Part 1: Hosanna to our King

Hosanna To Our King - Easter Series Part 1 On John 12:13Hosanna! Blessed is he Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. John 12:13)

Palm Sunday, roughly 2000 years ago, Jesus sent two of his disciples to find a donkey. This wasn’t random behaviour.

It was time.

So many moments and prayers had brought him to this place. The week of. He knew it was time to reveal, boldly yet humbly, who he was.

In the days prior, Jesus had quite publicly raised Lazarus from the dead. This event in and of itself is filled with imagery of what Jesus was about to go through. Lazarus had been dead for days, all hope was gone. Mary confronted Jesus, “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Jesus asked that the stone to Lazarus tomb be rolled away. After objecting due to the smell, they opened the tomb and Jesus yelled to Lazarus “Come out”. And he did. Still wrapped in grave clothes carrying no scent of decay. Jesus, the Messiah, the one who opened blind eyes, could raise the dead. Hope at the start of a week that would become dark and shrouded with fear. A prophetic encounter of what was to come.

That night, Jesus, his disciples, Lazarus and his sisters – many people had gathered to share a meal. What a NIGHT! The stories were travelling fast about Lazarus, and the atmosphere began to fill with expectation.

During the meal, a woman (John says that it’s Lazarus’s sister Mary, but the other Gospel writers don’t confirm this), scandalously anoints Jesus feet with an expensive perfumed oil. She poured it ALL out, sparing none, upon his feet and ankles, her tears mixed in. She wiped and massaged it into his flesh with her hair.

Being anointed with oil held great significance in the ancient Near East. A priest or prophet would anoint someone for a special task or role, consecrating them to the task. This rich and strong perfumed oil was thick and melted into the skin, leaving a fragrance that would last for days, if not weeks. Kings were anointed with this oil and wore if often, you could smell them coming.

This is what the anonymous woman anointed Jesus with. She was rebuked by Judas, by Jesus held him back, giving them another hint of what was coming, of what could be felt in the atmosphere, but not articulated in minds and hearts.

“Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honouring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You won’t always have me.”(John 12).

She was anointing her King. And he smelt like it for days. When he was on trial and charged, when they stripped and tortured him, paraded him through the streets, nailed him to a cross on Golgotha, the sweet scent of kingly fragrance mixed with blood would have mingled with the air.

By the time Sunday came around, people were flocking to Jerusalem to prepare for Passover. Rumours about Lazarus, and of Jesus’s anointing from a woman, had spread like wildfire. Some were plotting to kill him, others were planning on following him, and together the air was electric with every kind of possibility.

When King David wanted to build the temple, God stopped him (more on the temple tomorrow). David had been a warrior King, ruling with violence and power, he had innocent blood on his hands. God said the one to build his temple would be a man of peace, and that it would be his son Solomon. When Solomon was anointed King, he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. God had promised David that his bloodline would sit on the throne always.

Now, Jesus, of the tribe of Benjamin, a direct descendant of David by his mother, rode into Jerusalem astride a donkey. The smell of royalty was flowing from him and stories of his might (not to kill but to revive) were circulating. He was headed to the temple, the one built on the same site as Solomon’s. But he had a new kind of temple in mind… All around him the people cried,

“Hosanna,
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the king of Israel!”

All these stories, and more, weaved through the ages, culminated in this moment to begin a new chapter. One that fulfilled the old and brought hope for the future.

But there was still more to do…

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