Berean Bible Study Notes

John 12:1-19



W3Schools.com

Beginning today, we're going to start studying the most important week in the history of the world. Most of the rest of the Gospel of John is concerned with that week. This study is going to primarily use the New King James Version, because I'm going to be jumping around a bit in the Bible, and my software makes that easiest with the NKJV. To review from last time:

John 11:45 (NKJV) The Plot to Kill Jesus

Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said,"What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation."

49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish." 51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.

53 Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. 54 Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with His disciples.

55 And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. 56 Then they sought Jesus, and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, "What do you think — that He will not come to the feast?" 57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him.

 

John 12:1 The Anointing at Bethany

Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, 5 "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

7 But Jesus said, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always."

John 12:9 The Plot to Kill Lazarus

Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.

Now, we're getting into a somewhat confusing part of Scripture. You can read this account superficially, and not have a single problem with it - and then some skeptic comes along and says, "What about this?" and "What about that?" and then, you don't know what to think. Most commentaries don't even address what the skeptics say are contradictions, and that just leaves you more confused. So, as good Bereans, we will not ignore it but actually seek out why this could be confusing and address it.

A good principle to remember - behind every seeming contradiction lies something to be discovered. To this day, people are still noticing things about Scripture that haven't been noticed before. So, there is something to be discovered about this account of Mary and the spikenard (or just "nard" as the NIV puts it). Maybe you'll be the one to figure it out - or maybe we'll have to wait and see what Jesus Himself says.

This same story is in three of the four Gospels - but there is something strange about its placement. See if you can see it:

Matthew 26:1 The Plot to Kill Jesus

(Mark 14:1,2; Luke 22:1,2; John 11:45-53)

Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, (He had just given a two-chapter discourse on the end of the age. That discourse followed His triumphal "Palm Sunday" entry into Jerusalem. He was at Jerusalem at the time) that He said to His disciples, 2 "You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified."

3 Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4 and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him. 5 But they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people."

Matthew 26:6 The Anointing at Bethany

And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. 8 But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? 9 For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor."

10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. 11 For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. 12 For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. 13 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."

When does the anointing APPEAR to be taking place in Matthew's account? It appears to be taking place two days before Passover. Yet, notice Matthew 26:6: And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper. Notice that there is no specific time set - and suddenly, Jesus is in Bethany. Take a look at the same account in Mark:

Mark 14:1 The Plot to Kill Jesus

After two days it was the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take Him by trickery and put Him to death. 2 But they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar of the people." (This is also preceded in Mark by a long discourse on the end of the age)

Mark 14:3 The Anointing at Bethany

And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. 4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, "Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor." And they criticized her sharply.

6 But Jesus said, "Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. 8 She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 9 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."

Again, it makes it sound as though this was taking place two days before Passover. Some commentators who do make reference to this say that there were two anointings - one at the house of Lazarus, Martha & Mary and another a few days later by an unnamed woman who did the same thing with the same kind of perfume (in the same kind of box) at the house of Simon the Leper. That doesn't make any sense, though, for reasons I'll go through later.

Again, look carefully at the way this is described. Again, there is a sudden jump from Jerusalem to Bethany. Notice, that while it seems to be hooked to the "two days before Passover," it doesn't say that specifically. We Americans are used to things being in chronological order. That's the way we do things. We are very much "This. Then this. Then this" kind of people. The Jewish mind doesn't necessarily work that way. Things that go together are put together, regardless of their sequence in time.

The Holy Spirit is trying to tell us something here. Every single account puts the plot to kill Jesus before the account of the anointing with the perfume. Both Matthew and Mark tell us specifically when that final plotting takes place - two days before Passover. John also has that plotting first, but he tells us specifically that the supper in Bethany was six days before Passover. There is another account to bring in - this time it IS a different anointing:

Luke 7:36 (NIV) Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. 37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38 and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair , kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is — that she is a sinner." 40 Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you."

"Tell me, teacher," he said.

41 "Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"

43 Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled."

"You have judged correctly," Jesus said. 44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair . 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven — for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."

48 Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." 49 The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"

50 Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Some people try to make this the same story, but it is not. This is happening in Nain, in Galilee, after Jesus had brought back to life the son of a widow there. The account in John 12 is in Bethany. This is taking place at the home of Simon the Pharisee. Our story takes place at the home of Simon the Leper. (Interesting, huh) Here, a woman has led a sinful life in Nain - and Simon calls her a sinner. In our John story, Martha, Mary's sister, is serving, and her brother Lazarus is an honored guest at the table. That would hardly be the case if their sister Mary was known as a "sinner" throughout town. Here, the woman simply heard that Jesus would be there. In John, she was part of the family that honored and served Him.

