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Mark 11:1-11– The Triumphal Entry

In our last study, we saw how Jesus healed Blind Bartimaeus. After receiving his sight, the man decided to stay with Jesus as He traveled toward Jerusalem. The crowds were large and the travel difficult, but as they got closer to Jerusalem, there was something in the air. The people had heard about Jesus. They had seen some of the miracles done by Him. And as they walked up the road to the capital city, they all felt that something was going to be different this time. All eyes were on Jesus.

  1. What does it say? (Mark 11:1-11)

    When they were near Jerusalem (at Bethphage, Bethany, and the Mount of Olives), Jesus sent two of His disciples into the village. He told them to enter the village and to find a colt tied up which no one had sat on. They were to untie it and bring it to Jesus. If anyone asked what they were doing, they were to tell them that the Lord had need of it and they would send the colt to Jesus. When they arrived, they found the colt tied by the door outside of the house near the street. As they untied it, they were asked what they were doing with the colt. They told the people what Jesus had said, and the people let them go.

    The disciples brought the colt to Jesus and put their clothes on it. Then Jesus sat on it. Many people spread their clothes on the road while others cut down leafy branches and spread them on the road. Then the people before and after Him, cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!”

    After this, Jesus went into Jerusalem and entered the temple. After looking around at all that was there (as it was late in the day), Jesus went out of the city to Bethany with the twelve disciples.

  2. What does it mean?

    Jesus was right about the future.

    When Jesus sent the two disciples into the village, he instructed them about a colt on which no person had sat that they would find immediately as they entered the village. He told them where it would be tied up, how to respond when the owners asked why they were untying it, and that they would let them take the colt. All that He told them came to pass. They found the colt tied up. They were questioned by the owners. They were given permission to take it.

    We are not told who the colt’s owner was or why he would allow the disciples to take it. The only thing we know is that they were allowed to take the colt to Jesus after explaining that the Lord had need of it. This leads us to an important question. “Had Jesus made prearranged plans with the colt’s owner, or did this event reflect His supernatural knowledge?”1 To answer this question, we should remember who Jesus is. The Bible tells us that Jesus is God who “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Because Jesus was God in the flesh, He had God’s omniscience and power. He knew where the colt would be, how it was tied up, and how the owners would respond.

    Jesus was fulfilling prophecy.

    After the disciples delivered the colt to Jesus, they put clothes on top of it for padding and He rode it into the city. It seems a bit odd for Jesus to borrow an unridden colt with no saddle and then to ride it into the city. However, all of this is explained when you consider what the Old Testament prophecies said about the coming Messiah.

    Gen. 49:10-11 – “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Binding his donkey to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
    He washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.”

    When Jacob pronounced his prophetic blessing on his sons (Gen. 49), his prophecy about Judah mentioned several things: the scepter would not depart from Judah (10a), that Shiloh would come whom the people would obey (10b), and his donkey and colt would be bound to the vine (11).

    Zech. 9:9-10 – “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey. … He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.’”

    When these religious pilgrims saw Jesus riding the donkey’s colt, they must have envisioned Zechariah’s prophecy. This man who had just healed Blind Bartimaeus and had become well-known as a Jewish rabbi was now riding a colt into Jerusalem just as the prophet had described years ago. What more could this mean than that Jesus was the Messiah who would bring back the kingdom and provide peace to the earth!

    Jesus was honored by the people.

    The response of the people when Jesus rode into the city was ecstatic.

    They paved the way for his arrival. They did this by laying their garments and leafy branches on the road for Jesus to ride over. This sounds strange to us because most of our roads are paved with asphalt or concrete. But these roads may have been dirt for all we know. And you know how bad those roads can be. So why did they cover up the road for Him? We find the answer in 2 Kings 9:12-13. When Jehu was announced as the new king, the people laid their clothes on the ground for him to walk over. With that in mind, these people were honoring Jesus as they would a king.

    The people shouted for joy. They used the exclamation “Hosanna,” which was an “exclamation of praise”2 which originally meant “‘help’ or ‘save, I pray.'”3 “Later it came to be used as a shout of praise (like ‘Hallelujah!’) and then as an enthusiastic welcome to pilgrims or to a famous Rabbi.” While the meaning of the exclamation may have changed over time, the original meaning makes sense as it was “an appeal for divine help to bring about the expected messianic deliverance through Jesus.”4 The people were looking for someone to save them and that leads us to the last point.

