SS Lesson for 03/29/2015
Devotional Scripture: Ps 118:19-29
The lesson reviews how the people praised Jesus for Coming in the Name of the Lord. The study's aim is to realize that the humble Jesus who entered Jerusalem on a donkey is truly the Lord of heaven and earth. The study's application is to accept the King of kings as Savior and the Ruler of life. (Adapted from the Bible Expositor and Illuminator Commentary).
Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
Mark’s account of this event exhibits vivid detail but is somewhat restrained in proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah (cf. comments on Mark 1:43-44; 8:30-31). Only later (probably after Jesus’ resurrection) did His disciples fully understand. Less than a mile southeast of Jerusalem was the village of Bethphage (lit., “house of unripe figs”) and about two miles out was Bethany (lit., “house of dates or figs”) on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives, a high ridge about two miles long known for its many olive trees. In Bethany, the last stopping place on the desolate and unsafe road from Jerusalem to Jericho (cf. 10:46), was the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus (John 11:1), which generally served as Jesus’ abode when He was in Judea (cf. Mark 11:11). Bethany was also the home of Simon the Leper (14:3-9). Jesus sent two... disciples (cf. 14:13) into the village ahead of (katenanti, “opposite,” perhaps across the Mount of Olives from Bethany) them, presumably Bethphage, to find immediately (euthys; cf. 1:10) on entry, an unbroken colt of a donkey. They were to untie it and bring it to Jesus. Matthew included mention of the mother with her colt (see comments on Matt. 21:2). If anyone challenged them they were to say, The Lord needs it and will send it back here (to the village) shortly (euthys, “without delay”; cf. Mark 1:10). It is generally assumed that Jesus here referred to Himself by the title “Lord” (kyrios; cf. 5:19) not to the colt’s owner. Mark recorded the disciples’ carrying out Jesus’ instructions (cf. vv. 2-3), demonstrating the detailed accuracy of His prediction. This highlighted the untying of the colt, which Jesus may have intended as a messianic sign (cf. Gen. 49:8-12). Had Jesus made prearranged plans with the colt’s owner, or did this event reflect His supernatural knowledge? A later parallel situation (cf. Mark 14:13-16) may support the first view, but the large amount of detail Mark included on securing the colt (11:2-6) convincingly favors the second view. Even so, the colt’s owner probably had had previous contact with Jesus. The amount of detail Mark recorded here implies an eyewitness report; possibly Peter was one of the two disciples sent on this errand. The disciples put their outer cloaks on the colt as a makeshift saddle. Jesus mounted the previously unridden colt and began His ride into Jerusalem. Many people entered into the excitement of the moment and spontaneously paid Him tribute by spreading their outer cloaks before Him on the dusty road (cf. 2 Kings 9:12-13). Others spread green branches (stibadas, “leaves or leafy branches”) cut from surrounding fields. Palm branches are mentioned in John 12:13. The chiastic arrangement of these verses suggests antiphonal chanting by two groups—those who went ahead of Jesus and those who followed Him. They chanted Psalm 118:25-26. At the annual Passover festival (cf. Mark 14:1), the Jews chanted the six “ascent” psalms (Pss. 113-118) to express thanksgiving, praise, and petitions to God. Hosanna, a transliteration of the Greek word which is itself a transliteration of the Hebrew hôš ʿâh nā, originally was a prayer addressed to God, meaning “O save us now” (cf. Ps. 118:25a). Later it came to be used as a shout of praise (like “Hallelujah!”) and then as an enthusiastic welcome to pilgrims or to a famous Rabbi. Hosanna in the highest, in highest places, likely means “Save us, O God, who lives in heaven.” Its use here probably reflects a mixture of all these elements due to the nature of the crowd. The acclamation, Blessed (lit., “May... be blessed”) calls for God’s gracious power to attend someone or to effect something. He who comes in the name of the Lord (as God’s representative and with His authority) originally referred to a pilgrim coming to the festival. Though these words are not a messianic title, this crowd of pilgrims applied them to Jesus, perhaps with messianic overtones (cf. Gen. 49:10; Matt. 3:11) but they stopped short of identifying Jesus as the Messiah. The coming kingdom (cf. comments on Mark 1:15) in association with David reflected the peoples’ messianic hope for the restoration of the Davidic kingdom (cf. 2 Sam. 7:16; Amos 9:11-12). But their enthusiasm was for a ruling Messiah and a political kingdom, not realizing and not accepting the fact that the One peaceably riding on the colt was their Messiah (cf. Zech. 9:9), the suffering Messiah whose kingdom stood near because of His presence with them. For most people, then, this moment of jubilation was simply part of the traditional Passover celebration—it did not alarm the Roman authorities or initiate a call for Jesus’ arrest by the Jewish rulers. After entering Jerusalem Jesus... went to the temple (hieron, “the temple precincts”; cf. vv. 15, 27), not the central sanctuary (naos; cf. 14:58; 15:29, 38). He carefully surveyed the premises to see if they were being used as God intended. This led to His action the next day (cf. 11:15-17). Since it was near sunset when the city gates were closed, Jesus went out to Bethany (cf. v. 1a) with the Twelve for the night.
