Jesus comes to Jerusalem as king

This is written by Eric Rindal. He is from Seattle, smiles a lot, is a PHD student at SOAS and loves life.

Mark 11:1-11

Jesus comes to Jerusalem as king
11 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, 'Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, "Why are you doing this?" say, "The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly."'

4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some people standing there asked, 'What are you doing, untying that colt?' 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
'Hosanna!'

'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'

10 'Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!'

'Hosanna in the highest heaven!'

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

Reflection

After reading these verses, it occurred to me I often take for granted being handed a book with the "whole" narrative of Jesus. It's all there: the birth, life, death, afterlife. Reiterated in the Gospels with direct quotes and further thoughts of how to purposefully love others.

In hindsight we may think, "of course people would stop their life for Jesus. It was Jesus." However, they didn't have a book with the whole story. The people in this passage reacted in real time to a man who called himself Lord.

This passage shows how people in his life believed him, trusted him and praised him.

Three elements here are significant: Jesus calls himself Lord, the disciples follow his instructions, and people in the streets spontaneously praise him.

First, Jesus refers to himself as "Lord," i.e. Son of God. This isn't something to just skip over. Reflecting on this, I'm reminded what C.S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity, "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher […] Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse." We have a choice here. In fact, it determines every aspect of how we live life.

Second, the disciples didn’t hesitate at Jesus's request. Their task was, in part, to facilitate Jesus's entrance. Knowing they'd be questioned, Jesus gave them exact words and prepared them for the next "scene." I believe God insists we move into the unforeseen, into the risks and tensions of the unknown. As we have been given the words for what lies ahead.

Lastly, people in the streets were going about their daily life until they heard Jesus was approaching. At this, they shouted parts of Psalm 118, "hosanna" or "save us!" It was like they just knew Jesus was divine and deserved a regal entrance.

So, have you been asked to go find a colt for Jesus? Do you trust you've been given the words and abilities to follow without hesitation? Furthermore, knowing the life of Jesus, how willing are you to throw your cloak at his feet?

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