Yet, look at the interesting similarities! Both at the house of a "Simon." Both with a woman who anoints Jesus with perfume from an alabaster jar and then wipes His feet with her hair. This account is in Luke, the only Gospel that does NOT include the anointing at Bethany. What does the Holy Spirit want us to see here???? (Tell me if you know, because I don't!!)

Back to John:

John 12:1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, 5 "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

7 But Jesus said, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always."

So, the supper was six days before Passover. The decision to actually arrest and kill Jesus was two days before Passover. (Yet the winds had already begun to blow that way right after the raising of Lazarus - and Jesus knew this decision was coming. That's why He went to the village of Ephraim. He needed to be crucified exactly at Passover, not before). There's a reason the two things are hooked together with the "plot" first. I just don't know what it is.

Don't let the skeptics confuse you. Don't even let the well-meaning people confuse you. There will be those who say that the "contradictions" are just evidence that these are real accounts, and people remembered things differently. No - there are no contradictions. There are just things we understand imperfectly. Every single word (in the original) is there - or not there - for a reason. Some things we may figure out this side of heaven. Some things we won't.

OK - why is this account in John and the accounts in Matthew and Mark all speaking of the same event and not two separate events as some try to make it (to get around the "contradiction")? First, notice what is said in each account:

John 12:4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, 5 "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?"

Matthew 26:8 But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? 9 For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor."

Mark 3:4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, "Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor." And they criticized her sharply.

Each phrase is almost exactly the same. It stretches credibility a bit to suggest that a practically indistinguishable event took place twice and nearly identical things were said each time. Reading all three, it seems apparent to me that Judas spoke first and got the rest of the disciples riled up about it.

So, if this was the same account, why was Martha serving at Simon's the Leper's house? Simon may have been a relative or a good friend without a wife or sister to act as hostess. Or, possibly, since this supper was served in Jesus' honor, it may have been a village event, and Martha was one of several women that served. If this was actually taking place at Martha's house, there would be no point in mentioning that she served. Of course, she would serve! There would also be no point in mentioning that Lazarus sat at the table. Of course he would sit at his own table.

OK! Now that we've finally gotten the preliminaries out of the way, let's actually get into the text! This is the second time that John has mentioned this event. He mentioned it first back in chapter 11:

John 11:1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.

It is six days before Passover. Now, technically, Passover is Nisan 14, but the meal is eaten that evening, which is the start of Nisan 15. The lambs were killed on the 14th, but the meal was eaten when the next Hebrew day was beginning. So, the evening of the Passover was actually the beginning of the next day. That evening - morning thing can be very confusing. So, here's how you count it:

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

Where each box meets is sundown. So, they arrive the 9th of Nisan, six days before Passover. Supper that evening was actually the beginning of Nisan 10.

Sixth day: 9/10 Fifth day:10/11 Fourth day:11/12 Third day:12/13 Second day:13/14 First day:14/15

John 12:1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

Matthew 26:6 And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.

Mark 14:3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.

They're at the home of Simon the Leper, as you can see from Matthew and Mark. Jesus has been at Ephraim, but now, six days before He is to die, He comes back to see His friends (and say good-bye, perhaps). There is a supper in His honor and Lazarus is there, too, at the table with Him. Some commentators have made a point of mentioning that you have a picture of the church there: new life (Lazarus), service (Martha) and worship (Mary).

Mary has a pound of spikenard - or just "nard" as the NIV says. It's very expensive - worth a laborer's wages for a year. In today's money, you might be talking $40,000 or more.

Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K. 1995. Nelson's new illustrated Bible dictionary. T. Nelson: Nashville:

More on Spikenard

The flask of spikenard was unbroken. It may have represented all that Mary personally owned. It may have even been her dowry. Now, Matthew and Mark make a point of saying that she broke the flask and poured it on Jesus' head. John says she poured it on His feet. Is there a problem here? Of course not. She poured it on His head and feet. Remember what John says later:

John 20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

John presents Jesus as the Son of God. Where is our position to the Son of God? At His feet. Where has Mary always been? At the feet of Jesus. So, John mentions only Jesus' feet. Matthew and Mark (which is really Peter's account) mention only His head. Remember that Matthew was written to present Jesus as Messiah, the Son of David. Where had David been anointed? On his head. Mark presents Jesus as the suffering servant. Where would a servant be anointed? On the head. Also, just from a practical sense, from Matthew and Peter's positions at the table, that may be mainly what they saw. John was always right next to Jesus.

