Palm Sunday | Jesus & the Hopeful

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SERMON TEXT: JOHN 12:9-23

When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.

The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—the King of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him. So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify. It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him. The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!”

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified."

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. As you read the passage from John 12, compare and contrast what the crowd hopes Jesus will do and what Jesus will actually do when he enters Jerusalem. In what ways do you think the crowd attaches its hopes rightly and/or wrongly to Jesus? How are you like the crowd in the story?
  2. How does this “Palm Sunday” episode of the story of Christ help us live with hope when what God is actually doing doesn’t seem to match what we think God ought to be doing?
  3. How do your struggles with contentment and courage expose your own misplaced hopes? What do you think it might look like to cultivate “habits of hope” that would help you experience life with God more fully and help you become a greater blessing to others?