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It is the week before Passover – that special celebration where the Jews remember how, centuries earlier, God saved them from death and released them from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. And yet a greater bondage remains, which Jesus will break forever by his sacrificial death on the cross (refer back to 8:34-36). This chapter moves us explicitly in this direction.

First, Mary, one of the sisters of Lazarus, honors Jesus in such an extravagant and unusual way that Jesus sees it as an act of preparation for his burial – which of course, assumes his impending death. Is this what Mary understood, or was it simply an outpouring of love and gratitude? Second, after entering Jerusalem in such a way as to reveal more of his glory as God’s anointed King, Jesus speaks openly about the necessity of his death. His time, or hour, he tells us, has finally come. What is heartbreaking, however, is that “most of the people still did not believe in him” (v. 37) – after all they had heard and seen from this amazing man. And so Jesus concludes by actually shouting to the crowd, making it as clear as he possibly can. Let his shouts resonate in your heart.