Christmas reminds us that God does big things in small ways, and that his kingdom extends to everyone—even to (or especially to) those in the most humble circumstances. The same point is made, in a different way, by the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem a few days before his death. The point concerns the nature of the kingdom that Jesus came to establish. At first glance, the triumphal entry might seem to have been something of a political high point for Jesus, a rare moment when he could revel in the honor and glory rightfully due him. Crowds lined the road, shouted praise, and waved palm branches as he rode into Jerusalem to the acclaim. All this would seem to be a long way from the manger of Bethlehem! But there are two sides to the story, a fact that makes Palm Sunday one of the most symbolically significant occasions on the Christian calendar. While Jesus offered a glimpse here of his kingly identity, he also made very clear that God’s kingdom is not like Caesar’s kingdom. In this respect, Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem became a fitting introduction to his death on a cross that was soon to follow.
The significance of Jesus’ triumphal entry is stressed by the fact that this is one of the few events from his life to be recorded in all four Gospels. Each evangelist reports Jesus’ coming to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover a week before his death, and each says that his arrival was marked by popular acclaim. The triumphal entry was indeed a high point in Jesus’ public ministry. Up to that point in Mark’s account, Jesus had spent his time moving from village to village in areas north of Judea, ministering primarily in Galilee with occasional forays into Gentile territories. He focused his ministry primarily on rural peasants who lived in and around the villages across Galilee. Mark 10:1 reveals a transition as Jesus moved from Capernaum in Galilee (9:30, 33) into Perea, the area east of the Jordan River. Jesus was taking his message to Jerusalem (10:32), the center of Jewish faith and the seat of the powerful high priests, who controlled the temple and managed the Jewish population in collaboration with the Romans. Christ’s subsequent movement westward from Perea into Judea found him accompanied by a large number of pilgrims who were headed to Jerusalem for the Passover observance. Having seen Jesus’ miracles and having heard his teachings about the coming kingdom of God, many who came to Jerusalem for the festival must have expected him to do something big. Perhaps he would finally declare war on the Romans or demand that the corrupt priests resign from office. Jesus, however, had a very different kind of kingdom in mind, and he had already stressed to his closest followers that he was going to Jerusalem not to conquer but to die (Mark 8:31; 9:31). Mark’s story line by itself can give the impression that the Jewish and Roman leadership in Jerusalem had had little prior exposure to Jesus. But the Gospel of John provides a fuller picture that is helpful for understanding the events of the final week of Jesus’ life. In John’s account, Jesus immediately headed to Jerusalem after calling his first disciples. There he criticized the temple leadership for operating a marketplace (John 2:13-17). Jesus left Judea and returned to Galilee (4:3), but over the years made several trips back to Jerusalem to attend major religious festivals. In so doing, he provoked the Pharisees and priests by healing people on the Sabbath (5:1-16; 9:1-16) and by explicitly challenging their teachings and authority. Tensions mounted to a point where it was not safe for Jesus to be in the city (John 10:30-40). The priests reached the end of their rope when Jesus came to Bethany (just outside Jerusalem) and raised Lazarus from the dead. After this remarkable event, the Sanhedrin (the Jewish high council) decided that if Jesus were not stopped, the masses would flock to him, leading to outright rebellion against Rome and themselves (11:45-57). Viewed against this backdrop, John makes clear what Mark assumes: when Jesus entered Jerusalem for the final time, to the applause of a massive Passover crowd, a great many people thought that he was coming as a king to claim his rightful throne.