John 12:3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

It is an interesting fulfillment of something from the Old Testament, what the bride says of her beloved in the Song of Solomon:

Song of Solomon 1:2 While the king was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance.

Everything that Mary does here is in utter worship. She takes all that she owns - and all that makes her beautiful,

1 Corinthians 11:14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.

And she lavishes it on Jesus. Here is what Jon Courson has to say (Courson, J. 2003. Jon Courson's Application Commentary . Thomas Nelson: Nashville, TN):

What is the reaction to this extravagant worship?

John 12:4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, 5 "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

Just a quick note, here. There is some kind of account of anointing Jesus is every Gospel. In Luke, it was the story of the woman in Nain, who had been forgiven much. That took place at Simon the Pharisee's house. This account here of Mary is recorded in the other three Gospels. In Matthew and Mark, it says it happened at Simon the Leper's house. Here, John makes a point of saying that Judas is "Simon's son" (probably not the same Simon as Simon the Leper). Why is there a Simon mentioned in every case? I have no idea - just thought I'd point it out. Simon is the Greek form of the Hebrew "Simeon," which means "heard."

Matthew 26:8 But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? 9 For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor."

Mark 14:4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, "Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor." And they criticized her sharply.

Only John points out that it was specifically Judas who made the comment - and also why he made it. Jesus responds,

John 12:7 But Jesus said, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always."

Matthew 26:10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. 11 For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. 12 For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. 13 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."

Mark 14:6 But Jesus said, "Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. 8 She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 9 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."

In the other Gospels, it is clear that Jesus had been speaking of His death and burial for some time - but the disciples just didn't, couldn't, maybe wouldn't understand. Yet, Mary understood. Of all the people that had followed Jesus all that time (and there's no evidence that Mary actually followed Jesus - she seems to have just stayed in Bethany), only Mary understood. She knew that Jesus was going to die. Why? I'm guessing she just took what Jesus said and believed it, instead of trying to rationalize about what He really meant. I think she listened as a child and simply took Jesus at His word. It reminds me of this:

Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children .

Here's what Arthur W. Pink says about that verse:

Christ Anointed at Bethany

Now, there's an interesting contrast between the Gospel of John and the other Gospels. John stops talking about Judas, but the other two now mention him, plus Luke also mentions this account, with some extra fascinating information:

John 12:9 Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.

Only John includes this information about Lazarus - that the chief priests plotted to put him to death also. Again, as I mentioned before, it's my theory that John feels free to say this now because Lazarus has died. The other Gospels don't even mention the raising of Lazarus - and, in fact, don't mention Lazarus at all. It's my belief that they were protecting him from further scrutiny from the Jewish leadership.

Matthew 26:14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said,"What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?" And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. 16 So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.

Mark 14:10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him.

Luke 22:1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people.

3 Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. 4 So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude.

Isn't that an interesting insight? There are all these theories, especially since the recent publication of The Gospel of Judas, that Judas was making a selfless sacrifice in order for God's plan of redemption to progress. You can actually read articles that suggest that only Judas understood that Jesus had to die for the sins of the people - and that he volunteered to be the one to endure the hatred that would be poured out on the betrayer of Jesus. It's really kind of hard to imagine Satan having that kind of motivation.

Yet, it is possible, perhaps, that Satan deceived Judas into thinking that he could force Jesus into accepting His role as King. Perhaps Judas couldn't imagine that Jesus would actually be condemned and die:

Matthew 27:3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4 "I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood."

 

The Triumphal Entry

It is not possible to do this justice without writing a book. I strongly encourage you to really make a study of this and the other things that are connected with it.

The Triumphal Entry is covered in all four Gospels. John pins down the exact day:

John 12:12 The Triumphal Entry

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 Israel!"

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 donkey's colt."

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.

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. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, "You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!"

 

Matthew 21:1 The Triumphal Entry

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them."

4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:

5 "Tell the daughter of Zion,

'Behold, your King is coming to you,

Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,

A colt, the foal of a donkey.'"

