Scripture: Mark 11:1-11
The arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem is a significant moment in the gospel of Mark. As Jesus rode into the city on a donkey the crowds hailed him as the Messiah, the one who was to fulfil the Old Testament prophecies about a future king who would rule with righteousness and justice.
By this point Jesus had already performed many miracles, had gained a following, and had a committed group of disciples who had placed their hope in him. When Jesus rides into Jerusalem not only are His disciples aware of his significance but it seems many in the city are as well.
Jesus’ arrival was a statement. It specifically fulfilled the prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9, which states that the Messiah would come riding on a donkey. Those who knew their scriptures, which will have included all the religious leaders in the city at the time, would have understood the meaning and significance of this moment. It was a declaration that Jesus was the true Messiah, the promised one from centuries ago, who would come and restore God’s people to their rightful place. Those recognising this prophecy spread their cloaks and placed palm branches before Him to express their devotion and admiration.
Of course, it wouldn’t surprise us to know that this was a direct challenge to the religious leaders in Jerusalem. They were increasingly threatened by Jesus’ popularity, but this moment was a challenge to their authority.
It reminds me of footage that shows the late Queen Elizabeth on her coming to Melbourne. There she is in a private car, looking out upon the crowds who line the streets just waiting to get a glimpse of her. There is recognition that she is someone special, she is someone who holds a position of authority, she was someone who people would come out specially to see and greet. When she is spotted by those in the crowd they cheer and clap as they know this is the one they’ve been waiting for. In a similar vein Jesus was the one who God’s people had been waiting for and they recognised His place, His position, and His authority as He rode into Jerusalem.
As we begin Easter Week today it is worth asking ourselves whether we recognise Jesus’ authority in our lives. For example:
- When we are afraid to trust God, are we forgetting that His plans are good?
- When we face opposition for following Jesus, do we trust He will make a way for us?
- When we are distracted by our culture, are we forgetting that He is our portion?
- When we experience temptation to sin, do we remember the victory Jesus has already won?
- When we step into change, do we hold fast to the unchanging nature of God?
- When we encounter those who are different to us, do we extend the love and grace of Jesus to them?
Are there areas in our hearts that we don’t want to give over to God and have His authority in our lives?
This is a devotional series I’ve written for my church for Easter Week 2023. It follows the Passion narrative in the Gospel of Mark. This is day 1 of 8.
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