It’s good to see everyone here today on this Lord’s Day. It’s also what we typically know as Palm Sunday. We’re going to be talking about today from Mark chapter 11. We’ll talk about the first 11 verses in Mark. The Palm Sunday, or the triumphal entry of Jesus, is recorded in all four Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, kind of the same. John does it a little bit differently, but we find them in all the Gospels. And today we’ll be focusing on the account in Mark as we stand here on Palm Sunday, looking forward to next week, which is Easter Sunday. Mark chapter 1, verse 11. I’m sorry, Mark chapter 11, verse 1. Now, when the new drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it, enter it, you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, Why are you doing this? Say, The Lord has need of it, and we’ll send it back here immediately. And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, What are you doing, untying the colt? And they told them what Jesus had said. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed 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. And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

In May of last year, we were able to witness a rare sight, something that hadn’t happened in 70 years. And that was the coronation of a king in England, King Charles. The events of that day were streamed live around the world for many, many hours. The broadcast was seen by millions, and there were lots of people there standing in the rain just to witness this event. And many of us saw it on the TV or the internet. On that day, we saw King Charles and Queen Camilla leave Buckingham Palace in a procession, led by faith leaders and commonwealth leaders. They were arrayed in their royal attire. They were riding in their horse-drawn Diamond Jubilee State Coach, the official name, flanked by an honor guard of 1,000 members of the armed forces, rolling past those cheering crowds, on their way to Westminster Abbey. Inside Westminster Abbey, the King and Queen were crowned in a two-hour ceremony as the world watched. The ceremony was filled with pomp and pageantry. Much of the world watched that, and maybe you did too. We don’t really think much about kings today, do we? We don’t live under a king. But when we think about a king, we probably think of something like this. We have that kind of picture in our mind. We think of all the pageantry, associated with the one who has this authority. Now, it’s true the King of England doesn’t really have official powers, they’re ceremonial. But there are still kings in the world that have actual power. If you look in the pericope, or the heading for a passage today, you will see it probably called the Triumphal Entry. Triumphal entries were not uncommon in Jesus’ day, but they were Roman triumphs. Warren Wiersbe says this about Roman triumphs. This was the official welcoming parade given to a victorious Roman general whose armies killed at least 5,000 enemy soldiers, gained new territory for Rome, and brought home rich trophies and important prisoners. The general rode in a golden chariot, surrounded by his officers, in the parade. And he displayed his treasures and his prisoners. This also describes what we might call another glorious procession for someone who’s in authority. But here in Mark, we get a different picture when we read Jesus’ account of his triumphal entry. We don’t get the grand pageantry and all the pomp and circumstance you might think of for the king or for a Roman general. Scripture paints for us a very different picture about this king. This king who’s like no other. So let’s see what Mark tells us about this entry into Jerusalem. Let’s see the preparation for this entry. Verse 1 says, Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, that was the destination of this triumphal entry for our Lord. Luke tells us in 9.51, When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. That’s a way of saying he was determined to go. He set his face to go. He was determined to go to Jerusalem. Even though he knew full well what awaited him there. But that was his ultimate destination because that was the Father’s plan. We also see several times in the book of John that leading up to these events of Palm Sunday, Jesus says, My time has not yet come. And one of those times is in John chapter 6. John chapter 6 records for us the feeding of the 5,000. Most of us know that story. Even the kids know that story. Lots and lots of people. Very little food. Jesus does a miracle. And everybody is fed so much they have leftovers. And when the people saw that miracle, what did they do? In verse 15 it says of John chapter 6, Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him a king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. They saw the miracle. Hey, we want this guy to be king. We’re going to come and make him king. But it was not time for that. But now on this Sunday, before his crucifixion, Jesus allows them to treat him like a king. Like that conquering general in a triumphal entry. So why? What’s different now? And I would say it’s because now was the right time and Jerusalem was the right place because that was the father’s plan. Let’s next see what’s his mode of transportation. How does he come into the city? Start reading in verse 1. Now when they drew near to Jerusalem to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, Go into the village in front of you and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, why are you doing this? Say, the Lord has need of it and we’ll send it back here immediately.