6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

"Hosanna to the Son of David! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' Hosanna in the highest!"

10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, "Who is this?"

11 So the multitudes said, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee."

 

Mark 11:1 The Triumphal Entry

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples; 2 and He said to them, "Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it. 3 And if anyone says to you, 'Why are you doing this?' say, 'The Lord has need of it,' and immediately he will send it here."

4 So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it. 5 But some of those who stood there said to them, "What are you doing, loosing the colt?"

6 And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it. 8 And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

"Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' 10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"

11 And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.

 

Luke 19:28 The Triumphal Entry

When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, "Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, 'Why are you loosing it?' thus you shall say to him, 'Because the Lord has need of it.'"

32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, "Why are you loosing the colt?"

34 And they said, "The Lord has need of him." 35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.

37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:

"'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!' Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples."

40 But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out."

41 Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

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 your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."

 

OK, remember that Jesus had arrived in Bethany six days before Passover, which would be Nisan 9. That evening would be the beginning of the 10th of Nisan. The next morning, it is still the 10th of Nisan. In the days when God first instituted that month as the beginning of months, it was called Abib. They called it Nisan after the Babylonian captivity. Both names are used in the Bible. So, what's the big deal about the 10th day of the first month?

Exodus 12:1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 "This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: 'On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. Note: the "it" is singular - as though there was only one lamb (the NIV says "them," which is incorrect), and the Hebrew doesn't really say "twilight" or "evening." It actually says, "between the evenings." It's a fine point that makes a big difference. It allowed Jesus to both eat the Passover meal and be killed at the same time that most of the lambs were being killed, without breaking the Torah.

For four days, the lamb became like a household pet. They took it into their houses so they could examine it closely for blemishes. After four days of this close examination, they were able to tell whether the lamb was perfect or not.

On the 10th day of the first month, Nisan 10, Jesus presented Himself as king. For the next four days, He would be questioned intensely by the Jewish leadership as they tried to trap Him. Always before, Jesus would say "It's not yet my time" and he would slip away or He would tell people to say nothing about the miracle they had just witnessed. This time, He actually arranges to fulfill prophecy:

Zechariah 9:9 "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.

So Jesus is presenting Himself as both their king and their Passover lamb on this particular day. The "king" part they can accept. The people are spreading palm branches at His feet while singing Psalm 118, a messianic Psalm:

Psalm 118

Psalm 118:1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

2 Let Israel now say, "His mercy endures forever." 3 Let the house of Aaron now say, "His mercy endures forever." 4 Let those who fear the LORD now say, "His mercy endures forever."

5 I called on the LORD in distress; The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place. 6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is for me among those who help me; Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.

8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. 9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

10 All nations surrounded me, But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 11 They surrounded me, Yes, they surrounded me; But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 12 They surrounded me like bees; They were quenched like a fire of thorns; For in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 13 You pushed me violently, that I might fall, But the LORD helped me.

14 The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation. (In Greek, this would say "He has become my Jesus.") 15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. 16 The right hand of the LORD is exalted; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.

17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.

18 The LORD has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, And I will praise the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD, Through which the righteous shall enter. 21 I will praise You, For You have answered me, And have become my salvation.

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. 27 God is the LORD, And He has given us light; Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.

28 You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You. 29 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Now, did all this happen on Sunday? Maybe, but that would make a Friday crucifixion very difficult to work out. It would be very difficult for both to be correct. What we can say for sure is that Jesus entered Jerusalem on the 10th of Nisan and was crucified on the 14th of Nisan. People argue about what days of the week those work out to be. If you want to study more about that, there are lots of links in this study: Jesus in the Feasts of Israel

Luke records Jesus' words as He enters Jerusalem:

Luke 19:41 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 your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."

Some people believe that when Jesus said "in this your day," He really meant that exact day. They believe that there is a prophecy in the Old Testament that points to that exact day:

Daniel 9:24 "Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.

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; (see the textual note in the NIV) and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.

27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate."

Nearly everyone - Catholics, Protestants, Amillennialists, Historicists, Preterists, Futurists, even the ancient Jewish rabbis - agree that this passage speaks of the time period of the Messiah. The only ones who don't agree are modern Jews (who would never agree that Messiah already came) and liberalists (who don't want to admit that prophecy points to anything specifically fulfilled). Martin Luther used this exact passage to try to prove to the Jews that their Messiah had already come. Where people don't agree is with how much of the passage is already fulfilled. Some will say that it points to the time period of Jesus within just a few years, and some will say that it pins down this very day, to the day - the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem as their king.

