, the feast that
celebrated the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, but which also painted a prophetic
picture of a lamb being slain to deliver the people.
Before that week started, Jesus did something amazing.
Jesus raised His friend Lazarus from the dead. Believe me, it was a big deal. A lot of people heard about it.
:12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they
heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
:13 took branches of 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
:12 next day
– epaurion – on the morrow, the next
This is now Sunday,
suggested (Jon Courson) that this might have been the tenth day of Nisan, the
day when each family was supposed to pick out a lamb that would be sacrificed
on the Passover. (Ex. 12:3)
:12 great multitude
– Josephus records that at a later Passover 2.5 million people that would crowd
into Jerusalem at the time of the Passover.
:13 palm trees
– phoinix – a palm tree, date palm
Why the palm branches?
Palm trees were
in the design of Solomon’s Temple (1Kin. 6:29-35)
were used in making the booths for the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:40).
When The Greek
ruler Antiochus Epiphanes was overthrown by the Jewish revolt led by Judas
Maccabeus, the Jews celebrated the rededication the Temple by carrying palm
branches into it (1Macc. 13:51)
The Palm Tree
was often seen as a symbol of Israel.
The Jewish (Hasmonean) rulers
that followed Judas Maccabeus put palm trees on their coins.
The Palm Tree
was not only a symbol of beauty and prosperity, but became a symbol of victory
The Jews had a
saying: “If a man takes palm tree branches in his hands, we know that he is
It’s like the people are welcoming their victorious, king of the Jews.
– hosanna – from the Hebrew words which
means “save now” (yasha and ana)
We often hear it in our worship choruses, and we can think that it is an
expression of praise, which it kind of is.
But the main meaning is a cry out to God for deliverance.
The Jews have been under the Roman oppression for some time now.
Earlier, after He had fed the five thousand, they wanted to take Jesus and make
Him their king, but He got away from them, it wasn’t time yet (John 6:15).
Now, after displaying such power in raising Lazarus from the dead, the
people are hoping one more time that Jesus is the Savior they had prayed
for. They were still looking for a
Jesus doesn’t stop them this time, but He’s still not going to do what they
are asking for.
He’s going to save them, but in a different way.
Instead of wiping out the Romans, Jesus is going to wipe out a greater
threat, the penalty of their sins.
What do you really need?
Sometimes we get a little confused as to just what we really need.
Some of you are
going through a difficult time financially.
Some of you are
in that place of your life where you are looking for that special person,
someone you can marry.
Some of you are
struggling with all sorts of physical difficulties, disease, cancer, handicaps.
Don’t get me wrong, God cares about all these things. But this is not His first priority in your
God cares first
of all that you would know Him.
And until someone does something about your sins, you aren’t going to know
Jesus did come to answer the cries of the people, “Hosanna”.
He came to save them from their sins.
One of the
fellows we met in Russia was an old man named Dima. We had gotten to know his son Alexander throughout the
week, kind of a tough kid. We met Dima
on our last day in Kirovochepetsk. He
was two years older than me. He was
drunk. He was asking us to come back and
visit him next year, but we said that it might take us a couple of years to get
back, he was sad. We asked why that made
him sad, and he said that he might be dead in a couple of years. When one of the kids asked Dima where he
would go after he died, he got a strange look on his face and answered,
“Hell”. He told us that he had been a soldier in Chechnya
and had seen and done many horrible things.
We tried to talk to him about God’s forgiveness, but he wouldn’t hear of
Dima needs to get sober. Dima needs
most of all, Dima needs to know God’s salvation that comes from the
forgiveness of our sins, the salvation that comes only from Jesus.
Some of you need to know God’s salvation.
Some of you have friends that you are concerned about, and perhaps you’ve
lost sight of what’s really important in life.
