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Mark 11:1-11



Intro: We have reached a pivotal point in the book of Mark. Jesus is on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem. Jesus has been here many times, in fact, He has been in the city below many times. When He descends from the Mount of Olives on this day, He will be setting into motion certain events that will climax with His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.

        The events we are studying today took place sometime on a Sunday. Before the sun sets the next Friday, Jesus will have been crucified and buried. Before the sun rises on the next Sunday morning, Jesus will have conquered death, hell and the grave by resurrecting from the dead. The events of this day mark the beginning of our Lord’s Passion Week.

        Up to this point in the ministry of Jesus, He had always told His men to keep quiet about His identity. Often, when Jesus healed people, He would tell them to go their way and to keep quiet about what had happened to them, Mark 7:36; 8:30; 9:9; Luke 8:56. Now, there is a change in the Lord’s strategy. On this day, Jesus begins to draw attention to Himself. Why? He does so because He is about to fulfill an ancient prophecy. He does so because He is about to present Himself to the nation of Israel as their King.

        Hundreds of years earlier, the prophet Zachariah penned these words, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass,” Zech. 9:9. Jesus is about to fulfill that prophecy in detail.

        I would like for us to examine this passage together today. I believe that there are some precious truths that can be gleaned from this moment in our Savior’s life. I want to borrow my title from the verse in Zechariah. He said “Behold, Thy King Cometh Unto Thee”. I would like to talk to you about this King. I want you to see The Person Of This King; The Presentation Of This King and The Purpose Of This King.


  I.  v. 1-6       THE PERSON

                       OF THIS KING

(Ill. As we watch the Lord in action in these verses, we are allowed to catch a glimpse of His glory. Imagine the scene if you will.

        It is early in the morning and Jesus is making preparations to go to Jerusalem. He is moving through two little villages near the top of the mountain. He is in Bethphage, which means “House of Unripe Figs” and Bethany, which means “House of Dates”. Jesus had some dear friends at Bethany, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, with whom He stayed during His last days on earth. In fact, Jesus had just performed one of His most outstanding miracles when He raised Lazarus from the dead, John 11.

        Now, Jesus stands on the top of the Mount of Olives, preparing to descend into the city below. From the top of that mountain, which stands some 2,600 feet above sea level, Jesus could see the beautiful city spread out before Him.

        Keep in mind that these events occurred during the week leading up to the Passover. Historians tell us that the population of Jerusalem was around 80,000 at this time. During the Passover, between two and three million people would crowd into the city for the celebration. The people came in anticipation; they were looking for God to do something while they were there. God would do His greatest work of all during this Passover, but most people would miss it altogether.

        Jesus chose this moment to reveal Himself the nation of Israel. He chose this moment to let Israel know that their King had arrived. Notice how He is revealed in these verses.)

A.  His Personality – Ill. The Context – Jesus sends two of His disciples to a village to get a young donkey colt. He tells them exactly where they will find it and what the people standing around will say to them. He even gives them some details about the animal. When His men go out to complete this assignment, they find that everything is just as Jesus said it would be.

        How did Jesus know this? Some writers suggest that Jesus had already been to the owners of this little donkey and arranged for the use of the animal. They believe Jesus set this up before hand. I suppose they believe Jesus set things up with that fish that Peter caught with the tax money in its mouth, Matt. 17:27.

        Well, He did set it up, but not physically. He set it up in His sovereignty! These events remind us that Jesus is God and that He is in control of all things, Eph. 1:11; Isa. 46:10-11! That encourages me! So, these verses prove that Jesus is God!


(Note: Which two disciples went after the donkey? The Bible doesn’t say! You see, it doesn’t matter who does what as long as the Lord is glorified!

        I wonder if those two men complained about their assignment. If they were Baptists they did. I can hear them now, “Can you believe this? After all we’ve done for Him; Jesus picked us for this dirty assignment.” They didn’t realize that they were the instruments He would use to fulfill prophecy. They were doing something far bigger then they could see.

        We usually are! When we are involved in the Lord’s work, we are involved in big business!)