    The people were expecting Him to bring in the kingdom. When they said, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” they were quoting Psalm 118:25-26. It was one of the psalms of ascension which were sung on the way to Jerusalem. But notice another thing that they said. They blessed the coming kingdom of their father David. They were saying something more than just a few hurrahs. This response to Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a colt showed that they recognized Him as the promised Messiah. This is why they were so excited.

  3. How does it apply?

    Do you know the Bible well enough to know who Jesus is?

    Bible prophecies about Jesus give a description of what He is like. The prophets foretold where He would be born, what He would be called, what He would be like, and what He would do. In our passage, we see only one part of the description involving a donkey’s colt. The crowds were quick to notice Jesus’ riding on a donkey as part of the prophecies about the Messiah.

    What do you know about Jesus? Could you write out a description of Him right now? The Bible tells us many things about Him. We have what the Old Testament prophets said about Him and also what the New Testament gospels say. As you read through those descriptions, who do you find Jesus to be? In just our study of Mark, you can see that He is a remarkable person. But He is so much more. Jesus is… well … who do you think He is? If you don’t know, keep reading your Bible and ask God to reveal who He is to you.

    Do you trust Jesus enough to do whatever He asks?

    When Jesus sent the two disciples to get the colt, the owners asked what they were doing. It appeared that the disciples were trying to steal the donkey. But when they were told that the Lord had need of it, they had no problem allowing Him to use their animal. Knowing who needed it made all the difference in their minds.

    Part of being a Christian is faith in God. We are reminded that “without faith it is impossible to please” God. When a sinner repents of his sin, the next step is to put his faith in Jesus. When that happens, God saves the sinner from the coming judgment, forgives his sins, and makes him a new person. But that is not where faith ends. It ought to be a continuing part of a believer’s life.

    Christians must continue trusting the Lord with their whole life. When God wants us to do something, give up something, say something, or anything else, we should be willing to obey. Why should we do this? We should do it because we love the Lord and owe everything to Him. So, let’s get back to the question. Do you trust Jesus enough to do whatever He asks? It begins with the small things. Then, as you grow in your trust, the Lord will ask you to serve in even greater ways. Are you willing?

    Do you believe in both the past and future prophecies in the Bible?

    When you look at the prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus’ life, it is easy for us to believe them because they have already happened. Micah said that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Isaiah said that Jesus would pay for our iniquities (Isa. 53:6). And in today’s passage, we saw how Jesus would ride on a donkey’s colt (Zech. 9:9-10). But did you know that there are still some prophecies that have not been fulfilled as of yet?

    In the New Testament, we are told that certain things will take place in the future. The Great White Throne Judgment will take place at some time in the future. But John tells us “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Do you believe that God will keep you from perishing at the judgment because of your faith in Jesus? Paul tells us that Jesus will come back to get all believers (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Do you believe that this will happen? In the Book of Revelation, we are told that Jesus will reign over all the earth for a thousand years (Rev. 20:4-6). Do you believe that? There are many things that the Bible tells us will happen in the future. Do you believe them? And are you ready?

Conclusion

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the people with Him were ecstatic. They honored Him as the One whom God had promised so many times over the years. He was finally here! But… one thing they didn’t understand was that His coming kingdom was not part of their immediate future. His purpose for coming the first time was to die for our sins. It wouldn’t be long before the religious leaders would turn the crowds against Him and Jesus would be accused, cruelly treated, and finally killed on the cross. In the next chapters we will see what happened as He slowly made His way toward that cross.

Bibliography

Alexander, Joseph, The Gospel According to Mark, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980, orig. 1858.

Bauer, Walter, William F. Arndt, F. Wilbur Gingrich, and Frederick W. Danker. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.

Grassmick, John D., “Mark” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, USA: SP Publications, 1983.

Hiebert, D. Edmond, The Gospel of Mark, Greenville: Bob Jones University Press, 1994, orig. 1979.

McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. 4, Matthew through Romans, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983.

Footnotes

  1. Grassmick 156. ↩︎
  2. ὡσαννά as defined at https://www.billmounce.com/greek-dictionary/hosanna on 7/6/2024. ↩︎
  3. BDAG 899. ↩︎
  4. Hiebert 314. ↩︎