It was six days before the Passover Feast. Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived. Lazarus was the one Jesus had raised from the dead.
A dinner was given at Bethany to honor Jesus. Martha served the food. Lazarus was among those at the table with Jesus.
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard. It was an expensive perfume. She poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the sweet smell of the perfume.
But Judas Iscariot didn't like what Mary did. He was one of Jesus' disciples. Later he was going to hand Jesus over to his enemies. Judas said,
"Why wasn't this perfume sold? Why wasn't the money given to poor people? It was worth a year's pay."
He didn't say this because he cared about the poor. He said it because he was a thief. Judas was in charge of the money bag. He used to help himself to what was in it.
"Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "The perfume was meant for the day I am buried.
You will always have the poor among you. But you won't always have me."
Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there, so they came. But they did not come only because of Jesus. They also came to see Lazarus. After all, Jesus had raised him from the dead.
So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus too.
Because of Lazarus, many of the Jews were starting to follow Jesus. They were putting their faith in him.
The next day the large crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.
So they took branches from palm trees and went out to meet him. They shouted, "Hosanna! " "Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Psalm 118:25,26) "Blessed is the King of Israel!"
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it. This is just as it is written in Scripture. It says,
"City of Zion, do not be afraid. See, your king is coming. He is sitting on a donkey's colt." (Zechariah 9:9)
At first, Jesus' disciples did not understand all this. They realized it only after he had received glory. Then they realized that these things had been written about him. They realized that the people had done these things to him.
A crowd had been with Jesus when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead. So they continued to tell everyone about what had happened.
Many people went out to meet him. They had heard that he had done this miraculous sign.
So the Pharisees said to one another, "This isn't getting us anywhere. Look how the whole world is following him!"
There were some Greeks among the people who went up to worship during the Feast.
They came to ask Philip for a favor. Philip was from Bethsaida in Galilee. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus."
Philip went to tell Andrew. Then Andrew and Philip told Jesus.
Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to receive glory.
What I'm about to tell you is true. Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only one seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
"Anyone who loves his life will lose it. But anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it and have eternal life.
Anyone who serves me must follow me. And where I am, my servant will also be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
"My heart is troubled. What should I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No. This is the very reason I came to this hour.
Father, bring glory to your name!" Then a voice came from heaven. It said, "I have brought glory to my name. I will bring glory to it again."
The crowd there heard the voice. Some said it was thunder. Others said an angel had spoken to Jesus.
Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine.
Now it is time for the world to be judged. Now the prince of this world will be thrown out.
But I am going to be lifted up from the earth. When I am, I will bring all people to myself."
He said this to show them how he was going to die.
The crowd spoke up. "The Law tells us that the Christ will remain forever," they said. "So how can you say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this 'Son of Man'?"
Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light. Do this before darkness catches up with you. Anyone who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.
While you have the light, put your trust in it. Then you can become sons of light." When Jesus had finished speaking, he left and hid from them.
Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in front of them. But they still would not believe in him.
This happened as Isaiah the prophet had said it would. He had said, "Lord, who has believed what we've been saying? Who has seen the Lord's saving power?" (Isaiah 53:1)
For this reason, they could not believe. As Isaiah says in another place,
"The Lord has blinded their eyes. He has closed their minds. So they can't see with their eyes. They can't understand with their minds. They can't turn to the Lord. If they could, he would heal them." (Isaiah 6:10)
Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.
At the same time that Jesus did those miracles, many of the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees, they would not admit they believed. They were afraid they would be thrown out of the synagogue.
They loved praise from people more than praise from God.
Then Jesus cried out, "Anyone who believes in me does not believe in me only. He also believes in the One who sent me.
When he looks at me, he sees the One who sent me.
"I have come into the world to be a light. No one who believes in me will stay in darkness.
"I don't judge a person who hears my words but does not obey them. I didn't come to judge the world. I came to save it.
But there is a judge for anyone who does not accept me and my words. The very words I have spoken will judge him on the last day.
"I did not speak on my own. The Father who sent me commanded me what to say. He also told me how to say it.
I know that his command leads to eternal life. So everything I say is just what the Father has told me to say."