John 12:12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.” ESV
What is the general theme of the passage?
What seems like a victory parade for Jesus is really a crowd full of curious people. Some in this crowd wave palms because they are Jesus’s friends and support Him though they don’t fully understand His mission. Some in this crowd wave palms because they saw Jesus raise a man from death to life and it’s all they can talk about. Some in this crowd wave palms because they are filled with a kind of nationalistic fervor that Jesus may be the one God has sent to be their king. Lastly there must surely be some in this crowd that wave palms to hide their identity as enemies of Jesus and gather evidence they can use against Him. Jesus recognizes them all. He deliberately chooses a donkey’s colt, the symbol of a king coming in peace, for His last journey into Jerusalem.
What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
This IS His time and His choice. Jesus has thoughtfully managed His involvement with the crowd. He’s chosen to enter into Jerusalem as a visible sign of Peace that is to come.
What does it say about people?
Whatever the underlying motives of the crowd; friendship or nationalistic fervor, the reason why they’ve come to usher Jesus into Jerusalem is “they heard” of the amazing sign he had done in raising Lazarus.
Is there truth here for me?
Jesus is going to give them another sign that will be life restoring and make peace a part of their future. “Behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” Though they “did not understand these things at first,” some will come to recognize Jesus IS the sign to remind them “that these things had been written about Him and had been done to him” and prove the Pharisees prophetic words in a way they never intended “Look, the world has gone after him.”