B.  His Power – These verses also demonstrate the power and authority of our Lord. Notice what Jesus says in verse 3. He says, “Say ye that the Lord hath need of Him.” Jesus called Himself “Lord”! That is a statement of His authority and of His power in this situation.

        I would just remind you that He is still “Lord” today. He still possesses all authority, whether men recognize Him and bow to Him or not. There will come a day when they will, Phil 2:9-11. There will come a day when you will! Why not do it today when bowing to Jesus can result in your salvation?


(Note: Jesus was well known in these villages. He had, after all, just raised Lazarus from the dead. He was a local celebrity. When the owners heard that it was the Lord Jesus Who wanted the colt, they immediately sent it to Him.)


(Note: Look at that statement in verse 3. “The Lord hath need of him.” That is an amazing statement! When did God ever “need” anything? But, that was the paradox of our Lord’s earthly life. He was rich, yet He became poor, 2 Cor. 8:9.

·         He owned all things, yet He possessed nothing. He created the stars, yet He had nowhere to lay His Own head, Matt. 8:20.

·         He fashioned everything there is out of nothing, yet He had to borrow a boat from which to preach His Gospel.

·         He created every drop of water that exists in the world, yet He cried “I thirst” as He was dying on the cross, John 19:28.

·         He created every tree, but He died on a borrowed cross.

·         He created every rock, but He had to borrow a tomb in which to be buried.

·         He used the clouds as His chariots, Psa. 104:3, yet He had to borrow a donkey on which to ride.

·         That is the paradox of His life!

·         He was rich, yet made Himself poor so that those who believe on Him might enjoy His riches!)


(Note: Let’s talk about that donkey for a few more minutes. The Lord needed that donkey to fulfill His mission here on earth. Isn’t that amazing? Jesus is God and He could have done this anyway He chose to, but He chose to use that little donkey.

        By the way, He is still using little donkeys to get His work done on earth. He uses the likes of you and me. He could have assigned the task to angels, but He chooses to work through human instruments. I am glad to be a part of the Lord business. I am glad He can use a little donkey like me!

        Let me mention a few important facts about this donkey before we leave him behind.

·         That Donkey Had To Be Redeemed – Ex. 13:13; 34:20. That little donkey was alive and useful to the Lord because it had been redeemed by the blood of a lamb. Praise God that is why I have life today. That is the only reason you and I have any usefulness to the Lord today. Praise God for the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus!

·         That Donkey Had To Be Released – It was bound and had to be set free before the Lord could use it. Before you and I can be of any use to Him, the chains of our sins are going to have to be broken and we are going to have to be set free. I praise His Name that is just what He does for His saints, Rom. 6:14; John 8:36.

·         That Donkey Had To Be Ruled – Someone had to take charge over that donkey. Verse 2 tells us that the donkey had never been broken to ride. Yet, it submitted itself to the Lord Jesus and yielded to His control. That donkey wasn’t frightened by the crowds or by their noise. It surrendered itself to the Lord totally. That is what He expects of us! He is looking for total submission and total surrender, Rom. 12:1-2.

        The Lord could save sinners and accomplish His work on earth just fine without us. Yet, He chooses to use frail, human instruments for His glory. When we are like that donkey, Redeemed, Released and Ruled, He can use us too.)


(Note: In verse 6, the phrase “and straightway he will send him hither”, means “The Lord will send the donkey right back as soon as He is finished with him.” In other words, Jesus tells His men to tell the people who owned the donkey that He will return their property as soon as He is through with it.

        When that donkey came back, it was better than it was when it left. When it left, it was unbroken and untried. When it came home, it was ready for the saddle. That’s just what the Lord does! He takes when we give Him and when He gives it back, it is far better than it was when He got it.

·         Give Him an Abram, a lost pagan, and He will give you back an Abraham, a mighty man of faith.

·         Give Him your Jacob, a schemer and a trickster, and He will give you back an Israel, a Prince of God.

·         Give Him your Saul of Tarsus, a mean, cruel man, and He will give you back a Paul, a mighty Apostle of God.

