EXCITEMENT OVER JESUS THAT STOPS SHORT OF WORSHIPING HIM
AS KING OVER ALL QUICKLY FADES AWAY
Following the confession of Peter in chap. 8 that Jesus is truly the Messiah, we have seen a growing sense of anticipation and drama in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus has set His face like flint to head to Jerusalem where He will fulfill His mission as the Suffering Servant. He has been educating His closest disciples about what type of Messiah He is. He has been explaining over and over that He is much more than just a political revolutionist who will bring about national restoration and throw off the bonds of Roman oppression. He is headed for rejection and suffering and death at the hands of both the Jewish religious leaders and the Roman officials. His hour has almost come to glorify the Father. This is why He came into the world as God incarnate. Today we see Jesus arrive in Jerusalem. I cannot overstress the significance of this great event.
Look at what % of the gospel accounts deal with the final week of Jesus’ life on earth as He goes to the Cross – 1/3 of Mark’s Gospel and ½ of John’s Gospel cover the last seven days of Jesus’ life. Significant to understanding the identity and mission of the Suffering Servant.
Various names for this event:
– The Triumphal Entry – (maybe the Triumphal Procession would be better)
– Palm Sunday – occurred on the first day of Passion week – either Sunday or Monday
Not some symbol of peace and pleasantness as in our Sunday School classes with young children but symbol of Maccabean revolt by political revolutionaries —
The Palm branches signify the expectation of a military victory of their king over the occupying Romans. Look at Rev. 7:9 the martyrs coming out of the Great Trib.
– What should we call it??? The Reception That Wasn’t – looking not so much at the procession but what took place upon His arrival
Where does all this excitement and anticipation lead??
I. (:1-10) THE APPROACH OF JESUS GENERATES EXCITEMENT
Anticipation of the coming King and coming Kingdom —
A. (:1-6) Excitement Implied in the Preparations for Entrance Into Jerusalem
1. (:1-3) Instructions Consistent with Messianic Royal Procession
a. (:1a) Prophetic Significance of the Targeted Geography
“And as they approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany,
near the Mount of Olives,”
Significance of city of Jerusalem – everything in the Gospel of Mark has been targeted towards this entrance into Jerusalem – Jesus had to avoid publicity in his earlier healings and instruct people to keep quiet so he didn’t draw too much attention to himself … because he was not yet at Jerusalem for this final passion week … but no longer; He doesn’t tell Bartimaeus to be quiet; he doesn’t try to hush the crowd; the time has come for open confrontation with the Jewish leaders in the city of God — Jerusalem
Bethphage = house of unripe figs – we will be studying Jesus cursing the fig tree next week
Bethany = house of sorrows or house of dates
Raising of Lazarus had recently taken place in Bethany
Significance of Mount of Olives: End Time events
A North to South ridge about 2 miles long across from the Kidron Valley just East of Jerusalem, known for its abundance of olive trees; center part rises 100 ft higher than Jerusalem
Ezek. 11:23 – at the Fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC Ezekiel had a vision of the glory of the Lord departing from Jerusalem and settling on the Mount of Olives
Zech. 14:4 “In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.” – scene of final judgment and the return of the Lord in victory
14:9 “And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.”
Alan Carr: Historians tell us that the population of Jerusalem was around 80,000 at this time. During the Passover, between two and three million people would crowd into the city for the celebration. The people came in anticipation; they were looking for God to do something while they were there. God would do His greatest work of all during this Passover, but most people would miss it altogether.
MacArthur: “The False Coronation of the True King” — The year is 30 A.D. by the best chronology. The month is the first Jewish month, Nisan, and the arrival is on the tenth [Monday] and the crucifixion is on the fourteenth [Friday] and that all matters because God has established a very firm time table. . . Coronations aren’t humble, they aren’t unexpected. They aren’t unplanned. They aren’t unofficial. They aren’t spontaneous. They aren’t superficial. They aren’t temporary. But this one was all of those. Coronations are not to be reversed in a few days so that the one exalted and elevated becomes rejected and executed, like this one. This was no real coronation. Let it be said, Jesus is the real King, deserving of all exaltation, all honor, all worship and all praise, so this is the false coronation of the true King. . .
It is estimated that as many as two million people would be in Jerusalem at a Passover even in ancient days. And one of the ways we get at that is ten years after this, 40 A.D., there’s a record in Jewish history that two hundred and sixty-thousand lambs were slain at that Passover, over a quarter of a million. Usually there was one lamb per ten people. That would put it at two-point-six-million people possibly. It was a massive crowd.
