A Day of Shadows and Glimpses - Mark 11:1-11
On the Sunday before the Friday when Jesus would be crucified He entered Jerusalem on a donkey with crowds gathered to welcome Him. On that day there are shadows and glimpses of who Jesus truly is and many seem to see Him as worthy of honor. But while they may have recognized Jesus as a reason for hope, or perhaps even as the Promised One of God, we can say with certainty that they underestimated His greatness.
These are a people who have been waiting and watching for generations for the King who God had promised – a king who would defeat their enemies and make them a great nation. They have visions of a powerful and victorious king and many are starting to believe that maybe, Jesus is that king. But they don’t understand that Jesus came as more than a national deliverer. He came as the Savior, the One who will free His people from their sins, and as the One who will rule and reign over all, forever.
In much the same way, we can be guilty of underestimating the greatness of Jesus and how desperately we need Him. As we consider the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem we have a chance to remember who Jesus really is and to consider that He is worthy of all of our trust and all of our hope.
Jesus as the Sovereign Lord – You can trust Him (11:1-6)
- The setting – Approaching Jerusalem – As chapter 10 ends Jesus is leaving Jericho and heading toward Jerusalem. As chapter 11 begins He is just outside the city, preparing to enter from the east.
- The command of Jesus – Before entering the city Jesus commands two of His disciples to go into a village and get donkey for Him to ride.His command is very specific and may have left His disciples wondering how He knew all that He knew. Nevertheless, they obeyed, found the donkey and brought it back just as He had commanded.
- His knowledge of the future – As we consider this command of Jesus and how everything happened just as He said we should be reminded of this: That He is sovereign and He knows all things. This is one of many times in the Gospels when we are shown the omniscience and sovereignty of Jesus and it should serve as a reminder to us that He can be trusted. He is Lord of all, nothing is outside of His knowledge, and we can trust that His ways and His commands are right and good.
- His claim of Lordship – In His instructions to the disciples Jesus refers to Himself as ‘the Lord.’ While this could simply mean master, it’s most likely a reference from Jesus of His sovereign Lordship. He is the Lord of all and over all.
Jesus as the Coming King – You can have hope (11:7-10)
- A symbolic entrance – As Jesus enters Jerusalem there are all kinds of shadows and glimpses of who He truly is. His entrance on a donkey and the actions and praises of the crowd all serve to present Jesus as the true and coming King.
- The symbolism of the colt/donkey – Jesus’s entrance on a donkey is a fulfillment of prophecy. Zechariah had prophesied that the coming King would enter Jerusalem on a donkey and to the praises of His people (Zechariah 9:9-11). As Jesus rides into town on a donkey He’s making a subtle announcement: He is announcing Himself as the prophesied and awaited King.
- The symbolism of the crowd - As Jesus enters Jerusalem He is greeted by a crowd who is declaring Him to be king. They pave the street with their coats and with palm branches, a customary greeting for a victorious conqueror. Also they cry or sing “Hosanna” which means “Save Us.” The crowds were right to exalt Jesus as the coming king, but they misunderstood the way His kingdom would be established. His coronation could only come through His crucifixion.
- Our hope – Jesus is King – While the crowds honored Jesus, they greatly underestimated His greatness. We can now know that Jesus is the true and eternal King – and this should give us great hope. We can know that we are citizens of His Kingdom and that our future is secure (Colossians 1:12-13).
Jesus as the Greater Fulfillment of the Promise of Salvation – You can be saved (11:11)
- A visit to the Temple – In vs. 11 Mark says that Jesus goes to the Temple, looks around and leaves. While this may seem anti-climatic, it is significant. Jesus has come to accomplish what the Temple could never truly accomplish.
- The greater fulfillment – The Temple was a place of sacrifices and the place where the presence of God dwelt. Jesus came as the true Temple. Through Him the only true and sufficient sacrifice was made and through Him all who believe can enter the presence of God. In Him, the true Temple, we can be forgiven and free (Hebrews 10:3-7).