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Read Mark 11:1-11.

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

11 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

“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 heaven!”

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

Go Deeper.

Mark 11 begins with Jesus nearing the entrance to Jerusalem. Fully aware of what is in front of him and the reality that he is facing, Jesus instructs two of his disciples to go ahead and bring him back a colt. At first glance, this might seem like a random set of instructions but what Jesus is doing here is intentional. He is fulfilling a prophecy from Zechariah 9:9 and essentially identifying himself as the Messiah that Israel has been waiting for this entire time. As he rides into town, Jesus is greeted by excited onlookers waving palm branches and shouting “Hosanna”, which means “Save us now”. 

The crowd knew this was the Messiah coming to save them…but how was he going to do it? Was he going to topple the Roman Empire? Was he going to turn the world upside down and declare himself king? It seemed like everyone one in the crowd had certain expectations of what they thought Jesus was going to do. But Jesus, as he did all throughout his earthly ministry, flipped those expectations on their heads.

Instead of a warhorse, Jesus came riding into town on a donkey. He was definitely coming to establish a new Kingdom–it just wasn’t the kind they were expecting. And Jesus was absolutely going to save them from tyranny and oppression, but instead of saving them from the Roman Empire Jesus was going to save them from eternal separation from Him. 

It seems life rarely goes the way we draw it up, right? We have our own expectations of how things should go. We make five year and ten year plans. But what happens when those plans get blown up? It is in those moments where we come face-to-face with the questions that Jesus’s followers had to reckon with almost 2,000 years ago: Is Jesus really enough? The life that Jesus is calling us to, where we pick up our cross and follow him, is one of day-to-day faithfulness. 

 

Even when things don’t go according to our plans or line up with the expectations we had in our minds, we can still choose to follow Jesus faithfully. 

 

  1. What word or phrase would you use to describe the scene as Jesus entered town? Why?

  2. What is the most recent example in your own life where your expectations were not met?

  3. What are practical steps you can take to follow Jesus today, even when there are circumstances out of your control?

By the Way

John’s account of Palm Sunday tells us that even the disciples didn’t fully grasp what was happening that day until after the fact. John 12:16 says, “At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.” Praise God that we know how the story ends!

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6 thoughts on “Holy Week: Sunday”

  1. 1. Electrifying
    2. With co-workers
    3. Regardless of my circumstances, Jesus is enough!
    My favorite phrase from the commentary was “Jesus was going to save them from eternal separation from Him.” Thank you, BRP Team, for providing this opportunity for us to enter into Holy Week together. Praying our hearts are opened to the ugly-beautiful of what Jesus did to redeem us.

  2. Same here, Dawn. That got me thinking, too. And the fruitless fig tree… Jesus wanting something from me, and me saying no—it’s not my season. (Ouch)
    There is so much richness in this reading today that it’s hard to pick just one lesson. But overall, the word that came to mind was “unexpected”. It seemed like the disciples and the Pharisees were dazed and confused. I love the heading ‘Jesus came to Jerusalem as King!’ Such a breath of fresh air from Judges! Praise God! 🙌🏻
    May we all learn to go into church today with our tables overturned and leave fruitful. Thanks you, Jesus!

  3. I love this time and wish we celebrated Jesus’s resurrection all the time. This is why!!! This is the answer to all questions because He lives I can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone, because I know who holds the future and life is worth living because He lives!!!!!!

    God I am so on my knees in amazement!!! My vocabulary doesn’t seem to be sufficient for words of thankful, grateful and amazed!!! I am glad You see my heart, in Jesus name amen woohoo!!!!!!!

  4. The perspective of the triumphal entry as a scenario of missed expectations is new to me, but I love how it reminds us that even when we don’t understand, God really is working it all for His glory and our good.

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