13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.—John 17:13-19 (NLT)
We have the privilege of listening into a personal conversation between Jesus and our Father. As we read through the prayer that Jesus is praying for His disciples, we get a little glimpse of His love and compassion for them. Jesus is not asking God to remove all the bumps, He is asking Him to keep them safe as they travel the rocky road. He is also asking our Father to teach them the truth. Jesus, as the oldest of all God’s children, is taking the responsibility of being sure that the family is being taken care of while He is separated from them. Of course, He knows that our Father is going to take good care of the disciples, but His compassion demands that He set the example for them to ask. Not only that, but He is paying in advance for their care by giving His life on the cross. Jesus is the perfect example of a servant, a brother, a friend and a Redeemer.
12 The next day a great crowd who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast heard that Jesus was coming there. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Jesus, shouting, “Praise God! God bless the King of Israel!” 14 Jesus found a colt and sat on it. This was as the Scripture says, 15″Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem! Your king is coming, sitting on the colt of a donkey.” 16 The followers of Jesus did not understand this at first. But after Jesus was raised to glory, they remembered that this had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.—John 12:12-16 (NCV)
The crowd heard that Jesus was coming so they took palm branches and went out to greet Jesus. In those days, it was common for the people to lay branches out for a king or a great leader to walk on or ride on as he entered the town. A conquering king would normally enter riding on a horse trained for war. A king that was coming in peace would ride in on a colt to show his humbleness. Jesus was a King who came in peace and riding on a colt also fulfilled prophecy. 9 Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.—Zechariah 9:9 (NLT)
Jesus came first as a suffering servant and a peacemaker but His next entrance will be as a conquering King on a horse prepared for war. 11 Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war.12 His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns.–Revelation 19:11-12a (NLT)
Chorus to “The King is Coming” by Bill Gaither
The King is coming, the King is coming
I just heard the trumpet sounding and soon His face I’ll see
The King is coming, the King is coming
Praise God, He’s coming for me!
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. 12 The worker who is paid to keep the sheep is different from the shepherd who owns them. When the worker sees a wolf coming, he runs away and leaves the sheep alone. Then the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. 13 The man runs away because he is only a paid worker and does not really care about the sheep. 14 15 “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, as the Father knows me. And my sheep know me, as I know the Father. I give my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not in this flock, and I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock and one shepherd.—John 10:11-16 (NCV)
A good shepherd will not allow any of his sheep to be harmed. Someone who is paid to keep sheep or is just tending the flock for his own benefit might run from the dangers and leave the sheep alone. David was an example of a good shepherd, he fought the bear and the lion and literally took the sheep from their mouth. 34 But David said to Saul, “I, your servant, have been keeping my father’s sheep. When a lion or bear came and took a sheep from the flock, 35 I would chase it. I would attack it and save the sheep from its mouth. When it attacked me, I caught it by its fur and hit it and killed it. –1 Samuel 17:34-35 (NCV)
Jesus is a better shepherd than David. He loved us so much that He gave up His glory in heaven to come to earth so that we could be redeemed. He became human and dwelt among us. He came so that we would know His voice and choose to follow Him. He died to redeem and reconcile us to God. He is still in the reconciliation business. He fights every battle for us and yes, He even pulls some of us from the mouth of hell. Jesus hates the sin but loves the sinner. He expects us to have that same attitude. There are those God has put in our paths that He has chosen for us to shepherd. Be a good shepherd and love them into the fold just as Jesus did for us. 22 Show mercy to some people who have doubts. 23 Take others out of the fire, and save them. Show mercy mixed with fear to others, hating even their clothes which are dirty from sin—Jude 22 (NCV)