Jun 02, 2013
Mark 11:1-11

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Divide the Gospel of Mark into 2 sections:

Mark 1-10: Jesus the Servant and His service!

Mark 11-16: Jesus the Servant and His sacrifice!

[Mark 11:1a] “Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives....” 

Scene of Activity

“They drew near Jerusalem” 

Jesus is traveling to Jerusalem with a crew: the twelve disciples, a great multitude of pilgrims coming from Galilee, and the one known previously as “Blind Bartimaeus.”

Over the last chapter He’s been on a direct and deliberate journey towards Jerusalem.

Jesus passes through “Bethphage and Bethany” arriving at “the Mount of Olives.”

Traveling East to West from Jericho....

2 Mile Marker: “Bethany” - known as the “House of Dates.”

1 Mile Marker: “Bethphage” - known as the “House of Figs.” 

Both cities were located on the Eastern slope of the Mount of Olives.

“Mount of Olives” know for it’s lush olive groves was a quarter mile away.

The Mount of Olives and Mount Moriah were separated by the Kidron Valley.

Jesus has arrived to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Passover. 

Passover was one of the three pilgrimage festivals (Pentecost and Tabernacles.) 

It was the festival celebrating God delivering Israel from Egyptian captivity. 

Though “Passover” won’t officially begin until Thursday at 6 PM, the entirety of the feast traditionally lasted for 7 days. Jesus is arriving the Sunday before. 

Note: This is the first time Mark records Jesus visiting Jerusalem, however, we know from the other Gospels that Jesus had visited Jerusalem on numerous occasions.

Jesus’ arrival to Jerusalem officially marks the final week of His earthly ministry. 

The next 7 days are known as Jesus “Week of Passion” and mark one of the most influential, and historically significant weeks in the history of mankind.

Understand the Atmosphere in Jerusalem as Jesus Arrives:

1. Jerusalem is Packed! 

The normal population of Jerusalem was 500,000; however, during Passover the population would swell up to 3 times the normal size (2-3 million people). 

2. Jerusalem is Live!

The Jewish people are in a festive, celebratory, religious, and patriotic mood. 

Pilgrims from all over Rome have traveled for the feast. As they arrive they’re singing the “Hallel Psalms (113-118)” and the “Psalms of the Ascent (120-134).”

3. Jerusalem is Anxious!

Because of the increased population, the patriotic nature of the gathering, and some of the continued unrest in Judea the Romans always feared revolt.

Josephus says the increased presence of the Romans would be 10x the norm.

To make matters worse the mob is filled with a suspenseful anticipation of the arrival of this man Jesus of Nazareth. The rumor mill has been churning! 

[Mark 11:1b-6] “Jesus sent two of His disciples; and He said to them, “Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it. And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it,’ and immediately he will send it here.” 

So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it. But some of those who stood there said to them, “What are you doing, loosing the colt?” And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go.” 

Scene of Activity

“Jesus sent two of His disciples....”

The Gospel of John identifies these two disciples as being Peter and John.

Which may explain why Mark provides details none of the other writers include.

Significant: These same 2 disciples would play a pivotal role in Acts.

Jesus tells them to go find a “colt which no one has sat.” He also tells them that if they were to run into any problems simply tell the owner that “the Lord has need of it.” 

The Lord has need” - seems to be a contradiction. 

Observation: Jesus willingly places Himself into a dynamic where He needs to partner with people to accomplish His will. 

Jesus would borrow a crib, a boat, money to pay His taxes from a fish, a cross, a tomb, and in this instance a colt. Not to mention, Jesus was constantly a house guest during His ministry (Peter’s house in Capernaum, Matthew the tax collector, Mary and Martha).

Great Spiritual Mystery: Though Jesus doesn’t need to do this, in order to accomplish His will on earth, He willingly chooses to limit Himself by partnering with people.

He chooses to limit Himself for 3 reasons:

1. To demonstrate His power to the world. 

1 Corinthians 1:27, “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.”

2. To prepare His followers for eternity.
1 John 2-3, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.”

3. To bless His disciples with the joy of ministry.

Ephesians 2:10, “We are His workmanship, created in Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Realize the Lord wants to partner with you in ministry: to your spouse - in raising your children - in reaching the lost - in the mission of your church? 

How amazing is it that “the Lord has need” of you? 

[Mark 11:7-10] “Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it. And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees (John tells us they were palm branches) and spread them on the road. Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: (They’re singing directly from Psalms 118) “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

2 Observational Questions we should consider:
  • Why did Jesus desire to enter Jerusalem in such a specific and particular way?

  • Why the dramatic shift in the way Jesus addressed His public perception?

Consider: Time and time again Jesus has actively and repeatedly discouraged public praise and adulation, but in this instance something has radically changed. 

Jesus intentionally orchestrated the events of this day to bring attention to Himself. 

