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February 14, 2021 12:01 am
Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey was not a casual ride to town, but an incredible fulfillment of ancient prophecy. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his exposition of the gospel of Mark to unfold the rich layers of meaning behind Christ's triumphal entry.
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As Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem. He tells his disciples to go into a village and get a colt and it's almost as the Jesus is telling his disciples to go and steal a donkey for him. But that's not what's going on at all what he is consciously doing is fulfilling the prophecies of the old testament with a vision of Renewing Your Mind in another sermon of God versus ProSeries from Mark's gospel's focus is on our Savior's triumphal entry into Jerusalem was dramatic moments leading up to his betrayal trial and sacrificial death proceeds going to refer to the Old Testament and make the story leap off the page with messianic significance.
But in 20 begin by reading from Mark chapter 11 when they drew near Jerusalem to Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of olives, one technical point here is that it mentions first Bethphage which means house of unripe figures and Bethany which means a house of sorrow that it seems as though in their journey to Jerusalem. They first go through Bethphage and then to Bethany and critical scholars look at the intersections of the roads today that come from the north into Jerusalem.
They cite the orders just reversed. First you have to go through Bethany. Then you go through Bethphage before he can go to Jerusalem, but what they saw.
Critics overlook was Jesus wasn't traveling on modern highways. He was traveling on a Roman road and we know now that the Roman road went just as Mark said that it did. That's just an aside, for those of you who like those little points of dispute. In any case, they came to the Mount of olives and he sent two of his disciples and said to them, going to the village opposite and when you enter it you will find a colt tied there, on which no one has ever set loose. It and bring it so you hear the instructions that Jesus gives to his disciples.
At this point, go to the next village, which probably was Bethphage and the house of unripe face and he said you walk in that village and you're going to find a colt that's tied up that has never been written and you untie it and you bring it to me now that sounds strange that led and it's almost as Jesus is telling his disciples to go and steal a donkey for him. But that's not what's going on at all what he is consciously doing is fulfilling the prophecies of the old testament were on more than one occasion the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah said that the Messiah would enter the city riding on a donkey.
We remember how the other gospel writers give a much more expansive report of what happens on Palm Sunday.
This is the most brief account that we have in Mark, typically of Marx fashion of hurrying through things but we think for example of Zechariah 9 where it says rejoice Jerusalem.
Your king comes on to you lowly and riding on a donkey and so that prophecy was well known among the people who were waiting for their coming king. Most kings in the ancient world road on great Steve's magnificent horses like Alexander the great.
Not so the king of the Jews. He was going to come riding on a donkey and that prophecy that we find in Zechariah's really has its roots much earlier in the Old Testament and let me just take a second to refer back to that. So this morning I may be a bit of a flipper I hear sometimes people say I listen that preacher last week and he's a flipper of flippers want to keep flipping the between different chapters in the Bible gets everybody confused but let's look for a second.
In chapter 49 of Genesis, what we have. There is the record of the patriarchal blessing that Jacob pronounced upon his son, and you remember that the firstborn son was Ruben but he was denied the patriarchal blessing because of his sin and then Simeon and Levi were likewise denied, and when he comes then to the great patriarchal blessing in chapter 49 verse eight. Listen to what he said Judah you are. He whom your brothers shall praise your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies and your father's children shall bow down before you. For Judah is a lion's whelp from that day forward throughout the rest of sacred Scripture of the coming Messiah would be called the lion of Judah that goes on.
Judah is a lion's whelp from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down he lives is a lion and is a lion, who shall rouse him the scepter. That is the sign of royalty shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes and to him shall be the obedience of the people binding his donkey to the vine and his donkey's colt to the choice by he washed his garments in wine and his clothes in the blood of grapes.
So you see that deeply rooted in the Jewish consciousness of the Old Testament was this future hope of the king who would enter Mount Zion riding on a donkey as their coming Messiah.
And so now Mark tells us that this is happening and Jesus instructs his disciple go and get that colt that is tied. There and untie it and bring it to me now in the ancient world, including Israel. They had a concept of eminent domain that was much more limited than we have in our country, but one of the prerogatives of the king was to commandeer a beast of burden whenever he needed and so Jesus as the king exercises that right here and commands his disciples to go get that colt now something else is in view here that it was a colt that had never been written. Now I don't know if they have rodeos in Israel were they ride bucking donkeys to see how good you are, but the donkeys just like the horses had to be broken in order to become functional beasts of burden and the whole principal again in Jewish history was that no one was ever allowed to ride on the Kings force or to ride on the Kings donkey.
