Lectionary Year B
April 13, 2003
John 12:12-16

Step V: Distillation

A. Summary of Salient Features

(JFC) As noted above, usually in this Gospel especially, Jesus seems to be the "theological 'center of gravity'." His coming to Jerusalem, His being recognized and acclaimed (Brown's Anchor Bible cites Luke 19:37 as evidence for this use of the word "Hosanna") are primary. His riding on a donkey is also a principal datum here. The quote from Zechariah is a rather significant matter in this pericope, too. The statement, re: "fear not", seems to be of lesser importance. Then, the disciples' failure to understand this event's meaning(s) seems relatively important, as well. And, their eventually getting its meaning seems major, as well, when we consider the whole of the Gospel.

B. Smoother Translation

(JFC) 12 The next day a large crowd of those having come to/for the feast/festival, arrived, having heard that Jesus had come to Jerusalem. 13 They got/took the palm branches of the Phoenix and came/went out to meet Him and they shouted/cried, "Hosanna; blessed/praised (is) the One coming in the name of the Lord, the King of the ('people') Israel." 14 But found Jesus a (young) donkey (and) sat upon it, according as it is written: 15 "Fear not, daughter of Zion behold your King is coming, sitting on a colt of a donkey." 16 His disciples did not understand this (event) at first, but when was He was glorified/honored/praised, then they remembered that this was about/of Him it was written and it had been done/happened/accomplished to Him.

C. Hermeneutical Bridge

(JFC) The atomic scientist, J. Robert Oppenheimer is said to have observed, "The best way to send an idea is to wrap it up in a person." God seems to be doing just that sort of thing in Jesus' approaching His passion and death by riding a donkey, identifying with the common folk of His day and adding to the picture of the Messiah long expected.

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