Read Mark 11:1-10
The journey has been long and anticipation hangs in the air. The crowd has been following Jesus for a while now as he arrives in Jerusalem. Passover is near, and crowds of faithful Jews have also made the pilgrimage to the Holy City, to the Holy Temple of their Almighty God. The crowds expect a showdown. Is Jesus the promised Messiah? Has he come to reclaim the throne of his ancestors? Is this the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire? Is this the return to greatness that Israel has been longing for?
And as they approach the city, Jesus tells two of his disciples to go into a nearby village where they will find a donkey that has never been ridden. They are to tell its owner that the master requires the donkey but will return it as soon as he is done.
The events take place exactly as Jesus had said, as the disciples untie a donkey who had never been ridden they are stopped by its owner demanding that they provide a reason for what looks like theft, but when they simply state that the master needs it, he lets it go willingly. The disciples return triumphant with the donkey that Jesus had requested and throw their coats upon its back. Jesus then climbs up on back of this young animal, the donkey seemingly unaware of this significant event it was about to participate in. In joyous celebration, members of the crowds lie their coats on the road providing a carpet for this animal to walk upon as it carries the King of Kings upon its back, whilst others in the crowd grab palm branches and declare at the tops of their voices;
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the Highest” (Mark 11:9b-10)
Jesus has arrived in the city whose inhabitants will soon kill him, yet for now it celebrates his arrival; the people declaring at the top of their lungs their long-awaited hope. It’s amazing the difference a couple of days makes. .
Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem was the beginning of a showdown between himself and the religious elite. But it was so much more than that, it was the beginning of the moment that creation had been yearning for since the first sin, the ultimate showdown between good and evil was near.
- What stood out for you in today’s story? Do you have any questions?
- What do you think the crowds were expecting Jesus to do when he rode into town on a donkey?
- In just a couple days this same city was call for Jesus to be crucified. What do you think changed?
- Sometimes we can be disappointed that Jesus doesn’t do what we think he should do. Can you think of a time when you have been disappointed? (Whilst the bible reminds us that God’s plans are bigger than our plans, it is ok to grieve these things and then commit to trusting in King Jesus).
- Who could you bless this week by living generously through your words or actions?