Mark 11: 1-11
BRIEF INTRO: This chapter begins a series of events that all have to do with the temple. Mark 11:1-13:37 take place either on the way to the temple, in the temple, or when they are leaving the temple! The temple appears to be the setting for these chapters. The text that we will study in this post begins with the triumphal entry. Jesus enters Jerusalem and immediately enters the temple; His first trip to the temple.
Beginning in verse eighteen we will witness a controversy that unfolds between the religious leaders and Jesus. These chapters explain the “nature” of that controversy.
“Mark structures his narrative in this section around three journeys by Jesus to the temple on three successive days (11:1-11; 11:12-19; 11:20-13:37). The description of what takes place at the temple grows in length with each successive day. The final day in the temple contains by far the most content.” As Jesus leaves the temple on that day He predicts its destruction and then teaches a select number of His disciples about future things.
So, let us begin our study thinking about “the arrival of the king.”
11 And as they *approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, He *sent two of His disciples,2 and *said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied there, on which no one has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. 3 And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it’; and immediately he [a]will send it back here.” 4 They went away and found a colt tied at the door, outside in the street; and they *untied it. 5 And some of the bystanders were saying to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 And they told them just as Jesus had said, and they gave them permission. 7 They *brought the colt to Jesus and *put their cloaks on it; and He sat on it.
FOCUS ONE: THE ARRIVAL OF THE KING
In Mark, Jerusalem is mentioned seven times. The first four references record various people coming to John or Jesus from Jerusalem (1:5; 3:8;3:22;7:1). The other three references are part of Jesus’s final movement to Jerusalem to die on a cross (10:32-34; 11:1-27; 15:41). Mark now records the “arrival” of Jesus, the true king, into Jerusalem. Remember that Jesus has been preparing the disciples for this very moment (10:33-34), but sadly, they often didn’t understand what He was telling them.
As they approach Jerusalem Jesus sends two of His disciples into the village to take possession of a colt that is tied “at the door outside in the street” (v. 4). At first glance this seems odd. It appears that Jesus is directing these two men to go into the town and steal a colt! I assure you that is not the case. First, God is the creator and owner of ALL things (Psalm 50:10-11). We are only stewards of the blessings that God gives us in this life (1 Corinthians 4:7). Second, God in His foreknowledge and omniscience planned for all that would transpire and in so doing fulfilled all prophecy (Zechariah 9:9)!
That is exactly what we read is happening. These two disciples obey and find the colt just as Jesus said they would. Some bystanders (v. 5) take notice to what they are doing and call them out on it. I find it interesting that when they are confronted by the bystanders they “spoke to them just as Jesus had told them,” and they gave them permission” (v. 6). What might have happened if they spoke differently?
There is something about the name of Jesus that either sparks joy and obedience OR hateful disdain. He is the “chief cornerstone.” There are those who will be broken to pieces over Him because of their apathy, and there will be others who will be scattered like dust because of their enmity against Jesus (Matthew 21:42-44).
These men bring the colt to Jesus, put their garments (most likely cloaks as a makeshift saddle) on it and Jesus sat upon it. Do not miss this. . . Jesus sat on the colt in order to ride into the city of Jerusalem formally announcing Himself as the messianic king in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9 I cited above!
8 And many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields.9 And those who went in front and those who followed were shouting:
FOCUS TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE KING
“Mark creates a picture of people cutting down tall grass and leaves from the surrounding fields and gathering all of it together in the road to create a comfortable, ‘bed-like’ path for Jesus and the colt.”
Here we see the people shouting with joy at the arrival of the promised savior (God’s representative ) but they stopped short of identifying Him as the Messiah. So even though they welcome Him, it is very obvious that they need to learn more about Him.
The “coming kingdom” that they shout about is associated with David and reflects the peoples’ messianic hope for he restoration of the Davidic kingdom (2 Samuel 7:16; Amos 9:11-12). “BUT their enthusiasm was for a ruling messiah and a political kingdom, not realizing and accepting the fact that the One peaceably riding on the colt was their Messiah whose kingdom stood near because of His presence with them.”
11 And Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple area; and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late.
FOCUS THREE: THE INDIFFERENCE TOWARD THE KING:
Jesus finally enters Jerusalem but some people, even religious ones, pay no attention to the king (11:11). We get a glimpse of what it looked like when Jesus entered the temple area, as prophecied in Malachi 3:1, by the “understatement” of the event in Mark’s account. The city of Jerusalem is “swollen to overflowing” because of the Passover. The expectations that the kingdom of David would be restored to Israel by one from David’s line were high. The multitudes were just shouting ““[a]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!”
Shouting that would have been heard in the temple, but no one appears to be interested. No one pays any attention to His entrance into the temple area. Mark tells us that After Jesus looked around at what was going on in “my Fathers house,” He left the temple and Jerusalem for the evening and returns the next day and cleanses the temple. Not what we would expect is it? No fanfare like what accompanied His arrival, what a difference after only only a few short days!
How fickle peoples hearts are. Emotions can be a dangerous thing and we would do well to meditate on this fact for awhile. Coming to Christ involves faith, sure emotions play a part, but faith in Christ saves! Emotions may carry us away, for a time, in following Christ, but what about after the emotions subside? Faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone is not only the mantra of a child of God, it is how they live on a daily basis. Sometimes it may lack the excitement of the emotions carrying us away in one way or another, and that’s ok, actually its normal.
“For we walk by faith, NOT by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds back” (Proverbs 29:11).
“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Proverbs 25:28).
Exegetical Guide to the Greek NT, pages 188-189
NT Cities, Jerusalem in the four gospels (internet)
The Bible. Knowledge Commentary, pg, 156