Palm Sunday is when Jesus makes a triumphal entry into Jerusalem to become the atonement lamb by dying on the cross for us. What were Jesus’ words and actions following this?
In the wilderness, Moses was instructed to build a tabernacle where God meets with His people (Exodus 25:22). And where God’s covenanted people can come back to God’s presence and fellowship. The gospel of John tells us that “no one has ever seen God,” but Jesus His only Son “has made him known”. Jesus is revealed as God who “tabernacled” among his people in the flesh (John 1:14, 18). Jesus is the tabernacle through whom fallen mankind may find atonement and come to the Father. And it is only through Jesus, who is the way, truth, and life, can one come to the Father (John 14:6). And in believing in Jesus Christ, we “have life in His name” (John 20:31).
According to the Old Testament law, only the High Priest was able to enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, only priests were allowed in the Holy Place, and Israelites in the courtyard. Gentiles and sinners were not permitted in the tabernacle at all. But the gospel of John showed how Gentiles & sinners were the very people who came to believe. Through their interactions with Jesus, their past sinful life is atoned, and they received new life. They were able to enter the Holy of Holies where life is given, and thus represent those who will be given the priestly duties in times to follow (1 Peter 2:9-12).
1. Those who meet Jesus and believe in Him will meet the Father.
The gospel of John used the word believe “πιστεύω” 98 times out of 234 occurrences in the New Testament. It is more than two-thirds of the gospels of Matthew, Mark & Luke combined. John records the blessings we will receive as a result of believing in Jesus:
(1) Become children of God (John 1:12)
(2) Have eternal life (John 3:15, 16, 36; 5:24; 6:40, 47; 11:25, 26)
(3) Able to worship the Father (John 4:21)
(4) Become true disciples of Jesus (John 8:31)
(5) Able to see the glory of God (John 11:40)
(6) Become sons of Light (John 12:36, 46)
(7) Believe in the Father and that Jesus is from the Father (John 12:44, 14:1, 10, 11; 16:27, 30; 17:8, 21)
(8) Able to do the works of Jesus (John 14:12)
Just as the tabernacle is the means by which God can dwell with His people, Jesus came as the fulfilment. Those who believe in Jesus receive forgiveness for their sins and receive life just as those who come into the tabernacle. Through Jesus, all who believe will meet with the Father.
2. Examples of those who believed in Jesus and what Jesus revealed to them.
(1) Samaritan woman (John 4:39, 41, 42) – it’s not about where, but when. It is about the hour when one believes in Jesus as the Messiah.
(2) Peter (John 6:37-40, 44-47. 65, 69) – it’s not just about following and experiencing miracles and signs. It’s about Jesus and eating the true bread.
(3) Blind man (John 8:18-19, 25-29, 31-42, 53-54; 9:35, 36, 38) – Jesus is the light of truth that sets us free from sin.
(4) Lazarus, Martha, Mary (John 10:15-18, 25-33; 11:27, 41, 45; 12:1) – Jesus who is one with the Father is the One who gives us life. Resurrection and life is only possible because Jesus laid down His life for us.
(5) Mary Magdalene (John 20:8,17)
John 20:17 (NASB95) — 17 Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’”
3. Jesus’ teachings during the Passion Week.
Receiving the Light is believing in Jesus, and believing in Jesus is believing in the Father. (John 12:35-36. 44-50).
We need to be washed by Jesus with the water to be able to receive the Father. (John 13:5, 8, 19-20)
The Gospel of John emphasizes the deity of Jesus, yet stresses how Jesus is dependent upon His Father. (John 5:17-19; 8:29)
Jesus clearly speaks of his subordination to the Father, and that He is not an additional God in parallel with the God the Father, but it is an uniquely qualified subordination. Jesus is the Son who came in the flesh, sent by the Father, but he does exactly what the Father does. Although He is the second person and Father is the first person in the Trinity, Father and Son are the same God. Whatever the Father did, Jesus did. Father created the universe, and it was through the Son that He created it. Father will be the final judge on the last day, and so also will Jesus be. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does! The Son’s actions are coextensive with the actions of the Father! John 14 shows that such a tight relationship between the Father and the Son is possible because of the love between them. This is the reflection of love in the very Godhead.
Jesus’ purpose in coming to this world as the tabernacle and temple, and suffering & dying on the cross is so that we can be restored as God’s sons who can once again come into God’s dwelling place. Coming to Jesus is coming to the Father. Meeting Jesus is meeting the Father. It is how we become God’s sons (Psalm 68:5-6; Revelation 21:7-8). May we become God’s children who will reflect God’s desires and actions in our life! And let us live as children of God!