So Jesus sends two disciples into the village and tells them, you’re going to find a colt there. And when we hear the word colt, we usually think of horse, at least I always do. But it’s not a horse in this case. It’s a young donkey. And verse 2 tells us this donkey that no one had ever sat on it. And I don’t think that’s probably an insignificant detail because we understand maybe from some Old Testament references that this may be an indication that this animal was fit for some kind of sacred service.

And let’s see my reference here, 1 Samuel 6-7. In 1 Samuel we find the Philistines find themselves with the ark and it’s not going well for them. So what’s their plan? We’re going to put it on a cart, send it down the road and get it out of here. But even the pagan priest said we must choose an animal who has never been yoked. And so I think here in Mark’s account this might say, this might tell us that this is an allusion to some sacredness of this journey. This is not a normal journey, it’s a sacred journey.

So the disciples say, the disciples were to go untie the colt and bring it back to Jesus. And if anyone says, why are you doing this? Just say the Lord needs it. And Jesus said they would send the colt back. And in verses 4-6 we see this playing out precisely as Jesus said it would. Verse 4, And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to him, What are you doing, untying the colt? And they told him what Jesus had said, and they let them go.

So Jesus said, this is what’s going to happen? That’s what happened. Some people want to say, well, he must have had this planned out ahead of time. This was some prearranged agreement. But I don’t think that’s true, because for me, when I read, they ask, why are you doing this? They didn’t say, hey, are you coming to get the colt that Jesus arranged to get picked up? It’s more like we would say, hey, what are you doing here? Get away from there. So I think this shows Jesus’ sovereignty over the events that were occurring. So for Jesus, for his triumphal entry, what do we see here? There’s no horse-drawn coach like we see with the king. We don’t see a golden chariot like we do with the Roman generals. His method of traveling to Jerusalem, or his chariot, so to speak, would be a donkey. Why a donkey? Well, Matthew and John tell us this was to fulfill prophecy. And specifically, that’s the prophecy of Zechariah 9. In Zechariah chapter 9, Zechariah is describing a coming king who will bring peace for his people and for the nations. And this will culminate in a triumphal entry into Jerusalem. And in verse 9, he says, Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you, righteous, and having salvation as he, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Here in verse 9, Zechariah says, Rejoice! Give praise! Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!

So they were called to give him the praise that this king deserved. And we’re told this king is also righteous, and would bring about salvation, and he would be humble. This king would be riding on a donkey, not on a horse. That’s what kings rode on. They rode on the grand stallions. Kings didn’t ride on donkeys. Donkeys are the animal of the common people, or the poor people.

Zechariah said he would be riding on a donkey. And he would bring his people hope. And here in our passage, we find the fulfillment of this prophecy in the triumphal entry of Jesus. His action on this day is a visible declaration that he is this righteous king. He is bringing salvation. He is this one prophesied in the Old Testament. It was time to begin revealing the purpose and nature of this kingdom. Of Jesus’ kingdom. And he does it precisely in the way that was prophesied, I think this was 500 years earlier. That Zechariah had made this prophecy.

So then when we get to verse 7. And they brought the colt to Jesus, and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. So here we see Jesus getting on this borrowed donkey, on the one which no one had ever sat before. He’s the first to sit on it. And there’s no saddle. So I kind of get this picture of, hey Jesus, you don’t have a saddle, so here’s my cloak. And two or three guys may throw a cloak on there. I don’t know how much you’ve ridden horses, I did that as a kid, we always used saddles. And if you ever ride a horse for any length, you know that can get very uncomfortable. And I’ve never ridden bareback. But I’ve got to imagine that’s really uncomfortable. So I can imagine that even throwing a few cloaks on the back of a donkey, it was probably still very uncomfortable for our Lord. But he did it. He did it as was prophesied. So let’s think about this picture. This picture is much different than what we see with the king being crowned. Or with a Roman general riding into the city on his horse. With his golden chariot, with his great procession. We’re told that it was Jerusalem, because that was always the plan. And now was the right time. And it would be a donkey. And that was prophesied hundreds of years before. And we see our Lord coming into the city exactly as prophecy said it would be. So now let’s see the procession and the response of the people in verse 8.

And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who were followed were shouting, Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the kingdom of our father David. Hosanna in the highest.