:14 Then Jesus,
when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written:
:15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, Sitting on a
:14 young donkey
– onarion – a little donkey
We know from the other gospels, that Jesus had actually sent a couple of
disciples into a village to fetch a donkey (Luke 19:28-36)
Why did Jesus ride a young donkey?
from Zechariah 9, where Zechariah first predicts the coming of Alexander the
Great and the destruction that he would bring on his conquests through the
lands of Syria, and the Philistines around 330 BC.
known for riding Bucephalus, his huge black horse with a white star on his
The Romans had
a custom called the “Triumph” where a ruling general or important dignitary
would receive a HUGE parade when they were welcomed into the city.
Zechariah switches his prophetic look from Alexander the Great, to the
coming king of the Jews:
(Zec 9:9 NKJV) “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of
Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on
a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.
It seems that the young donkey is in contrast to the conquering Alexander. The coming king of the Jews is described as
“lowly” or “humble”.
We often call Palm Sunday the “Triumphal Entry” of Jesus
into Jerusalem, but perhaps not so much.
There will be a much bigger “entrance” in a few years when Jesus returns
the second time, He won’t be riding a young donkey:
(Re 19:11–16 NKJV) —11 Now
I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was
called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His
eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name
written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped
in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven,
clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now
out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.
And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the
winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His
robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
It’s just a little different from the “entrance” we’re
reading of now.
What we call a “Triumphal Entry” was really quite a humble entry.
He didn’t ride a big black horse, but a small donkey colt.
(Pr 15:33 NKJV) The fear of the Lord
is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.
It was this way in Jesus’ life. His Second Coming will be with great honor. His First Coming was all about humility.
It is no different for us.
I want to share a story of what happened the day after Palm Sunday:
Palm Monday Donkey
awakened, his mind still savoring the afterglow of the most exciting day of his
life. Never before had he felt such a rush of pleasure and pride. He walked
into town and found a group of people by the well. “I’ll show myself to them”
he thought. But they didn’t notice him. They went on drawing their water and
paid him no mind. “Throw your garments down,” he said crossly. “Don’t you know who I am?”
They just looked at him in amazement. Someone slapped him across the tail and
ordered him to move. “Miserable heathens!” he muttered to himself. “I’ll just
go to the market where the good people are. They will remember me.” But the
same thing happened. No one paid any attention to the donkey as he strutted
down the main street in front of the market place. “The palm branches! Where
are the palm branches!” he shouted. “Yesterday, you threw palm branches!” Hurt
and confused, the donkey returned home to his mother. “Foolish child,” she said gently. “Don’t you
realize that without him, you are just an ordinary donkey?”
Edited from More Hot Illustrations for
Youth Talks by Wayne Rice. Copyright 1995 by Youth Specialties, Inc.
Isn’t that just like us? We can
trick ourselves into thinking that we’re really hot stuff, when in truth, all
the good that comes from us came from Jesus.
Humility is good.
(1 Pe 5:5 NKJV) Likewise you younger
people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one
another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives
grace to the humble.”
:16 His disciples
did not 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.
:16 when Jesus was
At the moment the disciples didn’t realize all that was happening.
It was after the resurrection that things began to fall in place and they
began to realize the prophecies that had been fulfilled that day.
:16 these things
were written –
There were many things written about this specific day that we call “Palm
Not only was there a prophecy in Zechariah fulfilled, but several more were
fulfilled on that day.
The Psalmist wrote,
(Ps 118:22–26 NKJV) —22 The stone which the
builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our
eyes. 24 This is the day the Lord
has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity. 26 Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord! We have
blessed you from the house of the Lord.
Do any of those words sound familiar?
The people with
the palm branches were quoting verses 25-26.
If you take
note, verse 22 also is significant:
Jesus was the stone that the builder’s rejected. We’re watching it happen in our passage today
as the Pharisees are clearly rejecting Jesus.
Yet God would build His kingdom on Jesus and what He would do at the
Even verse 24 –
“This is the day …”
I believe that this particular day, Palm Sunday, was the
particular day that the Psalmist was talking about. It was a day set aside for something special.
