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Triumphal Entry-Mark 11_1-11

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The Triumphal Entry

Mark 11:1-11


A rather old fashioned lady, always quite delicate and elegant, especially in her language, was planning a weeks holiday with her husband, so she wrote to a particular camping ground and asked for a reservation. She wanted to make sure that the camping ground was fully equipped, but didn't know quite how to ask about the toilet facilities. She just couldn't bring herself to write the word "toilet" in her letter. After much thought, she finally came up with the old fashioned term "Bathroom closet" but when she wrote it down, she still thought she was being too forward, so she started all over again, rewrote the letter, and referred to the bathroom closet as the B.C. "Does the camping ground have it's own B.C." is what she wrote. Well, the camping ground owner wasn't a bit old fashioned, and he just couldn't figure out what the old lady was talking about, so he showed the letter around a few of the campers and the only thing they could come up with was that B.C. stood for Baptist Church, so he wrote the following reply.
Dear Madam,  I regret very much the delay in answering your letter, but I now take the pleasure of informing you that a B.C. is located nine miles north of our camping ground, and is capable of seating 250 people at one time.
I admit that it is quite a distance away if you are in the habit of going regularly but no doubt you will be pleased to know that a great number of campers go there and many take their lunches along and make a day of it. They usually arrive nice and early and stay quite late. The last time my wife and I went was six years ago, and it was so crowded we had to stand up the whole time we were there. It may interest you to know that there is a special supper planned there to raise money to buy more seats so that everyone will be able to sit in comfort. I would like to say that it pains me very much not to be able to go more regularly, but it is surely no lack of desire on my part, just that I am so busy most of the time. As we grow older, it seems to be more of an effort to go, especially in the cold weather. If you decide to come down to our camping ground perhaps I could go with you the first time you go, sit with you and introduce you to all the other folks.  Remember this is a very friendly community

·         There is so much about our lives which if we are not careful can end in misunderstanding.

·         We have communication problems within our families.

·         We can misunderstand instructions and let’s not get started about trying to understand how the government works.

·         The nature and purpose of Jesus’ life was no less wrought with misunderstanding.

·         The triumphal entry of Christ seems to clearly demonstrate what the entire point of Christ’s life but even in this seemingly clear pronouncement of who Jesus was there was confusion.

·         Today we want to look at Jesus entering Jerusalem just days before his crucifixion and see what it says about who Jesus was, his mission and our ability to misunderstand.

·         To get a better understanding of the event, instead of reading it, we will watch it. (ch. 24)

What is happening thus far (Mark 10:32-52)

·         In order to understand the full significance of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem it is helpful to see what Mark trying to communicate.

·         There are three incidents while Jesus is returning to Jerusalem that make the same theological point that the triumphal entry is trying to make.

·         Mark 10: 32-34 describes Jesus as he explains for the third time what must happen to him.  Two things are shown about Christ.

v      His willing to serve others through sacrifice which is an act of humility

v      His glory and divinity through being raised from the dead.

·         Mark 10:35-45 tells of the James and John requesting a special place in Christ’s kingdom and Jesus gives a response to their question.

v      This passage does describe that Jesus is a king and has glory when the James and John recognize Christ having a kingdom.

v      Christ’s greater emphasis is on his acts as a servant.  His desire to humble himself and serve others by sacrificing his life for them.

·         Mark 10:46-52 describes the healing of Bartimaeus.  As they approached Jericho, the blind man was there and heard Jesus coming and began to seek mercy from him.

v      The glory and kingship of Christ comes out in the declaration of Bartimaeus when he calls Jesus the son of David a declaration of Christ being descended from a royal line.

v      His divine kingship is further declared by the very fact that Jesus could perform the miraculous healing.

v      He showed his servant attitude by his willing heal the man.

·         These three occasions just before Mark describes Jesus coming to Jerusalem are also described similarly by Matthew and Luke.

·         They tell us something important about Jesus that he is a servant, humble and willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of others.

·         It also tells us that he is a king, descendant from David, divine and powerful, noble in birth and extraordinary in power.

