Mark 11:1-11 1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4 And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. 5 And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. 7 And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. 8 And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. 9 And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” 11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
Jesus had performed all kinds of miracles and preached with authority primarily in Galilee which is in Northern Israel. He had drawn all kinds of crowds who were excited to see what He could do. But many of them were following Him for the wrong reasons- they had no interest in repenting of their sins but rather wanted a leader who could give them what they wanted and make their life easier and better. Jesus continues to reinforce that He came to establish a new Kingdom- the spiritual Kingdom of God. He rebukes the religious leader’s false teaching based upon human effort and continues to confirm that He is the Christ and that salvation could be found in and through Jesus Christ alone. He never directly confirms He is the Christ but always indirectly so the religious leaders could not stone Him and yet often they still tried. In spite of the miracles that Jesus performed it became harder to follow Jesus as the Pharisees were against Him and Jesus’ own teaching became harder to deny as He made it more and more clear that genuine repentance and faith was required for any of His followers. It also became harder to follow Jesus as He demonstrated to His disciples that not only would the Jews be a part of this new kingdom but also the Gentiles- individuals from all the foreign nations who were considered terribly wicked people and on the whole not deserving of salvation. While farthest away from Jerusalem, on the farthest edge of Israel, Jesus asks the disciples to tell Him who they think He is? The disciples had begun to follow Jesus because they believed He was the Christ who came to save them but as they had an incorrect understanding of what the Christ would be like and Jesus was far different from what they had expected and so this was a difficult question to answer. Peter still believed and the rest of the twelve agreed and so Jesus reveals a more difficult aspect of who the Christ really is- the Christ had to die. He would soon reign and establish His new Kingdom but first He must die. The disciples could not understand this but they were excited at the opportunity that they would soon reign with Jesus. They continued to follow Jesus in spite of the dangers increasing as the opposition to Jesus increased. It was safer in Galilee, far from Jerusalem, but as Jesus revealed to the disciples again that He was the Christ it was at this point that Jesus set His face specifically towards Jerusalem. There was a tension in the disciples- excitement at the opportunity to soon rule with Jesus but an increasing fear for their own lives. This excitement very much mixed with fear would have only increased in the manner by which Jesus entered into Jerusalem.
Jesus would enter into Jerusalem in a very public display confirming that He was about to establish a new Kingdom. Jesus would enter into Jerusalem in a very public way rejecting the current spiritual authority in Jerusalem. Jesus would enter into Jerusalem in a very public way displaying the types of people that would be in His new Kingdom.
Jesus entered into Jerusalem confirming that He was a king. He allowed the people to worship Him. They said, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” He did not deny what they said. He confirmed it by accepting their worship and He slowly went to the Temple. It took a great part of the day for Him to enter in as He arrived at the Temple late in the day. He connected directly with the people who praised Him. In every way He confirmed that He was a king but He also confirmed that He was establishing a different kingdom in the manner by which He entered. Normally a king would enter in on a chariot wearing armour with soldiers around him. Normally a king displays all his power and might to the people as he parades through the streets. But not so with Jesus. Jesus would enter in on a donkey’s colt sitting on the cloaks of the disciples. No armour. No chariot. No public display of power. Jesus would enter in at the same level as the people that He came in humility to save. The glory of God was manifest in Jesus in the greatest way in His humility and not in clear demonstrations of power.
Nothing could be a greater display of how different Jesus’ Kingdom would be as what was seen in the people who followed Him. There was no escort of soldiers next to Jesus but fishermen, women, beggars, prostitutes, those who were previously blind and lame, even Gentiles. It would have been a shocking sight to see those closest to Jesus by whom Jesus would establish this new Kingdom through. It was those rejected by society who were closest to Jesus. There were no religious elite from Jerusalem walking with Jesus. It would have been mostly the poor and the weak. No expensive gifts or riches were laid before Jesus as He rode into Jerusalem but an impromptu laying of palm branches and cloaks as he went towards the Temple. This march would have posed no threat to the Roman rule in Jerusalem and Israel. The Roman soldiers who watched this sight of Jesus would have looked on in curiosity. How strange? What kind of display was this? What a strange mix of people.
And yet the Pharisees and the religious leaders would have been furious! Jesus, who was causing all kinds of problems in Galilee, was now confirming that He was the Christ in Jerusalem and encouraging the people to worship Him. He was entering as a king and as the Christ. The authority of the spiritual elite in Jerusalem was now directly challenged in a way that Jesus had not yet done before. As Jesus entered into Jerusalem, the spiritual leaders prepared for war. They would do whatever it took to prevent Jesus from replacing them. And so Jesus would die. Are you drawn to Jesus in this description of Jesus entering into Jerusalem or does this mean nothing to you? Is He your King? Do you worship Him? Is He your Savior?
Pastor Murray Hack