Palm Sunday, the Savior Enter Jerusalem (Mark 11:1-10)
Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, April 14, 2019
The Savior Enters Jerusalem
Humility and Royalty, we like both don’t we? We like both of them. For example, many, many people watched when Prince William was married a few years ago. Remember Princess Diana. I think people liked Princess Diana because she was royal and humble. We like those things. We like strength with humility. We like someone who can save us, but also not act better than us, right? In Science fiction this is Superman, but in reality this is Jesus.
I grew up under Superman played by Christopher Reeve.
Clip from superman II when superman flies and you hear the music and then he says “Zod, you care to step outside?”
I love that clip, that is so awesome! The next few minutes in the movie are great! It is exciting, we know that they are about to be rescued. I see the same idea when Jesus enters Jerusalem.
As I looked at this passage I was trying to think of a different theme, but I kept coming back to what I had talked about before. Today, I see the same idea. He enters in humility, but is worshipped. Later, Jesus is humble all the way to the cross.
My theme today is that our Savior Enters Jerusalem
Application: worship Him as Savior
Read Mark 11:1-11:
As they approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples, 2 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. 3 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.” 4 They went away and found a colt tied at the door, outside in the street; and they untied it. 5 Some of the bystanders were saying to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 They spoke to them just as Jesus had told them, and they gave them permission. 7 They brought the colt to Jesus and put their coats on it; and He sat on it. 8 And many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. 9 Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting:
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!”
11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple; and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late.
- I know this is a familiar story, but try to think about it with fresh eyes.
- We need to try to read the Bible as if we have never read it before. When this happens we will notice all kinds of new things.
- I like how John MacArthur sets up this passage:
The week begins with His arrival in Jerusalem. 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 and the crucifixion is on the fourteenth and that all matters because God has established a very firm time table.
Importantly, it is the Passover week of that year and Friday will be the day when tens of thousands of Passover lambs will be slain, none of which can take away any one’s sin. However, on this Passover, there will be one sacrifice made for sin that will take away the sins of all who have ever believed through all of human history and it will be the sacrifice of the true Lamb.
This is neither the heavenly coronation of Christ, nor is it the earthly coronation of Christ. It is not a coronation of Christ at all, it is a mock coronation. It is a false coronation. It is a fraud. There are no formalities here in this coronation. There are no dignitaries. There is no regalia. There is no fanfare.
This really is very similar to His birth. In His birth, His mother arrives in Bethlehem in humble obscurity riding on a donkey. Here He arrives in Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Yes, He is the true King, King of kings, Lord of lords, Son of Man, Son of God, Messiah, Savior, and no monarch in all human history remotely compares to the Lord Jesus Christ. There is none so magnificent, powerful, wise, sovereign, just, pure and holy and all the elite and all the monarchs of all human history collectively together stacked on top of each other wouldn’t go high enough to touch the hem of His all-glorious garment. This is a true King, but this is no coronation.
- As we look at this passage, we notice where Jesus was coming from being Bethphage.
- We can notice that in the first few verses Jesus’ disciples obeyed Him and went and got a colt.
- Then we see the parade in the following verses.
- Before we get there, it is important to make note that in this Gospel Jesus’ Divinity is called a “Messianic secret.” Jesus would tell them not to tell anyone. An example of this is Mark 8:29-30. Peter had confessed Jesus as the Messiah and Jesus told him not to tell anyone about this (Mark 1:43-45 is another example.).
- However, in this case Jesus allows people to worship Him. In this case He allows Himself to be known as King.
- Jesus is the authentic King, He is the True King. When I was twenty years old I was looking for a car. I was at a dealership and my dad showed up. I thought, “This is great, my dad is here and can co-sign.” I did not realize that that was not why he was there. My dad came to the dealership because a few weeks earlier my older brother bought a car at this dealership and traded in his old car. But when my brother traded in his old car he gave the dealership a fake title. Really. What happened was that my brother was making payments on his car to my dad and mom. When my brother turned 21 my dad declared the debt paid and gave him a title, but it wasn’t the real title. The real title was in my dad’s safe. My dad made a simple title on the computer. What is funny in this mess is that the dealership did not figure it out. My dad realized this was the case and brought in the real title.
