March 18, 2018
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL
Our gospel reading from the gospel according to John comes from the 12th chapter. In the verses just preceding this reading, Jesus has entered Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, accompanied by crowds shouting “Hosanna,” and waving palm branches. It’s worth considering that only in John’s gospel are the branches specified as palm branches. Since the Maccabean period of about 167-160 BCE, palm branches were symbols of national triumph and victory. The palm branches point us to the fact that the crowd greets Jesus as their national hero. This only increases the discomfort of the Roman authorities. In this scripture, John points out that “some Greeks” have come up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. They find Philip and ask him to take them to Jesus.
Let’s listen for God’s gracious word to us in that encounter with Jesus in John 12: 20-33
20 Now among those who went up to worship at the …