As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 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. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve."
-Mark 11:1-11

The Humble King

Matthew 21:5 describes this same moment of Jesus' triumphal entry, saying: "Behold, your king is coming to you, humble." Jesus arrives in the city demonstrating both his kingliness and his meekness-- he makes himself as accessible as possible to draw as many people as possible to himself. 

Jesus, "being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:6-8). As followers of Jesus, we are invited to imitate his humility.

Those Who Believe and Those Who Reject Jesus

Yet Jesus also knew that there were some in the crowd who would, mere days later, be calling for his crucifixion. "And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, 'Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.'" (Luke 19:41-44)  Jesus is foretelling the future destruction of Jerusalem, because of their rejection of him as messiah. A remarkable moment for the messianic significance of this story is that Jesus arrives in triumph, but also controversy and opposition.

So much of what Jesus did in his ministry was public. In the fourth gospel, John sheds light on the reasons why people believe and accept Christ as their saviour, or reject him: "When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus." (John 12:9-11) For some people, no amount of proof will ever convince them. We as believers need to be prepared to offer reasons for our belief with gentleness and respect, but for some people no amount of proof will ever be satisfactory-- because it’s not really about proof, but the condition of the heart.

We also see resistance to meaningful commitment to follow Jesus; the demands and human cost of a life of obedience. "Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God." (John 12:42-43)

The Challenge of Jesus

The very nature of Jesus asks a question and demands a response for all who are presented with it-- Jesus is asking us, "Who do you say that I am?" Jesus knew the hearts of all the people in that crowd-- those for and those against him. So too does Jesus know our hearts fully and completely. 

"Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him." (John 12:25-26)

Questions for Reflection
  1. Are you willing to receive Jesus in the fullness of who He is?

  2. Is there any form of a “lesser/sub Jesus” that you need to discard?


Missed this Sunday's sermon? Watch it here!