The crowd around Him must have been in the hundreds of thousands. This was the time and this was the place to allow this to agitate His enemies so that He would die in God’s perfect timing
. . . according to the Mosaic Law, a sacrificial lamb for Passover was to be selected and set apart on the tenth of Nisan…the tenth was Monday and that’s when the sacrificial lamb arrived. And the sacrificial lamb was to be crucified on the fourteenth and that’s Friday when He was crucified.
b. (:1b-2) Messianic Significance of the Unbroken Colt
“He sent two of His disciples, and said to them, ‘Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here.’”
“village opposite” – probably Bethphage
Gen. 49:8-11 Pre-Christian Jewish texts interpreted Genesis 49:10 as messianic. Constable
Constable: The Mosaic Law specified that an animal devoted to a sacred purpose had to be one that had not been used for ordinary purposes (Numbers 19:2; Deuteronomy 21:3). Jesus told the disciples to bring both the colt and its mother to Him (Matthew 21:2). The colt was unbroken, and Jesus was able to ride on it comfortably. These facts suggested that Jesus might be the sinless Man who was able to fulfill the Adamic Covenant mandate to subdue the animals (Genesis 1:28; cf. Matthew 17:27), the Second Adam.
Matt. Indicates that both the mare and her colt were brought to Jesus
They would not be kept longer than necessary for the specific task
c. (:3) Dominion Significance of the Commandeering of the Colt
“And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ you say,
‘The Lord has need of it’; and immediately he will send it back here.”
“The Lord” – the Sovereign One, the King of the Jews
Parunak: Mark is emphasizing the Lord’s power and authority, not his humility.
Edwards: Jesus thus does not enter Jerusalem as an unknowing victim, but with the same foreknowledge and sovereignty with which he traveled “on the way.”
2. (:4-6) Instructions Carried Out in Obedience to the King
a. (:4) Finding the Colt as Jesus Had Instructed
“And they went away and found a colt tied at the door outside in the street; and they untied it.”
b. (:5-6) Commandeering the Colt as Jesus had Instruction
“And some of the bystanders were saying to them,
‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’
And they spoke to them just as Jesus had told them,
and they gave them permission.”
B. (:7-10) Excitement Expressed in Symbolic Deeds and Stirring Words
1. (:7-8) Excitement Expressed in Symbolic Deeds
a. (:7) Symbolism of Making a Saddle Out of Their Garments
“And they brought the colt to Jesus and put their garments on it;
and He sat upon it.”
Constable: When Israel’s rulers wanted to present themselves as servants of the people, they rode donkeys (e.g., Judges 10:4; Judges 12:14). When they acted as military leaders, they rode horses. Normally pilgrims to Jerusalem entered the city on foot. Placing one’s garment on the ground before someone was a sign of royal homage (cf. 2 Kings 9:12-13; 1 Maccabees 13:51).
b. (:8) Symbolism of Making a Pathway Out of Their Garments and Cut
“And many spread their garments in the road,
and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields.”
Parunak: A carpet of garments (2 Kings 9:13) is a royal honor. For many peasants, their garments were the most valuable thing they owned, and to have them trodden underfoot, especially by a hooved animal, would be a great loss. . .
Boughs: calls to mind the final Mosaic feast, Tabernacles, the 15th day of the 7th month, as Passover (the first feast of the year) is the 15th of the first month (Lev 23:40). Looked not only back to the Exodus (thus the booths), but also forward to the Millennium; (cf. Isa. 25:6-8.)
2. (:9-10) Excitement Expressed in Stirring Words
“And those who went before, and those who followed after, were crying out,
‘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!’”
