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Daily Reading: (John 12:1-2, 9-11):
“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well,for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.”
To begin with we learn some interesting facts. Lazarus lived in Bethany. Bethany means either “house of affliction” or “house of figs” depending on the language of either Aramaic or Hebrew. Bethany was a lovely place at the foot of the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem. It was the perfect place for Jesus to stay right before his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. At this moment in time the text tells us that we are only six days away from Passover. Jesus would be our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). At the third hour (9:00 AM), Israel’s high priest tied the Passover lamb to the altar for sacrifice. At that exact moment outside the city walls of Jerusalem, Jesus, the Lamb of God, was nailed to the cross. For six hours both the Passover lamb and Jesus the Lamb of God, awaited death. Finally, at the ninth hour (3:00 PM), the high priest ascended the altar in the temple and sacrificed the Passover lamb.
At that exact moment from the Cross- Christ’s words thundered out over the city of Jerusalem, “It is finished!” Before this moment of victory- we are first brought to Bethany. Lazarus who had been brought back from the dead by Jesus was with Jesus. Through the Resurrection of Lazarus, Jesus declared that He is “the Resurrection and the Life and the one who believes in Him will live, even though they die” (John 11:25-26). Jesus didn’t just declare He is the Resurrection through His words only but through His actions too. The proof that Jesus is the Resurrection is seen in Lazarus who is there with them all.
“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him” (John 12:1-2).
“Lazarus was reclining.” This means that Lazarus was enjoying himself, resting and relaxing with Jesus.Sometimes, the hardest thing for us to do is to sit down with Jesus and relax and simply enjoy time spent with Him. It is a challenge to cease from our own efforts and enter into His rest. Rely solely in Jesus’ unmerited favor is what we must strive to do.
“The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel” (John 12:12-13)!
The people shouted, “hosanna” but what is hosanna?
If you look up hosanna in the Greek you find out there is no such word. What they did is they took the Hebrew word and they tried to copy the sound of it in the Greek. The crowd shouted and the sound they made sounded like hosanna. Hosanna is actually not a Hebrew word at all either, it is a Hebrew phrase. Hoshiya na. is found only one time in the whole Old Testament, Psalm 118:25, where it means, “Save, please!” It is a cry to God for help.
So, if you grew up with older brothers and sisters in your household you knew the concept of the word hosanna. I hear it every week in my house. “Save me daddy.” Because someone bigger and stronger (our older brother) has taken us captive and all we can do is shout out for someone bigger and stronger than ourselves (daddy) to intervene in our situation. Do for us what we are powerless to do for ourselves. So, the Jewish pilgrims are heading into Jerusalem their hometown which is currently occupied by the bigger stronger Romans and they are shouting, “hosanna” because they believe someone stronger has arrived. “Jesus, save us from the Romans.” They should be shouting hosanna, but for a different reason. An even stronger enemy has you captive, save us from sin and death.
So, the only instance we have of hosanna being used before this point in history is what David wrote in the Psalms, but Jesus elevated hosanna to a much higher level. David prayed, “please Lord save us” (Psalm 118:25). God’s answer to David’s prayer was Jesus (John 12:13), “your salvation has come.”
Something happened to that phrase, hoshiya na (hosanna) took on new meaning with Jesus as He entered into Jerusalem. Jesus changed everything. Hosanna was no longer a cry for help as in “save us now” it changed into a shout of hope and exultation, it became “salvation has come!” It is the hope and joy within an individual who sees that salvation is on the way.
And so “Hosanna to the Son of David!” means, “The Son of David is our salvation! Hooray for the king! Salvation belongs to the king!” He has come to rescue us, to deliver us. They are excited because they have living proof (Lazarus) of what Jesus could do.
“So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well,for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him” (John 12:10-11).
The reason Lazarus was a threat was because his testimony of what God had done in his life, was resulting in people receiving everlasting Resurrection life through Jesus. We all who believe, have a powerful story of what Jesus has done in our life, just like Lazarus. As you reflect on what Christ has done for you, by relaxing, resting, and spending time with Jesus, being in the presence of the Lord, God’s grace will flow to you and through you, resulting in other’s receiving the salvation of the Lord.