Read John 12:9-19

 

When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.  So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.

 

The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.  So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord– the King of Israel!”

 

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:

             “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion.

            Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

 

His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.

 

So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify.  It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him.

 

The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!”

(NRSV)

 

from Rev. Dennis Sparks, Executive Director, West Virginia Council of Churches

 

            Sometimes good news comes in an entangled mess and flurry of dangerous conflict. As the crowd followed Jesus, celebrating His raising of one of their own from the dead, threatened religious leaders plotted to take the life of Jesus and Lazarus, the recipient of the “sign”.

            On Palm Sunday, John’s gospel reminds us, the joy of waving palm branches and shouting “Hosanna” is meshed in conflict. At what point will each of us decide the conflict surrounding our faith is too challenging?  At first, the crowd stood steadfast and “testified” for Jesus. Days later (John 18:41), the crowd traded Jesus for a bandit. John reminds us, the disciples did not understand these things until the glory of Jesus came as the sign of God’s hope.

 

We often do not understand, O Lord.

Give us an open spirit, that we may find hope in these days.

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