1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples;
2 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.
3 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."
4 So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it.
5 But some of those who stood there said to them, "What are you doing, loosing the colt?"
6 And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go.
39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,
2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ," he said.
11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
9 To the discerning all of them are right; they are faultless to those who have knowledge. 10 Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold,
9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.
16 Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey — whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered NIV
6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
22 But Samuel replied: "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it.
8 And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9 Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'
10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David That comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"
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.
24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
14 "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation.
17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
11 The word of the Lord came to me: "What do you see, Jeremiah?" "I see the branch of an almond tree," I replied. 12 The Lord said to me, "You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled."
17 The Lord has done what he planned; he has fulfilled his word, which he decreed long ago. He has overthrown you without pity, he has let the enemy gloat over you, he has exalted the horn of your foes.
44 He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms."
10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
32 "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
2 I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
9 I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.
11 Sing praises to the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.
12 I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. 13 Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God?
105 Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. 2 Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. 3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting.
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
17 When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ," he said. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.
During His earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus revealed a precise sense of timing. Earlier in His ministry, His brothers had, with tongue in cheek, urged Jesus to prove Himself in Jerusalem (John 7:2-5). Jesus refused such a public act for it was not ‘His time’ (John 7:6). Finally, at the triumphal entry, His time had come. It was not just any day, but ‘His day,’ the day predicted long before by the prophet, Daniel. The Master sent two of His disciples to a nearby village to bring the donkey and her colt. It may well be that Jesus knew the owner of these animals. The disciples found the animals just as they had been told, and when they gave the explanation given by the Master, they were allowed to borrow them. Mark, more than any of the other Gospel writers, makes much of the matter of the borrowing of the two animals. On the other hand, Mark does not emphasize the fact that this act of the Lord Jesus was a deliberate fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Matthew (21:4-5) and John (12:14-15) tell us that this is a precise fulfillment of this portion of the book of Zechariah (Zechariah 9:9). Gentile readers would not be as impressed with this prophetic fulfillment as would those of Jewish descent. Mark does draw our attention to the response of the crowds to this dramatic entrance of Jesus into the Holy City. We would gather from the combined information of the gospel accounts that there was the converging of two crowds. One was the crowd that came into the city of Jerusalem with Jesus from Bethany (John 12:9). The other, the multitudes who streamed out of the city of Jerusalem to meet Him as He came (John 12:12-13). Some placed their garments on the back of the colt, for Jesus to sit upon, while others placed theirs in the path for the animals to walk upon (Mark 11:8). Branches were cut or torn off of the surrounding trees to spread on the path (Mark 11:8) and possibly to be waved in the air. It seems almost incredible that anyone could suggest that this had no messianic significance. Jehu was proclaimed King accompanied with men placing their clothes under him (2 Kings 9:13). The welcome given the Lord Jesus parallels that given to military heroes of ancient times. In addition to these things, Jesus was heralded in terms that could only be called messianic. He was greeted with what was in essence a Hallel Psalm, one of the series (Psalm 113-118) sung at Passover. Mark makes specific reference to Psalm 118:25. This Psalm is one of the six Psalms most often quoted or made reference to in the New Testament. Hosanna means ‘help’ or ‘save, I pray.’ While on the one hand, this is a cry for help, it is also apparent that it is also employed as a term of adoration and praise. In the expression “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (verse 9), we find that Jesus is hailed as One Who has come as a divine representative (at the least), and in the following statement, “Blessed is the coming Kingdom of our father David,” we see that it is the establishment of the Kingdom which is foremost in the minds of the multitude. ‘Hosanna in the highest’ reflects the angelic announcement of the Messiah’s birth (Luke 2:13-14). I must conclude that the crowds understood the actions of Jesus as a symbolic statement of His identity as Israel’s Messiah. They hailed Him as the coming One, the King of Israel (Luke 19:38). While the crowds were correct to hail Christ as their Messiah, they were wrong in their conception of the mission of His first appearance and of their concept of the nature and timing of the Kingdom. They were correct to hail Him as the coming King as Zechariah 9:9promised, but they failed to appreciate the significance of His riding upon the donkey, symbolic of a non-military and humble mission. Here, as in John chapter six, they wish to make Jesus King because of their mistaken hopes of what that Kingdom will be like. To be more precise, the error of the crowds was at least three-fold. First of all, their acclaim was almost totally based upon and motivated by the miracles which He had performed (Luke 19:37; John 12:9). It was not His words (His teaching and doctrine), but His works that motivated many to receive Jesus as Messiah. Second, they failed to grasp the proper priorities for the coming Kingdom. Ultimately, the Messiah would establish a physical, earthly Kingdom, but primarily this Kingdom was based upon a spiritual renewal. The cheering crowds thought only of the material dimensions of the Kingdom to the exclusion of the spiritual; only the external aspects and not the internal. Third, they were completely in error as to how the Kingdom was to be established. They thought it would be accomplished by military might and revolution, rather than by rejection, suffering, and a humiliating death for the Messiah, Who was to die as the Lamb of God for the sins of His people (cf. Isaiah 52:13–53:12).
Why then did Jesus carry through with this mission? Let me suggest several reasons.
(2) To safely enter the city of Jerusalem. It may not seem necessary, but the word was out to disclose the location of Jesus as soon as He appeared (John 11:57). Had Jesus attempted to enter Jerusalem secretly, He could have been quietly disposed of. Entering as He did, the religious leaders could not so much as lift a finger against Him (John 12:19).
(3) To publicly and symbolically give testimony to His identity as Messiah. Neither the crowds nor the religious leaders missed the implications of His triumphal entry.
(4) A proclamation of the kind of Kingdom which He was to establish. Jesus did not march proudly into the city of Jerusalem as a strutting military figure, nor did He ride on a spirited stallion. He rode on a donkey, symbolic of his humble peace-making assignment. This aspect of the triumphal entry was totally overlooked. Only the later events of the week would make this clear, and then the cheering crowds would turn their backs on the Messiah.
(5) To provoke the opposition and precipitate His own execution on the appointed day. Nothing could have been more of a catalyst to the opposing forces than this bold public proclamation. Now something had to be done, and fast!
(Adapted from URL: https://bible.org/seriespage/27-triumphal-tragedy-mark-111-25)
All of us have witnessed at one time or another—in person, on television, etc.—some form of victory parade. The most common seems to be that for members of sports teams, who are paraded through the streets of their city in open cars following a championship season. The heroes deliver speeches before their cheering fans, etc. Scenes of this kind capture to varying degrees the excitement of the Passover crowd that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem. Yet in one key respect, Jesus’ triumphal entry bears more similarity to the story of Odysseus (also known as Ulysses), a legendary Greek warrior who fought in the Trojan War. After being delayed by many perils in his journey home from the battlefield, Odysseus finally arrived at his estate in the guise of a poor beggar. Everyone there assumed he was dead, and on his return he discovered that several men were courting his wife to gain her hand in marriage. Odysseus’ appearance had changed so much that he was recognized only by his old faithful dog. As a result of all this, Odysseus had to sneak into his own house and fight to reclaim what was rightfully his own. Something similar was true of Jesus. He had come incognito as the baby in Bethlehem to reclaim a world that was rightly his all along (John 1:3). The people who acclaimed him during his triumphal entry did not recognize his true identity. Those crowds would turn against him shortly to demand his death. But that was exactly what Jesus had in mind: to establish a kingdom with a cross, not a sword
1. Believers should always be ready to follow where God leads (Mark 11:1-2)
2. As we obey Christ, He supplies the answers and resources we need (vss. 3-4)
3. We can obey confidently, knowing that we will find things just as Jesus has said (vss. 5-6)
4. Our mission is certain when we offer Christ whatever we have for His use (vss. 7-8)
5. The crowd will worship Christ on good days, but the committed follow Him always (vss. 9-10)
6. Be alert to the presence and work of God, even though He may not come as you expect (vss. 9-11)