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John39 – young donkey or Challenger2?

The next day the large crowd which came into the festival, having heard that Jesus was coming into Jerusalem, received the branches of the palm trees and came out into going out to meet him and were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed the one coming in the name of the Lord, even the king of Israel!” (John 12: 12)
“The next day” was the day after Jesus had arrived at Bethany, about 2 miles from Jerusalem to visit and dine with Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. The year was probably AD 30 and this report from John’s first century account of the life, death and rising again of Jesus proceeds to record the build-up of opposition against him.

However, there was a “large crowd” in Jerusalem at their Passover festival. Passover, rather like Jersey’s annual festival marking the liberation of Jersey from Nazi occupation in 1945, marked the anniversary of the peoples release from Egyptian slavery by their LORD God  around BC 1350.

This crowd, welcoming Jesus, shouts its welcome using sayings recorded centuries earlier in the nation’s Book of Psalms (Psalm 118). This man Jesus is welcomed because he as come to them in the name of the LORD as promised to them by the LORD.

In fact Jesus, having found a young donkey, sat upon it, just as it is written, “Fear not, daughter of Zion! Look and see, your king comes, seated upon a foal of a donkey!” 

Jesus now confirms the truth of what the crowd has been shouting. He does this by finding a young donkey and carrying on his journey into Jerusalem sitting on it. He does this because a prophet named Zechariah, writing around 520 BC, meticulously recorded the promise of the LORD God (to Zion, aka Jerusalem) that the LORD God would, one day, enter Jerusalem in that way.

‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ (Zechariah, Jerusalem, c. 520BC)
His disciples did not know these things at first, but then, when Jesus was glorified, they remembered that these things were written over him and that they did these things to him. 

Not even Jesus’ disciples knew at the time what it all meant.

So, that crowd, being that one with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him up from the dead, was testifying. Through that, this crowd also went out to meet him for they heard that he himself was to do this sign.  

One “crowd” was testifying as to who Jesus really was – the one which had seen Lazarus raised from the dead, in fact after four days in the grave. Another “crowd” had joined them – those who had listened to their testimony. Both “went out to meet” him. The Greek word which the biographer originally used and which is translated “went out to meet” is hypantesis. It was used in connection with official royal welcomes.

So the Pharisees said to themselves, “You observe that you are accomplishing nothing! Look and see, the world has come away after him.” 

‘For this I was born and for this purpose I came into the world—to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.’ (Jesus to Pontius Pilate, AD 30)
For the religious Pharisees, this arrival in Jerusalem was an (almost) overwhelming blow to plans to rid themselves (and the earth) of Jesus. And of Lazarus. Only almost. They did succeed in the end to rid the earth of him. But not the heaven.
Sinner Syvret

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