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Mark 11:1-11 Jesus on a Donkey

Posted by adventbiblestudy on February 3, 2013


Mark 11:1-11 NLTse As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. (2) “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. (3) If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.'” (4) The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside the front door. (5) As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” (6) They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it. (7) Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it. (8) Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. (9) Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD! (10) Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David! Praise God in highest heaven!” (11) So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples.

 

Many people think Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem to claim His role as king based on an Hebrew tradition. Where is the proof? Where are the texts proving such a claim? With a few verses we can proves there is a spiritual meaning hidden by claims of tradition.

 

1 Kings 1:33 NLTse the king said to them, “Take Solomon and my officials down to Gihon Spring. Solomon is to ride on my own mule.

1 Kings 1:38 NLTse So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the king’s bodyguard took Solomon down to Gihon Spring, with Solomon riding on King David’s own mule.

1 Kings 1:44 NLTse The king sent him down to Gihon Spring with Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, protected by the king’s bodyguard. They had him ride on the king’s own mule,

 

The only mention of a tradition is in 1Kings chapter 1. Solomon rode on a mule, not a donkey. If we check another text we see why he may have rode a mule.

 

2 Samuel 18:9 NLTse During the battle, Absalom happened to come upon some of David’s men. He tried to escape on his mule, but as he rode beneath the thick branches of a great tree, his hair got caught in the tree. His mule kept going and left him dangling in the air.

 

Absalom may have looked a little strange riding a donkey into battle. It would have been a ridiculous sight to see the front lines of an army sitting on donkeys. That would have been the wrong image to intimidate an opposing army.

 

When we look at the highlighted texts we see a story begin to form with Jesus as the main character. The disciples and a colt, also repeated, play a part. One other word identifies the condition of the donkey before the disciples brought it to Jesus. The donkey was tied up. At first this may not seem unusual until we compare this to another authors account.

 

Matthew 21:2 NLTse “Go into the village over there,” he said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me.

 

Matthew points out the donkey was tied up, but says nothing about its colt. Mark points out the colt was also tied up. It may not have been necessary to tie both the donkey and colt, as the colt would not stray far from its mother. Yet Mark points out it was also tied. Was that a precaution, or pointing to a lesson?

 

Jesus sent two of His disciples ahead with instructions to bring back a donkey. “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.” Before this point Jesus was teaching His disciples how to understand parables. As they crossed from one side of the lake to the other they learned a new lesson each time they got out of the boat, as well as lessons in the boat. All these trips taught valuable lessons pointed at understanding scripture as well relationships. One side of the lake showed how Jesus interacted with Jews, while the other showed how Jesus helped Gentiles. The first lesson in relationships Jesus wanted to teach was how God viewed everyone equally. An important lesson in the plan of salvation. One of the issues Jesus knew the disciples would have to deal with once He left.

 

Jesus reached out to His disciples a number of times, showing how much He needed support. The first time He tried to explain the prophecies He was about to fulfill, Peter rebuked Him. Jesus tried another two times. Both attempts were met with arguments of who would be greatest. No matter how hard Jesus tried to show He needed support, the disciples would not listen.

 

The colt, tied near a door, was a symbol showing how the disciples were tied to their beliefs in popular traditions and interpretations. Jesus told them, ” If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.'” The disciples found the colt tied outside the front door. As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, “What are you doing, untying thatcolt?” Someone tried to stop the disciples from following Jesus’ instructions. They explained Jesus only wanted to borrow the colt. The men allowed them to take the colt.

 

When they took the little colt to Jesus, they realized He planned to ride it into Jerusalem. On their journey to deliver the colt, the disciples discussed their hopes and dreams. Is Jesus taking His place as King and establishing His new government? A government they planned on taking major roles in. Everyone saw some kind of profit if Jesus took the throne of David. After all, this is what they were taught since they were small. Once they saw Jesus next to the little colt, they noticed how small it was. The disciples felt embarrassed bringing Jesus such a small animal to ride into Jerusalem. They threw their coats over the little colt to hide their shame.

 

The crowd was too enthused to notice anything out of the ordinary with the colt. Following the disciples lead, others began throwing their coats on the ground in front of Jesus. Others broke off branches to cover the road. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD!Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David! Praise God in highest heaven!”

 

The entire crowd viewed this as Jesus’ move to take David’s throne. Most people dreamed of the benefits they would receive. Many thought Jesus would reward them richly for following Him. They knew He would appoint new judges, governors, a new army, begin to rebuild Jerusalem, and many more projects. It seemed there was no end to the opportunities to make a fortune. Now the time had come. So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples.

 

The day ended in disappointment for many. So close to the palace and Jesus went to the temple. He did not enter, but turned and walked back to Bethany. Many people went home wondering if Jesus would take His throne tomorrow. They did not know why Jesus hesitated. His disciples followed in silence. Jesus didn’t speak a word. He wanted them to understand the lesson on their own. For the past few weeks Jesus had been pleading for their support. If they could not support their Teacher and Master, the Son of God, how were they going to support His followers? How could they serve His servants? The disciples untied the colt, but they could not loose the bonds of the world. They brought the colt to Jesus. As small as it was, it support the King of kings, something the disciples failed to do.

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