·         Give Him you Simon, a weak, vacillating man, and He will give you back a Peter, a rock for Jesus.

·         Give Him your broken, sin scarred life and He will give you back a new start, a new life and a home in Heaven!)



                           OF THIS KING

(Ill. We are allowed to see the Person of this King in this event. We are also allowed to see a Presentation of the King in these verses.

        The disciples go and get the donkey. They return to Jesus and put their outer garments over the beast in place of a saddle. Jesus climbs on the donkey’s back and starts down the mountain. (Ill. The fact that the animal Jesus is riding has never been broken is a miracle in itself. Of course, Psa. 8:6-8 tells us that He has dominion over this creation.)

        The King of Israel is about to present Himself to the nation.

A.  He Is The Lowly One – As I mentioned earlier, Jesus is fulfilling the ancient prophecy of Zech. 9:9. Part of that prophecy says that the Messiah will be “lowly”. That is what we see here. We see a humble Man on the back of a humble beast, making a humble declaration of His identity.

        Imagine this procession. Jesus is on a donkey and He is surrounded by throngs of common people. It was, as one writer said, a “procession of paupers”. The people are waving palm branches and not swords. He is sitting on old coats and not a saddle. He is riding a little donkey and not a mighty stallion. He is surrounded by a ragtag rabble and not by strong soldiers. The Roman soldiers who saw this parade must have laughed at this Man Who would be King of the Jews.

        The soldiers might have seen a Roman Triumphus. In those great celebrations, victorious Roman generals would return from the battlefields with the spoils of war. Defeated kings and soldiers would be paraded through town. The victorious army would walk past cheering crowds. Elephants, tigers and lions would parade past. The victorious general would be riding in the finest of chariots pulled along by handsome horses. Thousands would cheer and Rome would vibrate with the shouts of people praising Caesar and the Roman gods. But, this, this must have appeared to be a joke to all who saw it.

        This little procession was just the beginning! The events that began on this day would one day topple the Roman Empire. One day, this lowly King would bring Rome to its knees! By the way, a Roman general could only have a Triumphus if he had killed over 5,000 enemy soldiers in battle. Very soon, King Jesus would claim over 8,000 new believers, Acts 2:41; 4:4.)

        Look again at this crowd. Who is there as the people wave their palm branches before Jesus and pave the road with their clothing? I would imagine Bartimaeus is there. I would imagine Zacchaeus is there. I would imagine that Lazarus was there, along with Mary and Martha. That crowd was full of people He had healed, delivered and ministered to and they were praising Him. I am in that parade too! It’s a mighty long parade by now, but it is marching off toward eternity with Jesus in the lead. Those who know Him are still praising His name and worshiping the One Who became poor so that we might become rich in Him!

B.  He Is The Lofty One – As the crowd descended the slopes of the Mount of Olives, the people are praising the Lord. They are practicing “antiphonal” singing. The people in front would say a part and the people in back would answer them. We are told what they said in verses 9-10. The word “Hosanna” means “save now”. It was a cry for the Messiah to deliver His people. It had come to be used as a shout of praise, much like “Hallelujah”.

        The people are praising the name of the King, just as the Psalmist predicted they would in Psa. 118:25-26. The people are exalting Jesus as their King, and they are right on the money!

        Mark doesn’t relate this, but Luke does. Luke tells us that the Pharisees are upset about this demonstration. They want Jesus to tell His followers to stop their shouting. Jesus tells them that if these people were to hold their peace, the very rocks would cry out, Luke 19:39-41. In other words, prophecy is being fulfilled and the Lord will have His praise. He is going to have praise on the earth!

        Let me just say that as long as the Lord saves sinners and leaves His saints on this earth, there will be some who will praise Him. And, He is worthy to receive that kind of praise! We are commanded to praise Him. We have every reason to praise Him. I do not want the rocks to do what I am capable of doing myself. Shame on us when we can’t find the words, the courage and the reasons to praise the Lord! He is still the lofty One and He is still worthy to be praised in the world and especially in His church.


