Today’s verses are Mark 11:7-9: “And they brought the colt to Jesus and thew their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
Jesus had instructed two of his disciples to go to a specific location. There they would find a colt which had never been ridden. They were to take it. When asked by the owner why they were doing this, they were simply to respond that the Master needed it. The owner would permit it.
They did so. Then they brought the colt to Jesus. He sat upon it and began his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This was in specific fulfillment of Messianic prophecies in Isaiah 62:11 and in Zechariah 9:9: “Say to the daughter of Zion, behold, your king is coming to you you, humble and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”
The first phrase, “daughter of Zion,” comes from Isaiah 62:11 and is reference of those living in Jerusalem. “And on a colt,” from Zechariah 9:9, shows his humility. He chose to ride an insignificant, young colt, not the white horse fit for a military king. This was yet another signal that Jesus’ kingdom was not one of power and pride but humility.
The “cloaks on the road” and the “leafy branches” symbolized the people’s conviction that Jesus was a conquering military hero, ready to free them from the oppression of the Romans. The palm branches expressed Jewish nationalism and victory. They were connected with prominent, previous Jewish victories, especially the Maccabean revolt against Rome that occurred some 150 years earlier. Pictures of palms were common, even on Jewish coinage and in synagogue decoration, a Jewish way to remember these previous victories!
The people also cried out, “Hosanna!” It comes from Psalm 118:25 and means “Save!” or “Please save!” It is a term of celebration, again, of Jesus being a political savior in the line of King David. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” is from Psalm 118:25,26 and is a prayer of blessing upon their purported savior.
As Jesus rode into Jerusalem, it occurred at the beginning of Passover week. This would bring to mind to everyone present the Jewish people’s liberation from Egyptian slavery, what Passover remembered. If Jesus is indeed the Messiah, the people are convinced now is the time when he will liberate them from Roman oppression.
Their cry to Jesus for salvation was right and true. What they failed to realize was that the deliverance was not from Roman oppression but from Satan, sin and death. All unrighteousness is about to be put under the feet of their true Savior. But it’s not going to happen the way they’d anticipated.
Why did Jesus put up with their wrong interpretation of his identity? There can be only one answer: he tolerated it to fulfill Zechariah 9:9. He knew he was a different kind of Savior than what the people were wanting and expecting.
Nevertheless he permitted it. Why? It’s because God is in control of everything. Every detail, every part of God’s world, every prophecy in the Old Testament about Messiah (and there were hundreds of them), had to be fulfilled. Jesus is showing that everything is under God’s perfect, sovereign control. As someone said, “If one atom is outside God’s perfect control, then every atom is outside God’s perfect control.” If even one Old Testament prophecy is not fulled in Jesus, then none of the prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus.
What is your greatest worry today? If you trust the Lord for your life and eternal salvation, it’s under his control. Trust him. He knows what is occurring to you. He is not surprised. He is using it for his purposes and your eventual good. You may not understand it. That’s okay. The people here in the Triumphal Entry didn’t understand either. But God is still in control…of everything…in his universe…including your life…and this present problem that is causing your heart to hurt.
Give the problem to him today. Trust him.
That’s all he asks.