I encourage you to study it for yourself. Seriously - Jesus Himself points to this very passage as a key to understanding prophecy. I'm not going to take a stand for any particular viewpoint here. I'm just going to make it easier for you to study it yourself if you want to.

Lutheran View

What is the 70 weeks of Daniel? (WELS Q&A)

The Seventy Weeks Of Daniel 9:20-27 by Thomas Nass (WELS)

The Goal of Daniel's Seventy Weeks by Payne, J. Barton. (LCMS)

Martin Luther's View of the 70 Weeks of Daniel - This is one chapter from a larger document. This was written towards the end of his life, when he was very frustrated that the Jews wouldn't listen to reason. Today's Lutherans do not hold with this language or attitude, but the way he interpreted Daniel is pretty much understood the same way today.

 

Catholic views (this is just a glimpse. Your best bet is to go to your favorite Catholic resource site and use their search engine to locate articles)

Catholic Culture: Commentary on Daniel

Links of Catholic articles on seventy weeks

 

Partial Preterist View (Preterists hold that all prophecy was fulfilled specifically in the past. Full preterists believe this includes even Jesus' return. Partial preterists believe everything is fulfilled except Jesus' return)

Daniel's 70 Weeks - Future or Fulfilled?

 

Historicist View (Historicists view prophecy somewhat allegorically and generally see all prophecy as having been fulfilled already. Unlike preterists, they do not usually pin it to specific events, but to general time periods. Most modern amillennialists are some combination of preterism and historicism)

The Seventy Weeks in the Historicist view (lots of articles)

 

Futurist View (Futurists hold that at least some portion of prophecy is still future. Many of these articles support the idea that Daniel's prophecy was fulfilled to the very day when Jesus entered Jerusalem)

Daniel's 70 Weeks of Years by Dr. David R. Reagan

Daniel’s Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (Daniel 9:24-27)

THE FIRST 69 WEEKS OF THE 70 WEEKS OF DANIEL

Daniel’s 70 Weeks

Seventy Prophetic Weeks of Daniel By N.W. Hutchings

The Seventy Weeks of Daniel by Thomas Ice

 

Older views

OBSERVATIONS upon the PROPHECIES of DANIEL, and the APOCALYPSE of St. JOHN by Sir Isaac Newton

The fraud, pride, and tyrannical kingdom of Antichrist, as described by Daniel and Paul by Irenaeus (c. 180 AD)

The interpretation by Hippolytus, (bishop) of Rome, of the visions of Dan by Hippolytus (c. 205)

 

OK, that's enough introduction! Back to John's Gospel:

John 12:12 The Triumphal Entry

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 Israel!"

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 donkey's colt."

Now, chronologically, there is a bit that comes first - getting the donkey. John barely mentions that, so you have to look at the other Gospels:

Matthew 21:1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them."

4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: 5 "Tell the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.'"

6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.

Mark 11:1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples; 2 and He said to them, "Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it. 3 And if anyone says to you, 'Why are you doing this?' say, 'The Lord has need of it,' and immediately he will send it here." 4 So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it. 5 But some of those who stood there said to them, "What are you doing, loosing the colt?"

6 And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it.

Luke 19:28 When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, "Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, 'Why are you loosing it?' thus you shall say to him, 'Because the Lord has need of it.'" 32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, "Why are you loosing the colt?"

34 And they said, "The Lord has need of him." 35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him.

You can see that other three Gospels are virtually identical. Jesus leaves Bethany and heads up to Jerusalem. (Jerusalem is literally "up" because it is at a higher elevation than the surrounding area). As they get close to Bethphage, a small village very close to Jerusalem, Jesus sends two disciples to get Him a colt of a donkey (KJV says "ass," which is the same thing). Note how very deliberate He is being. This is the day He shows Himself to be Messiah, in an unmistakable way. His time has now finally come. He's putting a series of events into effect that will end in His death. Again, some people believe that this very day was predicted - that specific day on the calendar.

Regardless, He is fulfilling both prophecy and type. Remember, Messiah was to be "Son of David." How did David present his son to be king?

