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Daily Readings in John – Day Forty-One

November 29, 2017

John 12:9-19 (NRSV)

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. 10 So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.

12 The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 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!”

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

15 “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion.
Look, 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 had been written of him and had been done to him. 17 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. 18 It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him. 19 The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!”

There’s so much in this passage, that I don’t know where to start commenting or where to focus. There’s the utter meanness, the cold political calculus of the plot against Jesus extending to Lazurus as well.

By contrast, there’s the jubilant celebration of the crowds as Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. John has Jesus in and out of Jerusalem throughout the book of signs (first half/first twelve chapters of his memoirs), but usually arriving in secret. This time, it’s public. This time, there’s a symbolic gesture associated with messianic prophecy. This time, the crowds are shouting a Hebrew word of praise – Hosanna – he saves!

And then there’s John’s quiet reflection at the end. Crowds are testifying – something true and important is being noticed. Closest apprentices are confused. Cultural and religious elites are befuddled. Truth, confusion, chaos…

Let’s try lectio divina – divine reading – again. Read the passage once, asking what words or phrases stick out to you. Read it a second time, asking what those words or phrases mean to you. And read it a third time, asking if you’re compelled to do anything.

Peace to you today.

We’re nearing the end of the Book of Signs and the end of this blogging for now. Two more days.