The prophet Daniel hints at the very day that the Messiah
would make His entrance:
(Da 9:25–26a NKJV) —25 “Know therefore
and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until
Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built
again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. 26 “And after the sixty-two
weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself…
decree to rebuild the city of Jerusalem came from King Artaxerxes (Neh.
2:1) on March 14, 445 B.C.
It gets complicated, but if you follow the details of the Babylonian
calendar and what Daniel is calling “69 weeks” (173,880 days), you can arrive at the
date of April 6, 32 A.D.
That’s the day we call “Palm Sunday”
It was “the day the LORD has made”.
Luke records that immediately after this “parade” Jesus would stop and weep
(Lk 19:41–42 NKJV) —41 Now as He drew
near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you,
especially in this your
day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from
“This your day” – the exact day prophesied in which He would
He was on time for His appointment, but they didn’t
Our “religion” is different
There is a lot of talk today about all religions being the same, that they
are all about the same God.
This is part of the talk you will hear about Islam and why we should build the
mosque at Ground Zero.
All religions are not the same.
I’m not saying this because I think that Christians are better than other
folks – sometimes we’re worse.
Our belief is not in some fuzzy “god” that we don’t understand.
Our belief is in a god who has revealed Himself through the Scriptures.
He has given us proof of His supernatural existence in the many incredible,
detailed prophecies in the Scriptures.
There is no greater collection of fulfilled Scriptures than those that
speak directly about Jesus Christ.
When Jesus says,
(Jn 14:6 NKJV) …“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the
Father except through Me.
He is not being narrow minded. He is simply telling the truth.
He is the only remedy for man’s greatest problem, our sin.
He died on the cross to pay for our sins.
12:17-22 The world
has gone after Him
:17 Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of
his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness.
:18 For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had
done this sign.
:17 bore witness
– martureo – to be a witness, i.e. to
affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something
In Greek, the meaning of a sentence isn’t dependant on word order. The words in a sentence can be in almost any
order. One of the ways that a writer puts emphasis on
something is to put the word at the beginning of the sentence. That’s what John has done here – the emphasis
is on the “witness”.
One of the reasons for the large crowds gathering to greet Jesus as He came
into Jerusalem was because of what had taken place just a few days earlier,
when Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead.
The people that had seen this take place had “born witness” to what Jesus
And the crowds grew larger that day because of the “witness”.
Share what you know
We can make “witnessing” pretty complicated.
It’s simply sharing what you know, what you’ve seen.
Some of us are like Lazarus, we’ve had some pretty dramatic things taking
place in our lives.
Some of us are like those who watched Lazarus, and though we might not have
dramatic things to talk about in our lives yet, we’ve seen God do things.
People need to know that God is alive.
People need to know that God wants them to know Him.
:19 The Pharisees
therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing.
Look, the world has gone after Him!”
The Pharisees had been plotting on arresting Jesus and putting him to
death, but now that the crowds were getting bigger and bigger, they realize
they have a problem on their hands.
:20 Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the
– Hellen – Greek
It is possible that these are Jews who didn’t live in Israel, but lived in
other parts of the world and spoke Greek.
likely that these people were actually Gentile Greeks, who honored the God of
Israel. They are sometimes called “God
fearers”. (Robertson, Wiersbe)
They were in Jerusalem to worship God during the Passover feast.
:21 Then they
came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir,
we wish to see Jesus.”
:22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus.
:21 “Sir, we
wish to see Jesus.”
I have this phrase taped to my pulpit.
I need to be reminded of it.
People want to know
I know that not everyone is open right now to hearing about God, but there
are people out there that want to know.
Are you ready to talk to them? Are
you ready to point them in the right direction?
It’s kind of like going fishing. Do
you like to go fishing?
Some people just don’t like to fish.
“Fishing and Whining
Some people just know where the fish are.
We don’t need
to force it. We don’t need to force
ourselves to talk to the first five people we meet each day.
We need to be
available. Make it your prayer: “God use me today”.
I believe God will answer that prayer.
I believe God will put you where the fishing is good.
Perhaps today you want to know God …