“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”—John 12:23 (NIV)
Have you ever found yourself traveling down the road on your way to something you know will be a significant moment in your life? Maybe you were on your way to your first day of college or to interview for your dream job. Or maybe you were driving to your wedding or speeding to the hospital for the birth of your child.
Undoubtedly, this ride is different from your usual trip to the grocery store! Your heart is racing as your mind plays out every possible scenario.
Imagine how Jesus must have felt as He traveled down the road about to enter Jerusalem, knowing that this road ultimately would end in His death. Jesus knew that He’d be betrayed, imprisoned, tortured, and killed, but He also knew that “the hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified” (John 12:23 NKJV). He was at the doorstep of the dream, on the precipice of God’s great plan . . . You see, Jesus was on a mission to tear down the great divide between God and man (2 Corinthians 5:18), to render sin powerless (Romans 6:6), to defeat death (1 Corinthians 15:55), and to set us free (Galatians 5:1). Nothing was going to stop Him from fulfilling His mission to rescue mankind. Heaven was going to break through; this was the moment, this was the hour!
And look what happened next: “When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, He sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, ‘Hosanna!’ ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest heaven’” (Mark 11:7–10 NIV!
The phrase “in the highest” implies to the utmost, to the highest degree. Many scholars believe the Jews were most likely calling on heaven to participate in glorifying the inbound itinerant preacher with cries of salvation. Why? To confirm their growing suspicion that the One, the Christ, had finally arrived.
These shouts of adoration showed that at least some of the Jewish people—who had seen miracles, listened to revolutionary teachings, and heard rumblings and rumors about this Jesus all around the Jewish world for the past three years—believed their Messiah was finally riding in to bring salvation, free them from their Roman captors, and establish His everlasting kingdom. And as is typical with large crowds, excitement and expectation began to spread, and soon the masses began to shout in unison.
But humans are fickle, impulsive, and easily swayed creatures, and just a few short days later, the very crowd that shouted “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” was incited to shout “Crucify Him” (Matthew 27:22) at the behest of the religious leaders!
And here’s the craziest thing about it all: Jesus knew this would happen! He knew what would unfold; He knew He would be betrayed by a friend and then by the people He’d come for; He knew He would suffer greatly; He knew He would be subjected to a criminal’s death. But He did it anyway because He loves us so deeply and completely and unconditionally!
Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) tell us that “for the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame.” What joy? The joy of redeeming and restoring us to right relationship with God, to make us children of God, to give us everlasting life in His kingdom! He did it for the joy of you! Psalm 18:19 (ESV) says, “He brought me out into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.” And because He delights in you and desires a relationship with you, He took the trek. He climbed on that donkey and rode to His destiny.