Six days before the Passover ceremonies began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus -- the man he had raised from the dead.
A dinner was prepared in Jesus' honor. Martha served, and Lazarus sat at the table with him.
Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar a of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus' feet with it and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with fragrance.
But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples -- the one who would betray him -- said,
"That perfume was worth a small fortune. b It should have been sold and the money given to the poor."
Not that he cared for the poor -- he was a thief who was in charge of the disciples' funds, and he often took some for his own use.
Jesus replied, "Leave her alone. She did it in preparation for my burial. 8You will always have the poor among you, but I will not be here with you much longer."9
When all the people c heard of Jesus' arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead.
Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too,
for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.
The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A huge crowd of Passover visitors
took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted, "Praise God! d Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel!" e14
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said:
"Don't be afraid, people of Israel. f Look, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt." g16
His disciples didn't realize at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered that these Scriptures had come true before their eyes.
Those in the crowd who had seen Jesus call Lazarus back to life were telling others all about it.
That was the main reason so many went out to meet him -- because they had heard about this mighty miracle.
Then the Pharisees said to each other, "We've lost. Look, the whole world has gone after him!"
Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem to attend the Passover
paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, "Sir, we want to meet Jesus."
Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.
Jesus replied, "The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. 24The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil. Unless it dies it will be alone -- a single seed. But its death will produce many new kernels -- a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who despise their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26All those who want to be my disciples must come and follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And if they follow me, the Father will honor them. 27Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, 'Father, save me from what lies ahead'? But that is the very reason why I came! 28Father, bring glory to your name."Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, "I have already brought it glory, and I will do it again."29
When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.
Then Jesus told them, "The voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31The time of judgment for the world has come, when the prince of this world h will be cast out. 32And when I am lifted up on the cross, i I will draw everyone to myself." 33
He said this to indicate how he was going to die.
"Die?" asked the crowd. "We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. Why are you saying the Son of Man will die? Who is this Son of Man you are talking about?"
Jesus replied, "My light will shine out for you just a little while longer. Walk in it while you can, so you will not stumble when the darkness falls. If you walk in the darkness, you cannot see where you are going. 36Believe in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light." After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.
But despite all the miraculous signs he had done, most of the people did not believe in him.
This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted: "Lord, who has believed our message? To whom will the Lord reveal his saving power?" j39
But the people couldn't believe, for as Isaiah also said,
"The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts -- so their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them." k41
Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he made this prediction, because he was given a vision of the Messiah's glory.
Many people, including some of the Jewish leaders, believed in him. But they wouldn't admit it to anyone because of their fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue.
For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.
Jesus shouted to the crowds, "If you trust me, you are really trusting God who sent me. 45For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. 46I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the darkness. 47If anyone hears me and doesn't obey me, I am not his judge -- for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. 48But all who reject me and my message will be judged at the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. 49I don't speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me gave me his own instructions as to what I should say. 50And I know his instructions lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say!"
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)