1 Kings 1:32 And King David said, "Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada." So they came before the king. 33 The king also said to them,"Take with you the servants of your lord, and have Solomon my son ride on my own mule, and take him down to Gihon. 34 There let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel; and blow the horn, and say, 'Long live King Solomon!' 35 Then you shall come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne, and he shall be king in my place. For I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah."

 

Of course, He is also deliberately fulfilling Zechariah 9, as all the accounts point out:

Zechariah 9:9 "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.

10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; The battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be 'from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.'

He is coming specifically on a donkey, not a horse. This is important. He came, not to conquer as they all expected, but in peace, to establish peace between God and men. You'll understand other accounts of these animals in the Bible better if you understand the difference in symbolism between donkey and horse. Something to study on your own - just grab your concordance.

So, why a colt that no one has ever ridden?

Numbers 19:1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 2 "This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD has commanded, saying: 'Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come.

Deuteronomy 21:3 And it shall be that the elders of the city nearest to the slain man will take a heifer which has not been worked and which has not pulled with a yoke.

1 Samuel 1:7 Now therefore, make a new cart, take two milk cows which have never been yoked, and hitch the cows to the cart; and take their calves home, away from them.

He doesn't want anything that has ever born the work of men. This is all part of presenting Himself as the perfect sacrifice, without blemish. OK, so the disciples go, find the two donkeys and decide to take both. Why? Well, this is a mother and her colt. Neither is going to be separated from the other easily. They didn't get the reputation for being stubborn for nothing. So, to avoid trouble, they bring both. Note how the owners of the two donkeys are easily persuaded. They seem to know exactly who the "Lord" is. Isn't it interesting that these people, who seemingly did nothing but lend a couple of donkeys for a little while, have been memorialized for all time in God's Word?

The disciples put their cloaks or outer clothing on the donkeys and bring them to Jesus. Jesus sits on the colt (the Greek specifically identifies one as being female and the colt as being male) without any kind of trouble - even though the colt has never had a rider before. There's a miracle right there.

Now, chronologically we're back with John. While the disciples were getting the donkeys, the people in Jerusalem have noticed that Jesus is coming. Remember that Jerusalem was filled with people who had come early for Passover. They've been waiting and discussing whether Jesus was coming or not. They knew what He had done with Lazarus. So, those people see Him coming up the slope They cut down palm branches and run out to meet Him. John is the only one who specifically mentions that these are palm fronds:

John 12:12 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 Israel!"

Matthew 21:8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

"Hosanna to the Son of David! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' Hosanna in the highest!"

Mark 11:8 And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

"Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' 10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"

Luke 19:36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road. 37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:

"'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!' Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

That "very great" multitude is in the superlative form. This is a HUGE crowd. They spread their clothes, as you would to greet a king - to show homage and respect. Luke says the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen.

Why palm fronds? In Jewish tradition, they are a symbol of triumph and victory. They are also used to honor God. The Temple was decorated on nearly every surface with carvings of palms. God commanded their use in the Feast of Tabernacles:

Leviticus 23:40 And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.

The Apostle John writes of another group of people who honor God with palm fronds:

Revelation 7:9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"

God even somehow connects palms with righteousness, in a symbolic way:

Psalm 92:12 The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing, 15 To declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

We already mentioned that they were singing Psalm 118. That was very intentional also, as they were declaring Jesus to be Messiah. Of course, the Pharisees don't react well to this display:

Luke 19:39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples."

40 But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out."

Jesus' answer looks back to something from way back in the book of Joshua:

Joshua 24:26 Then Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. 27 And Joshua said to all the people, "Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of the LORD which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God."

Luke tells what happens next:

Luke 19:41 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, (We already went over this in our introduction. It looks back to Daniel 9:24-27) the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."

Luke tells us the significance of this day. This day was kind of the Jews' last chance. Jesus had lived among them for three years, gradually increasing the signs that they should have recognized, culminating in the raising of Lazarus. Now, He intentionally fulfills one of the clearest prophecies of Messiah - entering Jerusalem on a donkey, to the singing of Psalm 118. This "day" (possibly this very calendar day) had been prophesied hundreds of years in advance. In fact, following this entry into Jerusalem, when Jesus spends a great deal of time discussing His return, He even points to that very prophecy. He was holding them accountable to know it:

Matthew 24:15 "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

Regardless of whether it was the exact day or not, it was clearly this time period. If there's a guy entering Jerusalem within that time period, on a donkey, to the singing of Psalm 118 (This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.) you better be finding out who He is. In fact, when He had come into Jerusalem, that was exactly what the people asked:

Matthew 21:10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, "Who is this?"