·         They also raise some issues for us that come after Jesus has entered the Jerusalem as a declared king and sacrifices himself upon the cross for our sake.

v      Being able to come into God’s kingdom has an extremely high cost attached to it.

v      Sharing in Christ’s kingdom requires participating in his servant heart by giving our lives over to him.

v      Jesus’ act heals us from our greatest sickness called sin.

The Triumphal Entry demonstrates Jesus’ divinity (11:1-6)

11:1 Now as they approached Jerusalem, near Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples 11:2 and said to them, “Go to the village ahead of you. As soon as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 11:3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here soon.’” 11:4 So they went and found a colt tied at a door, outside in the street, and untied it. 11:5 Some people standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 11:6 They replied as Jesus had told them, and the bystanders let them go.

·         After Jesus has shared what will happen to him, declares that his purpose in part was to serve others and demonstrates his power by healing Bartemaeus, he further declares who he is by his knowledge of things that were humanly impossible to know.

·         If Jesus was merely human how would he know that there would be a donkey in the next village?

·         If Jesus were merely human how would he not only know that there was a donkey in the next village but that it was a colt and not a full grown adult donkey?

·         If Jesus were merely human how could he know that someone would object, and what they would say and what would convince them to allow the donkey to be taken?

·         There are too many factors, too many specific conditions for this too be merely a coincidence.

·         It clearly demonstrates that there is more to Jesus than meets the eye.

·         Jesus demonstrates just as he did with the healing of the blind man that he is divine, he is God incarnate able to achieve things that are humanly impossible.

·         Christ’s divinity is crucial to the triumphal entry because it demonstrates one facet of his kingship, that he is not an ordinary king but the king of kings, the very King of Glory.

·         So what is the significance of the donkey?  We see three highlighted characteristics of the donkey that are mentioned by Luke and Matthew and in part by John.

·         The donkey is described as a colt and not as an adult, he was borrowed and that it has never been ridden.

v      I have often thought of the donkey as a dumb, stubborn and ugly animal.  Donkeys for people who could not have a horse.  In general the impression of the donkey is that it is not a noble animal

v      The biblical view of the donkey is that it is a beast of burden and a plower of fields.  They were highly respected for their strength and power as they are able to carry much greater weights than there small size seems to indicate.

v      They were ridden by the poor and the rich and in fact they were part of Near Eastern royal ceremony.

v      The significance of the donkey being a colt and never being ridden will be seen later.

v      The idea of borrowing an animal was not uncommon especially in terms of royalty temporarily using an animal for their needs.  So for the followers to ask for the use of the Donkey for their ‘lord’ would not be unheard of in that culture.  We should resist though the idea that Jesus had to use someone else’s possession for his need because he was too poor, destitute or was an outcast.

·         The main thrust of these verses is to indicate to us and to the reader of the Gospel that Jesus was in fact divine, possessing the power to know the future and to be all-knowing.

The Triumphant Entry shows Jesus’ humility. (11:7-8)

Then they brought the colt to Jesus, threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. 11:8 Many spread their cloaks on the road and others spread branches they had cut in the fields.

·         These two verses mark the start of the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.  The best way to compare it is to a procession or even better yet to a parade.

·         When we think of parades we think of floats and marching bands, balloons and candy.  The significant part of many parades is that they have a focus.  Think about the Santa Claus parade held each December.  There are all the festivities and many of them are great to watch but what everyone is waiting for is the arrival of Santa Claus.

·         In ancient Israel there were typically two types of processions or parades.

v      Parades were often conducted to celebrate the victory of a king or as in 1 Kings 1:33-40 of Solomon’s coronation as king.  They were often characterized by dancing and singing.

v      The most common described parades are those that were part of the formal worship at the temple in Jerusalem.  They would have singers and instruments played as they entered the house of God for worship.

·         As we will see as we continue to look at the passage that the parade that had its focus point in Jesus was both of these types of parades.

·         One significance of verse 7 and 8 is the fact that they demonstrate the purpose of riding an unbroken colt.

·         In Matthew the same story is given but the author quotes from Zach. 9:9-10 because the use of a donkey, and it being an unbroken colt is part of the fulfillment of a prophecy:

9:9 Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! Look! Your king is coming to you: he is legitimate and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey – on a young donkey, the foal of a female donkey.