Hosanna = “O Lord, save us now”
Anticipation of the coming King and the coming Kingdom
II. (:11a) THE ARRIVAL OF JESUS GENERATES . . . NOTHING
“And He entered Jerusalem and came into the temple;”
Think of what this event teaches us about the character of Jesus:
– What courage for Jesus to come directly into Jerusalem – knowing what lay ahead for Him; to come into the temple itself despite the evil intentions of the Jewish religious leaders
– What humility for Jesus to come as the Suffering Servant riding on a donkey rather than as a conquering warrior riding on a regal stallion; What humility to keep His glory cloaked as He comes to the temple – the very place where the glory of God should shine the brightest – yet Phil. 2 teaches us about the Humility of Jesus
– What obedience on the part of the one who trusted His Father implicitly and came to fulfill all righteousness
Deffinbaugh: One event in recent days, more than any other, brought the focus of attention on Jesus. He had just recently raised Lazarus from the dead in Bethany, not two miles from Jerusalem, the citadel of opposition to Him. The scribes and Pharisees not only denounced Him, but determined to put both He and Lazarus to death (John 11:46-53; 12:10). Word had gone out that anyone who knew the whereabouts of Jesus should report it to them (John 11:57). Many of those who thronged the way to welcome Jesus to Jerusalem did so because of the report of the raising of Lazarus (John 12:17-18). In such an atmosphere, electric with excitement and expectation (and danger), the highly symbolic act of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem riding on the back of a young donkey could not be taken lightly. . .
Not headed just for the city of Jerusalem, the City of David, the habitation of God – but headed for the very temple itself where the glory of God should reside; where a holy God should meet with sinful men; where sacrifices for sin are offered daily; where the high priest ministers his sacred duties
Jesus was very familiar with the temple
– Remember His time there as a young boy – only 12 years old when his parents thought they had lost him and went looking and found him in the temple – the house of His father – He was called to be about His father’s business
– He had made pilgrimages to the temple before for the annual feasts
Yet Jesus is Largely Ignored
“He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” John 1:11
Think about how tragic that was – what about all the excitement on the road leading up to His entrance??
Sproul: Here is the supreme irony: In 586 BC, Ezekiel saw the glory of God leave the temple, leave the holy city, and ascend to Bethany on the Mount of Olives. AT the triumphal entry, the One whom the Scriptures define as the brightness of God’s glory (Heb. 1:3) descended from Bethany and the Mount of Olives, entered the East Gate of the Holy City, and went to the temple. Do you see it? In 586 BC the glory of God left the temple, but when Jesus came, the glory of God came back. Yet no one understood that the King of glory was in their midst, about to meet the destiny to which He was called and for which He was born.
Edwards: Mark’s account is noteworthy for what does not happen. The whole scene comes to nothing. Like the seed in the parable of the sower that receives the word with joy but has no root and lasts but a short time (4:6; 16-17), the crowd disperses as mysteriously as it assembled. Mark is warning against mistaking enthusiasm for faith and popularity for discipleship. Jesus is not confessed in pomp and circumstance but only at the cross (15:39). The most expressed messianic symbol in Jesus’ entry – the riding on a colt in allusion to the humble Messiah of Zech 9:9 – is either short lived in the midst of the crowd or missed altogether. Jesus enters the temple alone, and having sized it up, he leaves for Bethany with the disciples. This is the first of Mark’s clues that the temple is not the habitation of God’s Son. Jesus is indeed the Messiah, but he is veiled and unrecognized. Even when he stands at the center of Israel’s faith, he stands alone.
III. (:11b) THE DEPARTURE OF JESUS WILL GENERATE JUDGMENT
“and after looking all around, He departed for Bethany with the twelve,
since it was already late.”
Will be seen in the incidents recorded from the following day
– Looking comprehensively – not missing anything
– Looking with insight – a penetrating look – seeing into the hearts and motives
– Looking with sadness —
MacArthur: Do you remember John 2 describes the beginning of His ministry when He did the same thing, attacked the false system, dismantled the temple? Three years later He’s back and He’s going to do it again. It wasn’t the Romans He would attack, it was the Jews. It wasn’t pagan idolatry He would attack, it was the worship of Judaism whose religion had been corrupted, whose praise was selfish and superficial.
Where was the crowd? What had happened to all that excitement and expectation??
What were the disciples thinking? Certainly they had expected more than this to occur after such a grand entrance
Look at how Jesus approaches the vast majority of people today –
– at religious holidays like Christmas and Easter – great anticipation; then largely apathy followed by certain judgment
– in the revelation of His Word —
– in the testimony of His people —
Don’t ignore Jesus and cause Him to depart
Look at how Jesus will approach the world from the Mt. Olives in the Last Days – that will truly be the Triumphal Entry
EXCITEMENT OVER JESUS THAT STOPS SHORT OF WORSHIPING HIM
AS KING OVER ALL QUICKLY FADES AWAY
simple celebration isn’t discipleship; enthusiasm isn’t faith
Have you responded to Jesus as your King and Sovereign?