Jesus Going to Jerusalem

For many people it can be a dreadful thing for someone to borrow something from us.  We are reluctant when somebody asks us and fearful that if the item is given that we will never see it again.  We are anxious in awaiting its return to us, but what if that item was to serve the Lord’s purpose?  What if the Lord had need of something we possessed?

The reality of life is that we all have something that the Lord asks of us.  Our life, our dedication, and everything we own come under the realm of God’s care and protection when we come to Him in faith.  We must allow Him to use us in proclaiming His wonderful Name by whatever talents, time, or tools we have.

THE ROYAL ENTRANCE INTO JERUSALEM (Mark 11:1-10). 

Jesus was announced in the beginning of Mark’s gospel as “Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1).  This was a formal announcement by the writer of the anointed, Godly, kingship of Jesus.  The theme of the gospel that people did not recognize this, at least not until the confession of soldier in Mark 16:39. Almost a week before Jesus’ crucifixion we find Jesus entering into Jerusalem and on the same day  into the temple.  This entry was not done by some mere carpenter from Jerusalem but in a royal procession and with authority.

Jerusalem literally means the “city of God” or “holy city.”  It’s name implies that it is the place of God’s throne on earth.  The one temple were sacrifices were performed was located at Jerusalem and therefore was considered the pinnacle of religious experience.  To go there from any point of the earth was to be ascending upwards physically and spiritually.  Psalms 120 through 134 are the songs that Jews would sing on their way to the religious feasts at Jerusalem and for the reason of rising elevation were called the songs of ascent or degrees.

It is difficult to know whether the following sequence of events concerning the obtaining of the colt were foretold by Jesus by a supernatural source or by a pre-arranged conversation that He already had with the owner.  What we can be sure of is that Jesus had purpose for this need.  The purpose was the fulfillment of the prophecy by Zechariah in the Old Testament (Zecb. 9:9).

It is interesting that Jesus lets His disciples know that this young donkey was untamed and unsaddled for “whereon never man sat” (Mark 11:2).  The disciples once they received the animal may have had a difficult time leading the notoriously stubborn animal but it is easy to see that Jesus would not have had such difficulty once He mounted the animal.

Jesus mentioned that He had “need of him” (11:3).  This was not only to fulfill prophecy but to show His purpose of coming into Jerusalem.  At this time, Jesus’ royal entry into Jerusalem was for peace and not conquest as the Jews were hoping for.  A mighty horse would have symbolized war and conquest.  The donkey on the other hand symbolizes peace and tranquility, especially under the one that is known as peace speaker.

We are told in 11:1 that Jesus sent two of His disciples.  We do not know who went and it does not matter.  What we do know is that they were faithful to Jesus’ command and in the rehearsing of His words. Jesus’ word was all the two disciples were supplied with and confidently they went on to perform their task. It was sure enough as Jesus predicted that the disciples found the donkey that they were looking for. They “found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met” (11:4)  They knew this was the animal that Jesus requested. There was no doubt and questioning as they went on to loose the colt.

Soon enough, as Jesus said, they would be stopped and questioned as to why they were unloosening the colt (11:5).  The “certain” individuals in this verse are described as the owners in Luke 19:33.  It is obvious to the reasons why the owners where questioning these strange men leading their donkey away. 

After their questions the disciples spoke the words of Jesus to the owners “even as Jesus had commanded” (Mark 11:6).  Luke 19:34 emphasizes the phrase “The Lord hath need of him.”  All of this together lends to understanding that this was all done without prior arrangments.  The fulfilling of the prophecy and the calling out of the Lord’s name implies a prophetic action even by the Jesus.  The young and unridden donkey would be key in fulfilling Zechariah and Jesus prophecy.

As the disciples were bringing the colt to Jesus they started to “cast their garments on him” (11:7).  This unridden donkey that was acquired for the Kings entry into Jerusalem would not have a fancy saddle but would be covered with the belongings of Jesus’ closest followers.  As Jesus would set upon this animal that symbolized peace he would also be sitting on acts of praise and dedication to Him. Jesus would be seen coming as a person with peace as His goal and worthy of all praise, glory and honor.

The people reacted to Jesus’ coming by placing their garments on the ground along with palm branches (11:8).  A royal road for a royal procession by the royalty of heaven. 

Again the prophecy of Zechariah was being fulfilled during this time of celebration.  “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation” (Zech. 9:9).  The entire scene that Mark paints for us is that of celebration.  The celebration is amplified in our minds when we understand that this not just the residences of Jerusalem but of all those that have pilgrimaged to Jerusalem for the Passover feast.  The shouts and noise of the people would have been easily heard a great distance, inviting others to join in celebration.

The people thronging the scene cried out “Hosanna” (Mark 11:9) which means “save now” or “save, we beseech thee.”  This is exactly why Jesus had come to Jerusalem.  He was there to save His people from their sins.  The participants in the celebration were looking for deliverance from Roman rule but Jesus would bring deliverance from sin as is seen in Psalm 118:25-26.

In Mark 11, verses 9 and 10 both use the phrase that Jesus had come “in the name of the Lord.”  As a mighty ambassador Jesus had come with heaven’s seal of approval on Him and the people were recognizing it publicly.  The crowd filled this saying with their own assumptions as to the purpose of Jesus’ visit to Jerusalem but nonetheless the phrase fits Jesus. Mark 1:38 and 2:17 give reasons for Jesus’ coming from Heaven to Earth.  It would also stand to reason that the purpose of Jesus coming to Jerusalem would be in the realm of salvation of sinners. 

 THE ROYAL VISIT TO THE TEMPLE (Mark 11:11).

Already seen is the fact that Jesus’ visit to Jerusalem was more religious than political.  Not only is this symbolized by the mode of transportation Jesus picked but also by the destination within Jerusalem.  Rather than going straight to the palace to overthrow the Romans Jesus goes to the temple and would eventually overthrow moneychangers tables.  Jesus seem to bypass any involvement in the celebration and the government by being more focused on inspecting the temple. “When he had looked round about upon all things” (Mark 11:11) implies that Jesus came to the temple prior to His eviction of the moneychangers. While there He was appraising the situation and found it more profitable to come back later to cleanse the temple for it was already late in the evening.  Malachi 3:1-3 speaks of a messenger coming into the temple suddenly and cleaning it as soap and a refiner.

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