·         Jesus was coming just as the scripture predicted.  He would come on a young donkey.

·         Part of Christ coming in humility as demonstrated in our three previous stories is in part because that is how the verse in Zechariah portrays him.

·         The other part is that unlike Greek processions or military parades and demonstrations Jesus did not come in a chariot or on a war horse but in a meek and subdued way.

·         As the King of Glory he had every right to come with fanfare and every extravagance imaginable but that was not his purpose. He deserved from people to lay out the ‘red carpet’ for his arrival but that was not his focus.

·         For Jesus this was already a big enough ordeal for this is the first time that he deliberately tried to draw attention to himself and declare his kingship.  Even in the midst of drawing attention to himself he wanted to display that he came to serve in humility.

The Triumphant Entry Identifies Jesus as King. (11:9-11)

11:9 Both those who went ahead and those who followed kept shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! 11:10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” 11:11 Then Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. And after looking around at everything, he went out to Bethany with the twelve since it was already late.

·         Jesus is the center of attention as people walk ahead of him and behind him placing him as the focus of this procession.

·         He openly encourages the crowd to declare who he really is and they do not hesitate to acknowledge his kingship.

·         Hosanna, blessed is the one who comes in the name of the lord is a quote from Psalm 118: 25-26.

·         This psalm  was commonly used and sung during this time at Passover as a reminder of the way that God had saved his people.  Later generations applied it to the future redemption of Israel.

·         More than likely the people regarded Jesus as one who may bring hope for political redemption.  Even the psalm which used during Passover gives that idea.  For the people at Passover did not celebrate God’s spiritual salvation but rather the salvation he provided by freeing them from slavery.

·         The parade for Jesus was similar to those given to honored kings but it also emulated spiritual worship processions in that Jesus did not enter the city and proceed to the place of political power but rather to the temple-the place of worship-the house of God.

·         What is unfortunate about this whole story is that Jesus deserved to be worshiped.  He deserved to be treated as the greatest king who ever was.  But it seems that people just did not get it.

·         One moment they are treating him with awe and the next they are crying crucify him.  Mark 15:12-14:

So Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you want me to do with the one you call king of the Jews?” 15:13 They shouted back, “Crucify him!” 15:14 Pilate asked them, “Why? What has he done wrong?” But they shouted more insistently, “Crucify him!”

·         It is safe to assume that many of the very same people who took off their cloaks and laid them down on the ground for Jesus cried ‘crucify him.’

·         It is safe to assume that many that cut down branches in honor later cried ‘crucify him.’

·         It is safe to assume that those who sang the psalm of thanksgiving directed to Christ for his salvation were the same ones who cried ‘crucify him.’

·         Jesus came to provide spiritual deliverance and the people thought that he was there to free them from roman occupation.

·         How often have we misunderstood Christ’s purpose?

·         How often have we turned our backs on him?

·         Jesus does come as king and with a great deal of fanfare but not the way the people hoped and it makes me wonder how often we have expectations of Christ that are outside who he is or what he has chosen to do?


·         The triumphal entry does demonstrate clearly that Jesus was divine, that he had abilities that could only be because he was God.

·         This procession showed that he deserved to come in glory seated upon a magnificent horse or riding in an extravagant chariot, but instead he came in humility.

·         This entry demonstrates he was the king, the one who deserved to be recognized in psalm 118.

·         The tragedy of the triumphal entry was that while the people were giving Jesus the recognition he deserved they completely misunderstood who he was and what he was there to do.

·         The tragedy of the triumphal entry was that just a couple of days later those heralding Jesus as he enters the city call for his death on a Roman Cross.

·         So Jesus is our King, not just our earthly king able to care for our physical needs but our spiritual king who saves us from the clutches of Hell and gives us eternity with God.

·         He is also our servant willing to sacrifice his own life for the sake or ours. Not come in a manner that the world expects but in a way that quietly and humbly achieves his task of providing us eternal life.

·         How have we misunderstood Jesus?  How have we misunderstood to worship him because of his divinity?  How have we misunderstood his humility and transferred it to our lives?  How have we misunderstood his kingship and not given him the honor he deserves?

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