The World Has Gone After Him
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem marks a turning point in His ministry where He takes on a more public role than ever before. The crowd that welcomes Him is large, and their presence is felt as they wave palm branches and announce Jesus as the King of Israel. Jesus does not rebuke the crowd but chooses to enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey, signifying His humility while also fulfilling messianic prophecy. John notes that the disciples are initially confused about the events taking place, but later understand that all of Scripture points to Jesus. Though the crowds will soon dissipate when they realize Jesus’s mission is not to conquer but to lay down His life, the Pharisees presciently recognize that Jesus has a following that defies human explanation and encompasses more people than could be expected. John thus provides for us a model of the characteristics of Christ’s kingdom on earth and His kingdom yet to come.
01. Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem is a fulfillment of prophecy, placing Jesus at the center of history.
02. Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem is a depiction of His kingdom, advancing without weaponry.
03. Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem is a foreshadowing of His return, assuring us of His victory.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. In what ways did the crowds make the arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem public? How does this public arrival differ from Jesus’s previous habit of withdrawing from public notice? (See John 11:54 for example). Why does Jesus allow this publicity to continue during this point in His ministry?
2. Given the reference to raising Lazarus from the dead (verse 17), what might be the motive behind the crowds presenting Jesus as the King of Israel? Put another way, what kind of king were they expecting? How does Jesus’s choice of riding on a donkey rather than a war horse, contradict their idea of a conquering king?
3. How does Jesus’s entry challenge our understanding of the use of power, force, or authority as we present Him as King? Is the Christian faith best spread by the use of power, force, or authority, or is it best spread by sharing the gospel and trusting in the work of the Spirit to transform the hearts of people? See Paul’s testimony before Agrippa in Acts 26 for further insight.
4. Why were the disciples slow to understand what Jesus was doing (verse 16)? How often in the gospels do they misunderstand the mission of Jesus? How did they later come to understand the meaning of this event (verse 16; see also John 16:12-15)? How does their slowness to comprehend the teachings of Jesus encourage us to study the Bible, believe its contents, and remain humble in our understanding?
5. When the Pharisees concluded that “the whole world” had gone after Jesus, it strengthened their resolve to have Him put to death. Why was the death of Jesus not the end of Christianity but the beginning? How does the spread of the gospel in the face of persecution encourage you to share your faith with others today? Are you confident that Jesus will one day return as the King of Kings?
For Further Reading: Christopher Catherwood, Church History: A Crash Course for the Curious (Crossway, 2007)