Hitchhiker’s bLOG – 2022.03.19

We have come to the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This event signals the beginning last six days of Jesus’ earthly life, yet Mark’s Gospel has five-plus chapters yet to cover. Everything we encounter from here on in happened in less than a week, and it reveals Mark’s focus!

Did they Really Know?

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. 

And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw 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! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” Mark 11:1-10

Jesus enters the city with considerable messianic imagery taken from the scriptures (our Old Testament); the colt (Zechariah 9:9), cloaks thrown down in honor (2 Kings 9:12-13), and disciples’ declarations of deliverance by a king (Psalm 118:25-26, 2 Samuel 14:4, 2 Kings 6:24, Ezekiel 37:24-25, Psalm 148:1). In addition, you get leafy branches that show up on synagogue decorations and coinage of the time and are a sign of Judean nationalism, which makes sense if some Jews thought he was a king coming to free them from the stranglehold of the Roman Empire.

But let’s be careful about concluding that this event looked like a grand military procession or holiday parade (as often depicted in art and sermons; see above picture). Chances are, the event was barely noticed by many, except the protagonists and antagonists of the story. Why? Because Jerusalem is abuzz with money exchanges, sacrificial purchases, accommodation arrangements for pilgrims, and much more. The city’s population at the time is estimated to be between 30.000 to 50,000 residents, but during festival seasons, it could swell upwards to 125,000.

But let’s go back to the description. Obviously, the people think that Jesus is a divinely appointed political or military savior who will deliver them from the bondage of Roman rule. They have no idea that the week will end with betrayal, insults, humiliation, flogging, and crucifixion. And yet it is a victory that ultimately delivers humanity from bondage!

To answer the opening question:

No, they really didn’t know!


Our thoughts are not Your thoughts, neither are our ways Your ways. You are the Creator; we are the created! You are the Savior! We are the saved. You are the Inspirer; we are the inspired!

I pray in the name of the Triune God of Grace. Amen!

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