John 12:14-26

Henry Mahan

(Vs. 14-15) John simply states that Christ found a young ass on which to ride into Jerusalem. "He found it" because He directed His disciples WHERE to find it (Luke 19: 29-35). What He did was a clear fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, and the people and their leaders should have understood it. The daughter of Zion (people of Jerusalem) is told that their spiritual Messiah, the One Who will open a fountain for sin and uncleanness (Zech. 13:1), has come. To emphasize the peaceful character of His coming and His reign, He is mounted on the colt of an ass. He comes as the Lamb of God, the Prince of Peace, not as a war-lord. The King is meek, lowly, gentle; and He brings salvation (Luke 19:10; I Tim. 1:15). The Lord publicly placed Himself prominently before the people of Israel by fulfilling all of the Old Testament prophecies. He demonstrated that He was none other than Israel's true King. They rejected Him! (Isa. 53:1-3; John 1:11.) He was making it perfectly clear that He was the Messiah but that His kingdom was "not of this world."

(Vs. 16) John confesses his own ignorance and that of the other disciples. They saw Christ riding into Jerusalem on the ass, the people scattering the palm branches and their clothes before Him, crying, "Hosanna to the King of Israel;" but to what purpose this was done and what prophecies were fulfilled they understood not; for, like the others, they thought of the Messiah as a Jewish ruler. But after Christ died and rose again, they began to remember His words concerning these things and why they were done, as Peter clearly preached at Pentecost (Acts 2:32-36).

(Vs. 17-18) The chief reason for all this acclaim and great welcome by the people in Jerusalem was that they had heard directly from a number of witnesses (who were with Him when He raised Lazarus) that He had indeed raised a man who had been dead four days. Jarius' daughter had just died, and the widow's son was not yet buried when he was raised; but Lazarus they knew had been buried for four days! It made a strong impact on the people, so they were ready to make Him King.

(Vs. 19) The more radical Pharisees said to the reluctant party, "You gain nothing by your delays and by suffering this man Jesus to continue. Something must be done now or it will be too late. The world (or the public in general) has gone (away from us) after Him." It is not enough just to turn His followers out of the synagogue; He must be killed.

(Vs. 20-22) There were certain Greeks or Gentiles, who were commonly called proselytes (uncircumcised converts to the religion of the Jews), who came to Jerusalem to worship at the feast (Acts 8:27). These Gentiles had given up their idols and worshipped the One God – the God of Israel. These people were allowed to come to the temple as far as the court of the Gentiles (Isa. 56:6-7; I Kings 8:41-42). These men, being Gentiles, did not feel at liberty to approach the Lord Jesus; so they told Phillip that they wished to see the Lord. This request presented problems to Phillip. (1) Would not the Lord invite not only the wrath of the Pharisees but also the wrath of all the Jewish people if He visited with these Gentiles? (2) But has not the Lord spoken of "other sheep, which were not of this fold"? The problem being too great for Phillip, he consulted with Andrew; and they both placed the request before the Lord Jesus.

(Vs. 23) It would seem to most that the Lord Jesus did not reveal to the disciples whether the Greeks should be given an audience with Him or not. But He most certainly declared that the only way that ANY MAN, JEW OR GREEK, may approach Him, be accepted, and see His glory is for the Son of Man "to be glorified." He must die, rise from the dead, ascend to heaven, and serve as our Mediator. His gospel would be preached to Gentiles as well as to Jews, and all nations would come to God by Him. The Gentiles must,"see Him" as Redeemer of sinners, not as this curious multitude saw Him, a Jewish King Messiah.

(Vs. 24) Consider ordinary farming. The grain of wheat must first be buried and lose its form before it springs up again and bears fruit. So it is with the Son of Man. He must be crucified for sin, buried, and rise again that the law might be honored, the justice of God might be satisfied, and there might be a gospel of life. If He does not die (like the corn of wheat), He abides alone with no people, no fruit! Without His blood and death, there Ss no remission of sin. But His death will be productive of MUCH FRUIT from every tribe, kindred, and nation.

(Vs. 25) So it is with those who would be disciples of Christ. If we hold to, protect, and shield this life from being crucified and buried with Christ, if we refuse to be identified with Him in truth, suffering for the gospel even to death, we shall lose our souls. But if (like the farmer who in faith cast his wheat into the ground, believing in the future harvest) we cast our lives, hope, and future to Christ, with Christ, and for Christ (caring not for worldly security, comfort, nor praise), we shall live forever! (II Tim. 1:8-12.)

(Vs. 26) "If any man is willing to be My disciple (bondslave), let Him follow Me all the way! When the issue is between Me and My gospel on the one hand, and whatever has been nearest and dearest to him (father, mother, family, the world, his own life) on the other hand, My servant will follow Me" (Matt. 10: 37-39; Matt. 16:24-26). "Where I am," in the love of the Father, accepted and exalted, seated at His right hand, "there shall My servant be." "The Father Who loves Me will honor those who honor Me."

Henry Mahan
Ashland, Ky.