Friday, October 19, 2018

Devotional: Be Ready for the King’s Arrival, Mark 11:1-11

Mark 11.1-11 outline

Chapter 11 begins the climactic section of the Gospel of Mark. Mark has been taking his readers on a journey with Jesus and the disciples to discover who Jesus is and what that means for the lives of those who come into contact with him. In this passage, Jesus, very deliberately, presents himself to the nation as the Messiah, the one to fulfill the prophecies about the great Son of David and the one who would bring in the age to come. The disciples and the people of Jerusalem recognized what Jesus was doing and rejoiced that the promised deliverer had come. But, just as Jesus had been cautioning in his teaching all along, he came in a way they did not expect. They were expecting a bloody, conquering messiah who would fulfill their personal and national hopes. But, as promised to Abraham and throughout the Old Testament, Jesus came to free everyone oppressed by evil and death and to be a blessing to all the families and nations of the earth. To do that he would not shed the blood of others but pour out his own blood as a “ransom” for the liberation of all humankind. The “Day of the LORD” had come and no one, including the disciples, was ready for it.

Jesus makes his entrance into Jerusalem when it was packed with people for the Passover celebration. Speculation would have been rampant about what this popular healer and teacher was about to do. He makes his entrance in a way that would have brought to mind well-known messianic prophecy (Genesis 49:10-11 and Zechariah 9:9). As king, he commandeers the donkey colt and it is given to him. The people recognize the statement the king is making. The problem is that the people, especially the disciples, have not been listening to what Jesus has been saying about his kingship. Their preconceived ideas and their own selfish desires have kept them from hearing the word of Jesus which leads to life and faith. Thus, when the events unfold exactly as Jesus said they would, everyone, again including the disciples, abandons him.

The section ends with Jesus arriving at the temple and  “looking around at everything.” On that first day of the passion week Jesus came to reveal himself as king but also to assess the nation for judgment. The revelation of Jesus as Messiah, King and Son of God calls for a faithful response. Sadly the people’s foolish expectations of their own glory led to a shallow response, that turned into rejection when those expectations were not met. Thus, they missed the blessing Jesus was coming to give. Let us make sure we listen to Jesus carefully, submit to his agenda and take up his cross and mission so that we do not make the same mistake.

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