John 12.12-13 cont.
12 On the following day a large crowd was coming to the feast; hearing that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
13 they took branches from the palm trees and went to meet Him. They shouted out: “Hosanna, blessed is the One Coming in the Name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.”
W Barclay provides some good background information regarding the crowds that were going to the feast of Passover. Male Jews from all over the known world would have been converging on Jerusalem. It was an aspiration for them to attend the Feast at least once in their lifetime. We know that there was a man from Cyrene, named Simon. He helped Jesus carry His cross. Cyrene was a city in Libya.
We also know from Acts 2 that there were people from many other countries attending the Feast of Pentecost.
Many of these would have been in Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover and remained in the city for Pentecost.
There was a time when a census was taken of the number of lambs that were killed at the Passover, and it was said to be 256,00. Barclay states that there had to be at least ten people per lamb, which means that there must have been something like 2,700,000 people attending the feast.
From this we can see that the crowds in and around Jerusalem would have been vast.
75,000+ may attend a Manchester United home game of football, but that is very little to the crowds who would have attended the Feast of Passover.
Therefore, the crowds that went out to greet Jesus would have been far greater than we might imagine. This is indicated by the description of John as he used the word ‘large’, which can also be translated as numerous.
The nearer the day to the actual Feast came, the greater would have been the crowd.
There has always been large numbers who have been interested in seeing Jesus, or seeing the spectacular. In some senses this is good, because by being in a position to witness what Jesus is doing people are in a place where they might turn and receive Him as Lord and Saviour.
In the Book of Acts we see that there were times when large crowds went to hear the preaching of Jesus, sometimes the whole town would attend. Paul and Barnabas were in the city of Pisidian Antioch. On the first Sabbath they preach Jesus in the Synagogue; they were invited back the following Sabbath: On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord – Acts 13.44 (NLT).
Let us pray that we will see masses of people eager to come and hear Jesus preached.