7. YOUR KING WILL COME AS GENTLE
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.
- Imagine a situation where the prince of a country arrives at
the capital for his coronation. What kind of ceremonies are then
- What do verses 1-3 show us about the financial situation of
- What does the quality of a vehicle mean to many men and even
women of our time?
- What message would Jesus have wanted to give to his people if
he had arrived in Jerusalem in wagons pulled by the best quadriga
of the country? (What signal did he therefore send by choosing a
- Why didn’t Jesus pick a donkey up himself, but he asked
his disciples to do so?
- A foal that is not used to a rider is usually difficult to
control and will not be taken straight to the midst of the crowd
where it may be disobedient or refuse to cooperate. Why did Jesus
specifically want a foal which no one had ever ridden?
- Jesus had never used the word “Lord” of himself
before. Why did he use it now? (How can people know who is the
“lord” referred to here?)
Verses 4-6. The donkey stood in front of the house door,
but the disciples did not go inside to explain the matter.
- Why did Mark want to write these three verses to his gospel,
what is their message?
- Think of various reasons why the donkey stood on the street,
not in a stable or at grass.
- What does it show that no one resisted when they took the
- Why is this donkey such an important animal that it is
preached about twice a year in many churches (Advent and Palm
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
- Do you think Jesus looked noble while sitting on the donkey?
If not noble, then what did he look like?
- How did the disciples get the idea to pile their clothes on
the donkey’s back?
- The Old Testament talks about a case in which soldiers spread
their cloaks on the stairs for the newly crowned king to walk on.
A cloak however could be ruined when both the donkey and the
people walked on it on a rocky road. What made people give
perhaps their only cloak for such use?
- How did the people suddenly realize that this is the Messiah
King himself riding to Zion? What was the sign that opened
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.
- If you should describe the atmosphere of that moment in a few
words, what would you say?
- Why did the people choose especially Psalm 118 to sing in
- How did the people expect Jesus to ascend his throneafter all
the country was occupied?
- How did the people believe their situation might change if
the Romans were driven away from the country?
- How is it possible that the Roman occupiers did not stop this
- Do you think that the whole nation was drawn into the
atmosphere, or were there people who did not join the song? (What
made some people suspect that Jesus might not after all be the
- What message did Jesus want to give to his people by riding
right away to the temple?
- Five days later the people cried out the crucify shout to
Pilate. There probably have been same persons among them as in
this procession. What do these cases show us about human nature?
- After the miracle of feeding, the people had wanted to make
Jesus king, but Jesus had retreated. Why did he want to show his
kingship especially in this situation?
- Why didn’t Jesus orally announce to the people that he
is the Messiah, the son of David; why did he show it by choosing
his vehicle? What is the difference between these two ways of
- Jesus knew that this procession would be for the chief
priests and scribes the last straw that would spin the murder
machinery in motion. What did he perhaps think about the future
- How do you think the owner had treated his donkey foal after
the death and resurrection of Jesus?
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