Last week we read that Jesus came to Bethany and stayed with his friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. A message of work, witness, and worship emerged from his hosts. One outside of the faith might comment, “What kind of friendship is that? Jesus came and visited, but the visit became all about him.” Fair question, but the reason for the undivided attention was Jesus had become personal to them; he had raised Lazarus from the dead. He had earned their devotion.
In our message today Jesus is arriving in Jerusalem, and as he entered the city it, “went out” (John 12:13). The phrase means they gave him a triumphant parade; a big deal in the day. The crowds’ interest in Jesus was based on rumors; stories of how Jesus had performed mighty signs. The crowd hoped if they paid him some attention he in turn would dance for them; meet their agenda.
Going up to Jerusalem is a metaphor in the Bible for fulfilling God’s will. Jesus didn’t come to dance for people, but to be obedient to his Father, God; to go to the cross. At the cross Jesus becomes personal to us, for at the cross he raises us as he raised Lazarus, and he earns our devotion.
He loved us first,