- John 11:20-25 (KJV)
In the days leading up to the first Palm Sunday, Jesus and his Disciples were largely keeping a low profile. They spent much time in discussion and meditation among themselves because He and they both knew that the Temple leaders were looking for Him. The visitations with others they had were usually small and private to keep from drawing attention from the soldiers and other representatives of the religious hierarchy, seeking to zero in on his location.
Jesus knew of the appointed time and place for Him to come out boldly in public and He also knew what that would lead to, and since the appointed time was not yet arrived, he was cautious and pensive. But when he got word from His good friends Mary and sister Martha that their brother Lazarus was ill and would likely die, He knew He would go to them, yet delayed His visit for a short time.
Two days later, Jesus told the Disciples it was now time to make the trip to see the sisters and their gravely ill brother. The Disciples were troubled, pleading Him not to go because He would likely be captured by the Temple soldiers. Jesus advised them that He was going and one of their members, Thomas, said that they should accompany Him and die with Him if necessary. They all finally agreed and they were off for Bethany, the town of Lazarus' home and only a few miles from Jerusalem.
When they arrived, Martha greeted them as they neared the town and she was visibly upset. She asked why Jesus had delayed His trip and that now Lazarus had been dead for four days. Jesus' answer to her, or at least important parts of her, are found in the opening scripture. Jesus used the death of Lazarus for a final miracle by bringing Lazarus back to life from the tomb and he restored him as he had been before death, only no longer racked with pain and suffering. It was a lasting miracle performed to represent to a doubting world what belief in Him and Everlasting Life were all about. And it was very shortly thereafter that Jesus and His Disciples headed to Jersusalem for His final visit in human form.
Jesus knew that the soldiers would be looking for Him, but He also knew He would present Himself at the gates of the City a humble King of Kings with no throne and no red carpet, accompanied by throngs of people who met Him on His way. This would require the Temple leaders to create a strong case against Jesus, for Passover week crowds were now already moving into Jerusalem and a public arrest would just create unrest which would upset their Roman masters.
The period of quiet and solitude that Jesus and His Disciples had experienced came to a close on the afternoon of Palm Sunday upon His arrival with cheers and adoration. But they wouldn't last long, as the cheers later in the week turned to boos and a manipulated crowd soon would chant the horrible words "CRUCIFY HIM" instead of "Master, Lord or Savior" as the Temple plotters smiled with satisfaction.
We will continue following the story day by day beginning Monday as the countdown to trial, death and then resurrection begins Monday. Easter Week: A Time of Triumph, then defeat and death, and finally a time of rebirth and Glory will be the topic all week. The story that changed the world and the hope of all mankind is worth a full week, don't you think? Be blessed, have faith and belief and your future is assured.