12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: 15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.
Thoughts: When Jesus went into Jerusalem what were the disciples thinking? John admits that they had no idea that he was fulfilling scripture. It was only looking back that they could piece the puzzle together. They saw the crowd, and saw the parade. Often we are unable to digest what God is trying to tell us until after the event happens. Luke speaks of the disciples finding the donkey at Jesus' request, while John speaks of Jesus finding the donkey (perhaps through the means of the disciples). John is here indicating that the disciples did not plan this as if it were a production.
Prayer: When great events too big for me are going on around me, Lord, give me grace to discern their meaning. Help me to see your providential hand leading and teaching me in life.
John Calvin Abridged: The other gospels tell us more about this event, but John gives us the basics. Jesus came to Jerusalem of his own accord to offer himself to die. He openly declares he begins his reign by going to die. Yet He remained unknown to his enemies until he proved himself as the Messiah by the fulfillment of prophecies. The palm was a symbol of victory and peace "Hosanna" (Ps. 118:25) was a shout acknowledging Him as the Messiah.