Going Deeper 03.26.2021

The second Gospel reading for Palm/Passion Sunday... Mark 11:1-11

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! 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 heaven!”  Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Into Jerusalem, the Royal City, rides Jesus the Messiah/Christ.  His reputation certainly precedes Him: miracle worker, fulfiller of ancient prophecies, one who teaches with great authority and speaks truth to power.  As He rides into the "city of David... city of kings", the excitement reaches a frenzied level.  At last, a King comes to restore the nation of Israel.  At last, the reign of the Romans will be ended.  "Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!"

Most likely, for many who had gathered the fact Jesus rode on a colt brought to mind the prophecy of Zechariah: 

Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”  Perhaps lost in the fervor and excitement is fact that Jesus was indeed entering "humble and riding on... a colt", not riding a war horse, which kings were known to ride when entering towns on missions of war.  Riding a colt symbolized arriving on a mission of peace.

Even though Jesus had recently told His disciples three times what was about to happen-- arrest, trial, death, and resurrection-- no one seemed to have an understanding of how this week would culminate.  When Jesus is arrested days later, the seemingly impotent, beaten, and bloodied figure standing in front of the Roman Procurator, Pontius Pilate, did not have the look of a triumphant warrior king.  He looked pathetic.  "Crucify Him!" replaced "Hosanna!"

Little did they know... 

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"