Reading Mark 36 – Welcoming the King
Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” And 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.
- Colt: A young donkey
- Hosanna: Hooray! A word of praise to God which calls on him to save his people.
- Blessed: Deserving praise
- Temple: The main place of worship for the Jews, where they offered animal sacrifices to God for the sins of the people
Have you ever seen a king or queen in a procession?
What do you think that Jesus was trying to teach here?
In Mark 1:1-8 we saw John the Baptist doing the work of a messenger, preparing the way for the King. But he didn’t look like an ordinary messenger, and as we have seen several times, Jesus wasn’t the kind of king people expected – he is poor, he is humble, and he serves others.
As Jesus approaches Jerusalem, the centre of the Jewish religion, in order to fulfil what he had come into the world to do, he still didn’t look like the type of king that the world would admire. Rather than marching in on the back of a horse, looking powerful, Jesus chooses to sit on the back of a little donkey.
But although he didn’t look like we expected, Jesus once again was fulfilling things that had been said about him by the prophets hundreds of years before. The prophet Zechariah (9:9) had said that this was the exact way the King would enter Jerusalem.
The people seem to have listened to Bartimaeus, because they praise the one who has come to sit on the throne of David. They show their respect for him by placing clothes and branches under the feet of the donkey. At the same time, they call out to God to save them, and give thanks that Jesus is the King.
But this happy scene wasn’t going to last for long. Although many have joined in the celebration and excitement when Jesus arrives in Jerusalem, in a few days the crowd will shout very different words. Instead of praising Jesus, they will call on the Romans to kill him on a cross. Do you remember the rocky land in the parable of the sower in Mark 4:1-20? Those people followed Jesus joyfully one minute, but because their faith didn’t have deep roots in Jesus, they were only following the crowd.
Is there a danger that we sometimes do good or bad things just becausde everyone else is doing them?
Why were the people calling on God to save them?
giving praise to God. Jesus is blessed, and his kingdom is excellent.