St. John's & Zion Lutheran Churches

A King’s Entrance

Sermon on Mark 11:1-10

Text: 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!”

When someone accomplishes something great, there may be a parade to mark that achievement. If a sports team wins a national championship, there is often a parade to celebrate their accomplishment. The two longest ticker tape parades in New York City were to honor General Douglas McArthur for his accomplishments in World War Two and astronaut John Glenn, who was the first American to orbit the earth. Parades are a time of celebration. This morning, we turn our attention to another parade of sorts. It is not for a sports team or victorious general. Rather, this parade is for a king. This was no ordinary king, however. This was the King of kings entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. This morning, then, let us look at A KING’S ENTRANCE. It was 1. A Humble Entrance, yet it was also 2. A Glorious Entrance.

Our text starts with Jesus and his disciples being about a mile outside of Jerusalem. Jesus knew he was entering the city to suffer and die. He knew what would soon happen to him. Yet, Jesus showed no signs of doubt or fear as to what would happen to him. Instead, he calmly goes on to Jerusalem.

When they were about a mile away, Jesus told two of his disciples, “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.” (Verse 2) Jesus also told them what to say if anyone questioned them as to their actions. They were to say, “The Lord needs it and will send it back shortly.” (Verse 3)

The two disciples went into the village and found everything just as Jesus had said. Mark tells us that “They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway.” (Verse 4) Matthew tells us that the mother of this donkey was also tied there. The disciples went and untied the donkey. When the owners asked what they were doing, they answered as Jesus said, and the owners let them take the donkey.

They brought the donkey back to Jesus. They spread their cloaks upon the donkey and Jesus sat on the donkey. In this way, Jesus began his trip into Jerusalem. He rode on the colt of a donkey into Jerusalem.

This doesn’t seem to match the way one would picture the way a king would enter a city. We might expect that he would be accompanied by a bodyguard of soldiers in brightly polished armor. One might expect that a king would be on a white horse. Perhaps there would be a lot of flash and glitter as the king entered the city.

But, instead of a bodyguard in shining armor, Jesus was surrounded by his faithful disciples. Jesus did not ride on a big, powerful horse, but on a humble beast of burden. Jesus entered Jerusalem as he lived his life, meek and lowly. Jesus had a humble entrance into Jerusalem.

Many people looked to Jesus as the one who would set them free from Roman rule. They thought that this would be how he would save them. For those who felt this way about Jesus, his entrance into Jerusalem may have been disheartening. This was hardly the way to force the Roman government from Jerusalem. However, those who felt that way, lost sight of the real reason Jesus had come into the world. Jesus had come to save the world from the sins that they have committed. That is why Jesus was entering Jerusalem. As a matter of fact, the way that Jesus entered, pointed back to a prophecy about the Messiah. Zechariah 9:9 says, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” That prophecy pointed directly to what Jesus would do. He came to bring salvation. This humble entrance was also a glorious entrance, for it meant that the time of the world’s salvation was near.

Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem was also made glorious by the praise the people offered as he went by. People put their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and fields and lined the path with them. This was the equivalent of our rolling out the red carpet. This action was reserved for special occasions. They were showing their love and respect for Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem.

The people also sang praises to God. They shouted “Hosanna!” ‘Hosanna’ is a Hebrew word that means ‘Save, now!’ or ‘Save us, we pray.’ It was an exclamation of praise. They said, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Verse 9) They were saying that Jesus was doing what God wanted him to do. He was there to represent God before the people. They also shouted, “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father, David.” (Verse 10) In Second Samuel, God promised David that he would have a kingdom that would last forever. God promised David that from his line would come the Messiah, who would save the people from their sins. He would establish a kingdom that would last forever. By this the people were saying that Jesus was the fulfillment of all the promises God made to David centuries earlier. The people also shouted, “Hosanna in the highest!” (Verse 10) They were praying that their song of praise would be taken up by those in heaven. They wanted to praise God for this entrance of the Messiah into Jerusalem. By these songs of praise, they gloriously welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem.

This entrance is the mountaintop of glory before this week that Jesus would face. From here Jesus would face betrayal, mistreatment, cruelty, agony, and death. It is good for us to remember Jesus’ glorious entrance into Jerusalem as we hear this week of what Jesus endured for our sake. It is good for us so that we might see Jesus in his glory through the blood that he shed for us. We see Jesus in his glory throughout this week as he suffered and died for us.

Jesus entered Jerusalem meek and lowly as our Savior. He also will enter again, but not in a meek, humble manner. He will return on the Last Day as the King of all. Then he will be there in all the glory that is his as the Son of God. All the world will acknowledge him as God. There will be those who will not be happy to see Jesus’ entrance. These are those who refused to believe in Jesus as their Savior from sin. They will appear before Jesus and hear the words from his lips, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41) However, those who, by faith, accepted Jesus’ payment for sin will sing songs of praise, welcoming Jesus back and looking forward to being with him in heaven. When they stand before Jesus, they will hear him say, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34) This final entrance into the world will be triumphant as Jesus comes in all his glory. How we long to welcome him back again with songs of praise. May each of us always be ready to join our voices in welcoming him back.

When a foreign dignitary comes to a country, people make special efforts to welcome him. May we also do so to welcome Jesus. Generally speaking, the area where the dignitary will be receives special cleaning. May we take stock of our lives and, with God’s help, clean our lives of those sins that are lying around in the corners. When the dignitary comes, he is often presented with special gifts. May we present ourselves clean to God. We look forward to our King’s return. We pray, as is found in the closing words of the Bible, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20) Amen.