11 So the multitudes said, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee."

Those that sang and shouted Psalm 118 were at that point, at least, acknowledging that Jesus was the Messiah. Very likely, they didn't fully understand what that meant - because some of that same "very great multitude" were probably among those later in the week shouting "crucify, crucify!" However, the significance of their words is that they ARE recognizing Him as Messiah the King at this point. However, the leadership, as you know, did not. In fact, Jesus laments a couple of days later:

Matthew 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!'"

Who is He speaking to now? He speaks to Jerusalem, but in this case, Jerusalem represents the people as a whole and especially the Jewish leadership. What does He say to these non-believers - "you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!'"

What is the result of their failure to recognize Him?

Luke 19:42 "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."

Two major things are given to the Jews because of this failure. The first is that the Jews are supernaturally blinded or hardened, as the NIV says in Romans 11. This goes far beyond simple unbelief. This is a supernatural thing that only God Himself can remove. He did the same thing to Pharaoh in Exodus. First, Pharaoh hardened his own heart and rejected the Word of the Lord, and as a result, God hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he could not turn back. Jesus will explain it again a little further into John 12 (and we'll tackle it lightly again then):

John 12:37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:

"Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?"

39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: 40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them."

That "could not" is an absolute negative. Israel has been corporately (the Jews as a whole) blinded or hardened as a result of their failure to recognize Jesus as their Messiah. Romans 11 emphasizes that there was and still is a remnant that was not blinded, but corporately, the blindness continues to this day. We could spend a very long time on this subject. I won't go any more into it here, but it's another thing I encourage you to study. Many commentaries are available. Here are some online links (be discerning). This theme is woven throughout the Bible, and it's something I strongly suggest you study more than we can here.

The second thing that happened is the declaration of the coming destruction of Jerusalem, something that would come true in 70 AD. General Titus, who would later become emperor, laid siege to Jerusalem during Passover of 70 AD. If Jesus really was crucified in 32 AD, then this was exactly 38 years after Jesus gave this prophecy. The Jews ran out of food and went through terrible suffering. Those caught trying to escape were crucified, and the hillsides around Jerusalem were covered with crosses. Finally, that summer, on the 9th of Av, the Temple was completely destroyed. It caught fire, and the gold melted and dripped between the stones. The Roman soldiers tore every stone apart to get the gold.

Apparently Titus had no desire to destroy Jerusalem, and especially not the Temple, but God had other ideas. He had decreed that it must be destroyed because the Jews had not recognized the time of His visitation.

Jesus enters Jerusalem, and chronologically, the next thing He does is the cleansing of the Temple. John does not mention that. In fact, the only Temple cleansing that happens in the Gospel of John is right after the Wedding at Cana. Did it happen twice? Or did the Holy Spirit put the cleansing, which chronologically happens now, out of order in John for reasons of His own?

In any case, this is how this section of John ends:

John 12:16 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.

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. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, "You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!"

Only later do the disciples realize that they had helped fulfill prophecy. After Jesus' resurrection, the Holy Spirit came to the disciples and helped them remember everything that had happened and gave them insight as to the significance of it.

The people who saw Jesus call Lazarus out of his tomb bore witness that this was the Messiah. The message about Him spread all over the area. That's the reason that the huge crowd came out to meet Him - because they heard that He had done this sign. So many people went that it caused the Pharisees to say, "Look, the world has gone after Him!"

With the events of the Triumphal Entry on Nisan 10, what we call Palm Sunday, the events of the crucifixion are locked in. There is no turning back. Over the next four days, Jesus would be examined, just as the Passover lamb was watched and examined. That's what we'll be covering next.

 

Articles for further study:

Palm Sunday

There's hope ahead (Romans 11)

The Triumphal Entry (Luke 19:28-40)

THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY (Good article)

The Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem

The hardening (blinding) of Israel - Lots of links, use discernment

(If you really want to study Romans 11 and the blinding of Israel, I have lots of books, etc.)









The Berean Bible Study of the Gospel of John




____________________________________________________________________________

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. - Acts 17:11

© 2012 This study was written by Jacqui Komschlies and last updated 6/28/2012. If you have questions, comments, corrections or concerns, please write me.

Berean Bible Study Home Page