It would appear He openly embraces and encourages the attention and praise. 

We must consider.... why the change in approach at this point in His ministry?

1. Jesus was officially presenting Himself to Israel as the Messiah.

As Jesus is traveling from the Mount of Olives (from the East) down the Kidron Valley into Jerusalem, the people begin to exalt Jesus as their coming King - their Messiah.

Zachariah 9:9 said the Messiah would come in Jerusalem riding on a donkey.

They cried out “Hosanna” which literally means “save now!” 

Ironically, they didn’t know what they were really crying out....
They were looking for the Messiah to liberate Israel from Roman occupation verses what He was actually there to accomplish liberation of people from the bonds of sin.

John admits they had no idea what was really happening till after the resurrection.

In Luke 19:41-44 Jesus issues an interesting response when the religious leaders ask Him to command the multitudes to stop praising Him as the Messiah. 

“But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out." Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. "For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."

Jesus is saying 2 important things to these religious leaders:

1. What’s happening is a big deal. You should know what’s going on....

2. Since you don’t, there will be tragic consequences.

Q: Why would Jesus say this? 

A: What we consider as Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem takes on a new level of significance when we place the event in context to a prophecy given to Daniel.

Context: Daniel is in Babylon and he’s worried God was done with Israel.

God calms Daniel’s fears by providing him a prophetic vision and timeline for His future dealings with Israel.... we know this as Daniel’s “70 Weeks Prophecy.”

[Daniel 9:24-26] “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.”

1. God makes it clear (speaking of the Hebrew people and the city of Jerusalem) that “seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city.”

Seventy weeks” - translated literally as “seventy groupings of seven years.” 

This means God was establishing 490 years to finish His dealing with Israel.

2.God then tells Daniel when the 490 year timeline will begin.... He says it will start with “the command to restore and build Jerusalem....” 

Nehemiah 2:1 - King Artexerxes issued this command on March 14, 445 B.C.

3. Then Daniel is given another monumental event on the timeline: from this future command “to Messiah the Prince” will be “seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.” 

Literally, 69 sets of 7 years = 483 years or 173,880 days (Babylonian Calendar).

This means exactly 173,880 days from March 14, 445 B.C. “Messiah the Prince” would finally present Himself to Israel.

Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on April 6, 32 A.D. presenting Himself as the Messiah.

Jesus rebukes the religious leaders because they should have known.... that morning their iCal should have notified them that the Messiah would appear to them in Jerusalem. 

Jesus’ arrival was a direct fulfillment to Daniel’s prophecy! Sadly, the religious leaders should have know.... “You did not know the time of your visitation.” 

Jesus is weeping because he knows what will come next.

According to Daniel, “The Messiah shall be cut off.... and the people of the prince (Romans) who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.”

Fulfillment of this took place in two specific phases:
  • Later that week the Messiah would be crucified and die. 

  • Then in 70 A.D. Titus Vespasian would sack Jerusalem.

The 2nd reason Jesus changed His approach....

2. Jesus was presenting Himself as the ultimate Passover sacrifice.

Sunday - the first stage of Passover whereby the lambs were presented for sacrifice.

This would be followed by a period of inspection and examination to insure the sacrifice was pure and spotless.... this will take place over the next several days.  

Though Jesus would be rejected by the people as their Messiah, Jesus would be accepted by God as the perfect “Passover Sacrifice” to take away the sins of mankind!

[Mark 11:11] “And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.”

Scene of Activity

The Kingly procession concluded at the temple where Jesus observes and evaluates the comings and goings of the outer court before returning to Bethany.

When visiting Jerusalem, Jesus would stay at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

We’re told in other Gospel records that when “He had looked around at all things” Jesus was enraged by what He sees happening. Though the other Gospel narratives indicate Jesus immediately acts to what He was seeing, Mark gives us a better timeline as to how thing occurred. 

On Sunday Jesus sees what’s happening, but He will return to Bethany for the evening before returning to the temple on Monday to drive out the money changers.

Observation: When roused to anger Jesus never reacts! 

Jesus wisely gave Himself the night to cool off and think before He acts.

Good Advice: Before you spout off - take time and think it through.

In conclusion: How did everyone miss the significance of this day?

The People missed out because of selfish-motivations. 

They only saw Jesus for who they wanted Him to be, not for who He really was. 

When it was clear Jesus had not come to do what they wanted, they turned on Him.

The Religious Leaders missed out because of fear.

They feared what repercussions accepting Jesus would have for their lives. 

Accepting Jesus would threaten their power and moral standing.

The Romans missed out because of worldliness.

We call this the “Triumphal Entry,” but from a Roman’s perspective this scene would have been far from a triumphal. 

Sadly, they missed out because they only examined the scene occurring that day from a world perspective, not a spiritual one.