Mark says that many. Many. How many is many, Mark? Well, if you look at the word in the original language.

The word that’s translated many here means a multitude or a large gathering of people. We’re not really told here in Mark who made up this crowd or how big it was. But I think we can get some clues here both from Mark and from history. In the previous passage in Mark chapter 10, starting in 46, we see that Jesus was coming from Jericho. And it says, as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd. So Jesus had a following with him as he came from Jericho to this point of entry here into Jerusalem. We’re also told that maybe this crowd was made up of pilgrims. This was time of Passover. It was a time of keeping the feast. Good Jews went to this city. They went to Jerusalem. And I read something that said at the time of Jesus, the normal population of Jerusalem was about 250,000. But at the time of Passover, that could swell to like 2.5 million. I can’t imagine the infrastructure problems that they had. Just dealing with so many more people than you normally would have. So if we think about those two things together. It’s really not hard to imagine a very large crowd. Accompanying Jesus on this journey. In verse 8, we get the first response from the people. And that is by what they did. By their actions. Verse 8 tells us two things. It says, they spread their cloaks on the road. Why spread your cloak on the road? Well, that was probably a way to symbolize submission to Jesus as king. And we can see an example of this in the Old Testament. Elisha sends a prophet to go anoint Jehu as king. And so when the prophet comes and he proclaims Jehu as king, what do we see the people do? 2 Kings 9.13 says, Then in haste every man of them took his garment and put it under him on the bare steps. And they blew the trumpet and proclaimed Jehu as king. So I kind of get this picture of, oh, Jehu’s king. Okay. Take my cloak off. Put it down under him. And so we see this also here with Jesus. He was coming in on the cloaks of those who threw them before him. We’re also told that they cut down leafy branches and spread them out on the road. John also tells us that there were palm branches. So maybe they’re all palm branches. Maybe some are palm branches. But palm branches had significance for the people of Israel. It was a symbol of their Jewish nation. And if you took a palm branch and you waved it, that was a way of symbolizing victory over an enemy. So they would wave palm branches when you come back from a great victory. And so if we take these two things together, throwing their cloaks down on the road, cutting down the palm branches, throwing them on the road, this would indicate maybe a recognition of Jewish royalty and their submission to this one who would deliver the nation. It seems to me that in some small way, they just wanted to show honor to the Lord. One says, okay, Lord, here’s a donkey. One says, hey, you don’t have a saddle? Okay, here’s my cloak. Still others are like, okay, I’ll throw my cloak down. He’s got enough cloaks for a saddle. Let’s make a road now. So throw them down in front of him. Cut down some leafy branches and put them out before this king who’s riding in on a donkey. These are relatively small things, but in some way I think they wanted to honor Jesus. By what they did. Now in verse 9, let’s talk about what they said, or actually what they shouted.

Verse 9 tells us, And those who went before and those who followed 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!

Mark tells us that there were people going before him, before Jesus, and there were people following Jesus.

And that might be an indication that there might have been some back and forth or some echoing going on. So you might imagine the guys in the front say, Hosanna! The guys in the behind say, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna in the highest!

The nature of what they were saying, or actually what they were shouting, we find in Psalm 118. Psalm 118 is a psalm that was sung by the people at Passover as they entered the temple. It’s a song of thanksgiving, proclaiming God’s steadfast love, and the deliverance or salvation of his people. At Passover time, this psalm would remind them of God’s delivery of his people. People from Egyptian bondage. And Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was interpreted as the ultimate fulfillment of this psalm. He was the one coming to deliver his people.

The people were focusing on these two verses in Psalm 118, verses 25 and 26, where they said back in the psalm, Save us, we pray, O Lord. O Lord, we pray, give us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord. The people here are shouting Hosanna, which means save. Save us now, Lord. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Effectively saying, you’re the promised one. You are our deliverer.

Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David. Essentially says, I recognize you as the coming Davidic Messiah. You are the one who’s coming to liberate us. Hosanna in the highest speaks to the loftiness of their exaltation. They were giving the highest praise possible.

This crowd was proclaiming a king and a kingdom. But did they have the right kingdom in mind?