- There are a lot of fake Messiahs. In fact, there had already been fake Messiahs in Judaism. But Jesus is authentic. There are people out there who promise eternity and all the answers. Just watch politicians. Jesus is Truth and He has the answer to eternity. When He came into Jerusalem the people recognized this.
- In verses 8-11 we find the parade. Jesus now makes His entrance.
- But He is going to enter riding on a donkey. Come on, you and I know that no one of importance rides on a donkey!!! A donkey! Well, to the Jewish people it was quite royal to ride on a donkey. In fact, in 1 King 1:33 we see David having his son ride into town on his donkey.
- Now, to the Romans the donkey wouldn’t be anything of royalty. In fact, a few years ago I heard that while Jesus is riding into one end of Jerusalem on a donkey, Pilate of Rome was riding into the other end of Jerusalem on a war horse with soldiers. What a contrast. But Jesus is the real King.
- There is another reason he is riding a donkey: Mark doesn’t really tell us why this happened, but Matthew does. Matthew 21:4: “This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet.” What prophet? Zachariah, 500 years before Zachariah 9:9, Zachariah said, “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold your king is coming to you gentle and mounted on a donkey, not even a donkey but even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden…the foal of a donkey.’”
- Now, they put coats on the donkey for Jesus to sit on and then they put coats and leafy or palm branches on the road. Spreading coats under a person was recognition of royalty.
- Now, this happens during Passover and Jewish hopes of a Savior ran high, so Rome, not wanting any trouble, had extra soldiers around.
- People in front and all around Jesus were shouting: “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!” This comes from Psalm 118:26. Hosanna is Hebrew and means “save us.”
- Someone wrote:
On Palm Sunday, my 5-year-old niece, Stephanie, sat on my lap while we listened to the pastor’s sermon. He described Jesus’ approach to Jerusalem and how the crowds cried, “Hosanna, Hosanna!” At that, Stephanie perked up and began to sing, “Oh, Hosanna, now don’t you cry for me!”
- The people are ready for a Savior. They are worshipping Jesus as King. Now as they shout and worship the Lord this bothered some. It’s not listed in Mark, but John’s Gospel chapter 19:39-40 adds: Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”
- Jesus will be worshipped one way or another. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
- The people worshipped Him then, are we worshipping Jesus now?
- The Romans weren’t worried and they shouldn’t have been. For less than a week later Jesus would hang on the cross and say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
- Jesus, the King comes into Jerusalem, the people worship Him, the people were eager for a Savior.
- A few years ago, okay, maybe like twenty-two years ago, ESPN believed Vinny Testeverde was the Savior for the Browns. He wasn’t and couldn’t have been. There is One Savior and He is not a sports player.
- Let’s apply this a little more. We must think about the following:
- We must also worship Jesus as King.
- He is your king as well. The Romans missed this, the Jewish elite missed this. They missed that the King and Savior of the world is making His entrance. They missed it, you don’t have to.
- When you leave this place, leave in worship and leave in excitement. Praise God that He did enter Jerusalem on a donkey for if He hadn’t we wouldn’t be saved. He had to come to Jerusalem to die in our place. Worship Jesus as King!
- They were excited about Jesus entering Jerusalem, am I excited about Jesus in my life?
- Think about Jesus’ example. Jesus enters in humility and He goes all the way to the cross in humility. Live this example.
- We must also worship Jesus as King.
Author and educator, Howard Hendricks, sat in a plane that was delayed for take off. After a long wait, the passengers became more and more irritated. Hendricks noticed how gracious one of the flight attendants was as she spoke with them. After the plane finally took off, he told the flight attendant how amazed he was at her poise and self-control, and said he wanted to write a letter of commendation for her to the airline. The stewardess replied that she didn’t work for the airline company, but for Jesus Christ. She said that just before going to work she and her husband prayed together that she would be a good representative of Christ.
Doing it for Christ’s sake adds another dimension to submission. You are submitting not just to your employer or husband or parent, but to the Lord, because of your love and gratitude for him.
Can we humbly bow to Jesus in this way?
In reality, later during Holy Week they think that they defeat Jesus, by killing Him, but in killing Him we all win.
Jesus, our King, Our Savior, hailed as royalty right now, will humbly go to the cross and win on our behalf. He did this for us.
 Brenda Fossum, Duluth, MN. Today’s Christian Woman, “Heart to Heart.”
 Lorne Sanny, “The Right Way to Respond to Authority,” Discipleship Journal (March/April 1982)