The Gospel of John – Lesson 33 – John 12:12-26
12 The next day, the large crowd that had come for the Festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 Taking palm branches, they went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord—the King of Israel!” 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written: 15 Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look! Your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt. 16 At first, his disciples did not understand these things. But when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and that they did these things for him. 17 The crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead kept telling what they had seen. 18 This is another reason a crowd met him: They heard he had done this miraculous sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see? You are accomplishing nothing. Look! The world has gone after him.” 20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew. Andrew came with Philip and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Amen, Amen, I tell you: Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it continues to be one kernel. But if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 Anyone who loves his life destroys it. And the one who hates his life in this world will hold on to it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, let him follow me. And where I am, there my servant will be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
Everyone wanted to see Jesus. It’s not hard to understand why. The crowds that traveled with Jesus from Bethany wanted to keep on seeing Jesus after they witnessed how he raised Lazarus from the dead. The people of Jerusalem wanted to see Jesus. They heard about this powerful miracle and all the others that Jesus performed. Perhaps Jesus would do more miracles in their presence. Some Greeks who were in Jerusalem for the Passover wanted to see Jesus. They even approached Philip, one of the twelve disciples to see if he could get them an audience with Jesus.
As Jesus approached Jerusalem, the crowds who wanted to see him said the right things. “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord—the King of Israel!” With these words, the people acknowledged that Jesus is the Savior that God promised to send. They confessed he is the true King of Israel. The word “Hosanna” literally means to “save.” But it soon became evident that the people really didn’t understand the work Jesus came to do. The people of Israel wanted a savior who would be a powerful king to make Israel into a great nation as they had been in the days of David and Solomon. They wanted someone to drive the Roman Empire out of their nation so they would be free again. As Jesus entered Jerusalem on the day we now call Palm Sunday, they believed Jesus could be the one God promised to send. Jesus already demonstrated his great power in all the miracles he did. Surely this man was the Savior they were looking for.
But Jesus taught that he came for a different reason. Jesus is the Savior God promised. But he wouldn’t establish his kingdom through great military victories. To be the Savior and King the people needed Jesus needed to die. Jesus used the example of a kernel of wheat to explain his mission. For a seed to achieve its purpose it needs to be buried in the ground. There the seed ceases to be a seed. It sprouts and grows and finally becomes a plant that produces wheat. In the same way, Jesus needed to die and be buried in the ground. Then he would rise again. The result would be a harvest of many souls who believe in Jesus and receive eternal life with him in heaven.
Like the Greeks who came to Philip, we want to see Jesus also. We’re not looking for a Savior who will give us a carefree and prosperous life on earth. We know that our life here will often be the opposite. To truly see and follow Jesus means we are ready to take up our cross and follow him. Jesus gave himself fully to the work of saving us, even though it cost him his life. We are ready to endure hardships in order to do the work our Lord gives us. We know that this life is only a temporary existence. By the grace of God, we see Jesus as the Savior who died and rose again. He is our eternal King who came to save us from our sins and to make us part of the harvest of souls that will one day join him forever in heaven.
1 – Look at the greeting the people shouted to Jesus as he approached Jerusalem. What were they confessing about Jesus with these words?
The word “Hosanna” means “save.” Whether the people understood it or not they were asking Jesus to be their Savior. When they called him “he who comes in the name of the Lord” they were confessing he is the Christ, the one whom God had promised to send to destroy the devil and his work. When they called him the King of Israel they confessed that he was descended from the line of David. He came to establish the throne of David forever as God had promised. (See 2 Samuel 7:16) This doesn’t mean he will establish an earthly kingdom. He reigns over all creation now and he will reign for all eternity in heaven.
2 – What did the disciples fail to understand at first when Jesus entered Jerusalem? (see verse 16)
They failed to see that Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday was in fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. Later, by the work of the Holy Spirit, the disciples saw that all this was further proof that Jesus is the Savior God promised to send.
3 – Some Greeks visiting Jerusalem wanted to see Jesus. What was Jesus trying to teach them in his response to their request? (See verses 23-24)
Jesus wanted everyone to understand that the reason he came to earth was to die and rise again. By his great sacrifice and resurrection he would win forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and salvation for all who trust in him as their Savior.
4 – What lesson did Jesus want to teach us in verses 25-26?
Jesus wants us to understand what it means to follow him. Our focus will not be on this world and all that it offers. This is only our temporary home. Those who are focused only on this world have no place with Jesus in the life to come. Rather we want to focus our lives on following Jesus, by doing the will of God. God’s will is that we believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and our Savior and that we will show our love for God by striving to do his will in the world, even if it means we will suffer hardship for doing so.
If you have any questions about the Word of God we studied in this lesson please contact Pastor Greg Tobison. You can send your questions to