No. Scripture tells us the rest of the story. In a few short days, when a similar crowd finds out he’s not establishing the kingdom they expected, they’re shouting something else. Instead of 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. The crowd changes dramatically and becomes crucify. Crucify him. His blood be on us and our children.

Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David. So we find that they were really looking for a king who would deliver them from Roman rule as they were delivered from Egypt, from Egyptian bondage. They were looking for a kingdom that would be established in the manner of their father David who was a great earthly king. They were looking for that kind of king.

They did not understand the true purpose of his kingdom.

So let’s now consider the true purpose of the kingdom. Verse 10.

Sorry, verse 11. And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

So this procession that we’ve been building, we’ve been seeing in our mind’s eye, we’ve seen this king being proclaimed as he enters the temple. The procession ends in the temple. And I find it very interesting that he’s serenaded with the words of Psalm 118 which were sung by the Jewish people as they entered the temple at Passover. And what do we see Jesus doing? Passover is nigh. He’s being serenaded by the same Psalm and he enters the temple. But he doesn’t enter the temple as a pilgrim. He enters the temple as the sovereign Lord of Malachi 3.1 where Malachi tells us that he will suddenly come to his temple.

Scripture says he comes in and he looks around at everything. All that the temple is. All that it meant. The center of religious life for the Jews. So I just imagine him looking around and you have to imagine what is he thinking. What is on our Lord’s mind at this moment? And I think one thing we know for sure is he did not like what he saw because down later in Mark here in verse 15 we get the account of him cleansing the temple. He drives out those who bought and sold in the temple. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. The religious leaders had led the people to turn this house of prayer into a den of robbers. And verse 18 says, And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him for they feared him because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. So Jesus cleanses the temple and then we find here one day after this triumphal entry the religious leaders are plotting to kill him.

But I think also on this day perhaps he had another temple in mind. And we see this temple in John chapter 2. John in John chapter 2 talks about cleansing the temple again. And so at the beginning there we see him doing that and then after that is done in verse 18, John 2, 18 we see, So the Jews said to him, What sign do you show us for doing these things? Why are you doing this? Jesus answered them, Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews then said, It has taken 46 years to build this temple and you’re going to raise it up in three days? But he was speaking about the temple of his body. So yes on this day I think certainly we can say he had the physical temple in mind. As he looked around he saw all that it had become. And how far it had drifted from what God had intended it to be. But I also think he may have been thinking about himself. Laying down his life and taking it up again because the time was near. It was the right time in the Father’s plan.

Jesus is a king like no other for many reasons. But one I want us to think about is that Jesus is a king that already had a throne. As the Son of God he was already enthroned before the foundation of the world. In Isaiah 6, Isaiah says, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up. And the Apostle John in chapter 12 says, Isaiah said these things because he saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up. He saw his glory and spoke of him. The him here that John speaks of is Jesus. So John is saying Isaiah saw the throne of Jesus. Earthly kings are born. As we know, kids are born. We know what that looks like. And they grow up and then one day they ascend to a throne. And Jesus was born too. But it was the incarnation. nation. But Jesus already had a throne. But because of the Father’s plan, he willingly left that throne to step into his own creation as a baby, a helpless baby, to grow in wisdom and stature in favor with God and man, to live the perfect sinless life that we could not, to keep the law perfectly. Everything that God commanded, he kept perfectly. And then, face a bloody cross in Jerusalem at the appointed time. What earthly king could sacrifice like that for his people? What earthly king would do that for his people? There is none. But Jesus is a king like no other. He could, and he would, and more importantly, he did do that. He did that to establish a kingdom like no other. John tells us in chapter 18, he’s recording the events of Jesus before Pilate. And Pilate asked him, are you the king of the Jews? Jesus answered, my kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from this world. So the people on this day of triumphal entry, and even up to this point, were looking for a king and a kingdom that Jesus did not come to establish. To be part of Jesus’ kingdom, as Jesus told Nicodemus, you must be born again. You must understand that due to Adam’s sin, you are born under sin. Your sin separates you from God forever because God is not just love. He’s holy, and he’s just, and yes, he’s a wrathful God who intensely hates sin, who abhors it. It’s a strongly intense word, abhors sin. And he cannot be in the presence of sin.

