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Mark 11:1-11

Background: Jesus was coming to Jerusalem for the last time. The disciples hoped he would take control there. Also the people were waiting for the coming of the Messiah King, but not everyone was convinced that Jesus was that king. The Messiah was supposed to be David’s son. The day before in Jericho, Jesus had publicly admitted that he was David’s son. Everyone knew that the Messiah would ride a donkey to Jerusalem because Zechariah the prophet had so prophesied. “Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zech. 9:9) Notice that Jerusalem was full of Roman soldiers during Easter time.

Verses 1-3. The location of Bethphage is unknown, but Bethany was located about 3 km east of Jerusalem, on the slope of the Mount of Olives. It was the village of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, where Jesus had often visited and where he stayed the night throughout his last week.

Verses 4-6. The donkey stood in front of the house door, but the disciples did not go inside to explain the matter.

Verses 7-8. The donkey is a low animal so that the rider’s legs are hanging close to the ground. The leader reads the quote of Zechariah again. (See the background section above.)

Verses 9-11. Suddenly people started singing Psalm 118. It was usually sung in large festive processions when people were going to the temple to offer sacrifices. Hosanna means: Oh Lord help! Some scholars regard this psalm as a king’s psalm.

Concluding questions

Glad tidings: The coronation of Jesus was indeed coming. Five days later he was crowned with a crown of thorns, and his title “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” was written above his head. So the Messiah riding on the donkey did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life for manyalso for you. However next time when Jesus comes into this world, he will come as the victorious king on a white horse.

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