The Pharisees Plan Goes Awry
  • Read 9-13, 14-19
  • Read Mark

(John 12:9) When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.

  • Who is this crowd? They were likely…
    • Not from Jerusalem. They had come especially for the feast, so they were probably Galileans, familiar with Jesus from His ministry in their regions prior.
  • Was Lazarus overshadowing Christ?
    • I think this is the first subtle clue that the people are more into the spectacle than Jesus, Himself.

(John 12:10) So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well,
(John 12:11) because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

  • "Going away"?
  • You would think a guy being raised from the dead would convince them, but as Jesus says in Luke 16:31, "And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. "
  • A little bit of sin always leads to more sin, like David and Bathsheba.
    • Now they were going to have to take out an innocent Jewish guy.

The chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also: The chief priests were mostly Sadducees, and the Sadducees didn't believe in the resurrection. Lazarus was a living example of life after death, and having him around was an embarrassment to their theological system. For them, there was only one solution to this embarrassing problem - to put Lazarus to death also.

(John 12:12) The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.
(John 12:13) So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!"

'The road [between Jericho and Jerusalem that Jesus would have traveled on] soon loses sight of Bethany. It is now a rough, but still broad and well-defined mountain-track, winding over rock and loose stones; a steep declivity on the left [that's a steep downward slope]; the sloping shoulder of Olivet above on the right; fig-trees below and above, here and there growing out of the rocky soil.' Somewhere here the disciples who brought 'the colt' must have met Him. They were accompanied by many, and immediately followed by more. Beth-fu-gee [the village on the outskirts of Jerusalem where the disciples got the colt] formed almost part of Jerusalem, and [at this time] must have been crowded by pilgrims, who could not find accommodation within the City walls. And the announcement, that disciples of Jesus had just fetched the beast of burden on which Jesus was about to enter Jerusalem, must have quickly spread among the crowds which thronged the Temple and the City. (Edersheim)

  • People probably had an impressive "carpet" made of nearby plants and branches and their own clothes.

Took branches of palm trees: Palm branches were a symbol of Jewish nationalism making this feel more like a patriotic rally, and the crowds were seeing Jesus as a political and national savior, and missing the point of Him being a spiritual savior.

  • Hosanna?
  • Comes from the Hebrew "Hoshianna" which means, "Save us now", "Save, we beseech you" (Ps. 118:25) (Calvin)

(John 12:14) And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
(John 12:15) "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!"
(John 12:16) His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.

  • Disciples had forgotten Zech 9:9.

(John 12:17) The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness.
(John 12:18) The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.
(John 12:19) So the Pharisees said to one another, "You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him."

  • Here you see two common manifestations of human nature that result from fighting against God's plan:
    • Frustration. Fight against God's plan, and you are bound to be frustrated.
    • The blame game: Pharisees say "you see that you are gaining nothing."

Next Week…

  • Jesus solemnly declares that the time is now at hand.
  • The people, expecting their Roman oppressors to be instantly vanquished in a giant mushroom cloud are sadly disillusioned.

Parallel Information


(Zechariah 9:9) Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.


(Matthew 21:1) And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Beth-fu-gee, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,

(Matthew 21:2) Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.

(Matthew 21:3) And if any man say aught unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.

(Matthew 21:4) All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,

(Matthew 21:5) Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy king cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

(Matthew 21:6) And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,

(Matthew 21:7) And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.

(Matthew 21:8) And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strewed them in the way.

(Matthew 21:9) And the multitudes that went before, and thatfollowed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

(Matthew 21:10) And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?

(Matthew 21:11) And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

(Matthew 21:12) And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,

(Matthew 21:13) And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

(Matthew 21:14) And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.

(Matthew 21:15) And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased,

(Matthew 21:16) And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise


(Mark 11:1) And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Beth-fu-gee and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,

(Mark 11:2) And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.

(Mark 11:3) And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.

(Mark 11:4) And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.

(Mark 11:5) And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?

(Mark 11:6) And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.

(Mark 11:7) And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.

(Mark 11:8) And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strewed them in the way.

(Mark 11:9) And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:

(Mark 11:10) Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.


(Luke 19:36) And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.

(Luke 19:37) And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;

(Luke 19:38) Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

(Luke 19:39) And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.

(Luke 19:40) And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

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