Because the king of king and the Lord of lords left his throne to step into his creation, you can be born again. You can be a part of his kingdom if you place your faith in Christ alone, trusting that his death and burial and resurrection fully paid for every sin you will ever commit. He says, then you will be saved. Saved from what? What does Jesus save us from? He saves us from hell. Hell is a real place. Many people want to tell you today, hell is not real. But the Bible says, hell is real. And it’s a place reserved for those who will not turn to Christ by faith for salvation. The punishment for every sin will be paid. Because God is just, the punishment for every sin will be paid. But the punishment for every sin will be paid. The question is, are you going to pay for your sins? And Romans tells us the wages of sin is death. And it’s not just physical death, it’s a spiritual death. It’s a separation from God, where you rest for eternity under his wrath. But there is a Savior. And he came, looking to that cross, and didn’t shy away from that. But he went, and he died on that cross. And so if we, by faith, will believe that he’s paid for our sins, we think about that miracle of salvation, the grace and mercy of the one true eternal God.

And we realize, if you spend any time looking in the pages of Scripture for sure, that we have no righteousness of our own. Anything we might offer to this King as righteous, is but filthy rags. So if we stand accepted before the Father, we stand in the righteousness of him alone. The one who Zechariah said was righteous and humble, and riding on a donkey, but bringing salvation for his people.

So if you’ve never placed your faith in Jesus for salvation, I will say exactly what Jesus said. Jesus said, at the beginning of his ministry, in Mark chapter 1, verse 15, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel. And so if you’ve never done that, I would say today’s the day of salvation. And that’s something you need to talk with someone about today.

But if you’ve done that, if you have repented, of your sin, and you have believed in the gospel, how then will you live? What practical impact would the gospel have on your everyday life?

Would you dare believe the gospel, and then still live your life as if it’s still your own?

We’re guilty of that. I preach that to myself first, before I say it to you. And I pray that we can all say, as the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 2.20, a verse that many of us have known for a long time, I, Paul says I, speaking of himself, but can we say this too? I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but it’s Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in this flesh, in this mortal body, we go through this life in a mortal body, but I do that by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and He gave Himself for me. And that’s what we remember here, on this Palm Sunday. Jesus looking for the cross, which meant death for Him. But we can look to the cross, and because Jesus of obedience, because He stepped off His throne, and He stepped into His creation, and He fulfilled the promise. He fulfilled the Father’s plan. Not only did He die on that cross, but He was resurrected, and He lives, enthroned in heaven again.

So we can look to the cross, and we can see life there for us.

So friends, as we sit here today on this Palm Sunday, we remember this King, who 2,000 years ago rode on a borrowed donkey, into Jerusalem, to die on a bloody cross in our place. But, that’s not the end of the story. And next Sunday at Easter, we’ll celebrate the rest of the story. And that is that He did not stay dead, but He was resurrected. And He is presently, currently, today, alive. And He lives forever. Because the power of life and death rests in Him. And the King has returned to His throne, to rule His kingdom. A kingdom that was like no other. A kingdom they weren’t even conceiving of. He told them many things all along the way, and they didn’t get it. But John said, after the resurrection, we understood these things. And He currently sits enthroned in heaven, interceding for us, for His people, for those of us who’ve placed our faith in Him, for salvation. For salvation. And so I would say, as we rejoice in that, may we endeavor with every fiber of our being, but certainly in the power of the Spirit, to take up our own cross daily, and to follow Him, wherever that leads. Making whatever sacrifices, big or small, whatever that takes, whatever’s required to be obedient to this King. Because we see He’s sacrificed everything, everything He could. Can we not live sacrificially for Him? Can we not sacrifice a few minutes sleep? Can we not let things at home go undone?

What are we not willing to sacrifice in obedience to our King? Not only for ourself, but our family, our church, our community, our nation, our world, our people. We may think, what I do doesn’t really make a difference. But that’s not true. Because you’re making a difference in whatever spheres of life you’re in. And God wants you to do that, sacrificially, for His glory.

And so as we close, I just really want to leave us with a question. It’s a question I’m asking myself. It’s a question I’m asking Providence Fellowship. Will you and I be found faithful?

Let’s pray. Will you and I be found faithful?

Preacher: Chris Price

Passage: Mark 11:1-11