III.  v. 11         THE PURPOSE

                         OF THE KING

(Ill. Jesus went through this procession to fulfill the Word of God, but He had another purpose in what He was doing. In fact, He had a double purpose. Look at what He did.)

A.  To Examine The Town – Mark doesn’t mention this, but Luke does, Luke 19:41-44. As Jesus neared the city, He saw Jerusalem. He saw their future.

·         He knew that within forty years, the Romans would besiege the town.

·         He knew that over 30,000 Jews would be crucified as the Legions marched toward the city.

·         He knew that the city would hold out for months while the people succumbed by the thousands to disease and starvation.

·         He knew they would throw the bodies of the dead over the walls of Jerusalem.

·         He knew that the Roman General Titus would see the pile of dead bodies lying in outside the walls of Jerusalem and that he would lift his hands toward Heaven to call God as a witness that it was not his fault and that it did not have to be this way.

·         Jesus knew that the Romans would conquer the city and that the Temple and the city would be utterly demolished.

·         He also knew the people would be scattered to the four winds of the earth.

·         He knew all these things and more and Jesus wept over the town.

        Get the image in your mind! The people are shouting, dancing and singing. They are praising God and the Lord Jesus. They are excited and they are vocal in their excitement. Jesus, however, is a man with a broken heart. He knows that Israel will not receive Him, John 1:11. He knows they will reject Him and crucify Him. He knows they are slated for judgment and in the midst of jubilation, Jesus weeps! That is why He is called “a man of sorrows”, Isa. 53:3.


(Note: Have you ever wondered what Jesus sees when He looks at our town? We see economic depression. We see people who are good hearted, but who do not care about the things of God. We see people with whom we get irritated. We see prospects for our church. We see friends, neighbors, saints and sinners. But, what does Jesus see?

        Jesus sees people who are suffering. Jesus sees people who are lost. Jesus sees people who are going to Hell. Oh, how we need to see the people of our town like Jesus sees them. When we do, we will weep over them like He wept over Jerusalem. When we weep as He wept, we will be more motivated to take the Gospel to them. How do you see the people of this town?)


B.  To Examine The Temple – The last thing Jesus did on that day was to visit the Temple. He took the time to look “at all things.” He saw the beauty of the buildings. He saw the gold, the silver and all the trappings of religion. He saw the priests carrying out their rituals. He saw the people bringing their sacrifices to the priests. He saw it all, but you will notice that they did not see Him.

        Oh, they saw Him, at least they saw His physical body, but they did not see Him! The King had entered the Temple and they knew nothing of it. The Lord of Glory had visited His house and they were ignorant of His presence. He saw they had no place for Him in their Temple so He left.


(Note: What does Jesus see when He comes to our church? He is here today, Matt. 18:20! What does He see? Does He see people who come looking for Him, or does He see people just going through the motions? Does He see people who are worshiping Him and praising Him, or does He see people just caught up in the rituals?

        What does Jesus see in this church today? More importantly, what does Jesus see in your heart? Does He see His face reflected back to Him? Does He see a heart filled with love with Him? Does He see an earnest worshiper? Or does He see that you are lost? Does He see that you need to come home? Does He see that all is not well in your heart? What does the Lord Jesus see at Calvary today?

        The big question is, do we see Him? He is here, but is He being worshiped? Is the KIng being acknowledged?)


Conc: Zechariah told Israel to be ready. He said, “Thy King cometh unto thee.” He came to them and they were unprepared for His coming. A few received Him, but as a whole, the nation of Israel rejected their King. They turned Him away and they crucified Him.

        Did you know that the King is passing by right now?

·         He is here to Receive those who will come to Him in faith.

·         He is here to Restore those who will come home.

·         He is here to Refresh those who are weary.

·         He is here to Reward those who are faithful.

·         He is here to Revive those who are hungry for more.

        He is here for you! The question is, what will you do with Him? Will you bow before Him, or will you send Him away? The King is here! May we acknowledge His presence and glorify Him today!

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