Only the king was allowed to write on. That's why Jesus specifies here.
You get me a colt that has never been written because he's the colt now prepared for the king. This is if anyone says to you, why are you doing this say the Lord has need of it and immediately he will send that here. Now there's a certain ambiguity here.
When Jesus said if anybody asked you what you doing just say the Lord the curiosities needs it. That word can mean simply server or it can mean master or it can have the more exalted significance of the supreme ruler and sovereign over the people. It's rare that Mark uses that term with respect to Jesus but here Jesus uses it for himself, and my guess is not a wild guess is that he's not simply saying tell him the master needs it buddy, saying, tell them that the sovereign one that came of the Jews requires that donkey and immediately he will send it here.
So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it, but some of them who stood there said to them, what are you doing loosing the colt until he spoke to them, just as Jesus had commanded, and they let them go and then they brought the call to Jesus and through their close on it and he sat on it again this the tale. The one they brought the donkey to Jesus's disciples took their garments and put the garments on the back of the donkey as a saddle as it weren't for Jesus and then we are told in the other gospels as well that the people when Jesus began his procession took off their outer garments and threw them on the pathway of the donkey so that on Palm Sunday, when Jesus makes his triumphal entry into the city with donkeys walking over a red carpet as it were created by the close of the people. Now that also has its roots in the Old Testament.
If I were to say to you who was the worst thing in the Old Testament, would we have to debate it would you hesitate isn't there one name that stands above or below the name of every other king, king Ahab with his consort Jezebel how they introduced radical paganism and idolatry in and to the royal court of Israel and how Ahab sought the life constantly of the prophets, Elisha and his wickedness was so great, that is Ahab's wickedness was so great that finally God had enough of it and he announced to Elisha that he was going to replace Ahab and so according to the commandments of God Elisha took a vial of oil and gave it to one of the sons of the prophets and he said go to the house of Jay who, for the Lord has commanded that Jay, who be anointed the king in place of Ahab, so the prophet came to Jay who and explained to him what the word of God had commanded and Jay who had no aspirations of royalty nevertheless submitted to the word of God and the prophet anointed his head with oil and all of the followers of Jay who cried out, Jay, who is King and then they took off their garments from their outer garments and put them in the past of Jay who so is that he came down the steps from his court. He walked over to garments of his people. That same principle at the anointing of the king is being used here when the people take off their garments and put them in front of Jesus that we notice also that when Jesus is involved in this procession.
This triumphal entry. It begins at Bethany and Bethany is where the Mount of olives is in the Mount of olives is something of a misnomer there at the top of the Mount of olives is the little village of Bethany and it looks out across the Kedron Valley down to the city of Jerusalem and the Mount of olives is 300 feet higher than Jerusalem is just a big hill sonata great glacial mountain or anything like that but anyway the procession starts at Bethany.
So what on the Mount of olives. So what will back in 586 at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of Jerusalem to Babylon. When Jerusalem fell, God gave a vision to the prophet Ezekiel in the vision Ezekiel has what he could see in his mind's. I Jerusalem and the Temple and in that vision. Beloved, he saw the glory of God rise up from the temple and the glory of God departed from the east side of the city and the glory of God went up the 300 feet and then came down on the mount of olives.
When I was in Jerusalem I stayed in the Mount of olives overlooking the holy city, and I can remember one night standing out in the patio from our hotel and all the lights were illuminating the walls of Jerusalem and I look down across that Kedron Valley I told you before, of of haunting memories I had of envisioning David fleeing the old city from Absalom, his son, but another night I was looking across the Valley and looking into the city and I remembered that vision of these eco-in my minds eye I saw the glory of God rising up from the temple hovering coming from the east gate then going up to where I was the Mount of olives and then coming down and landing there. Remember the story of Ichabod when the glory had departed from Israel. This was even a much worse moments of Ichabod the departure of the glory of God as the people were now taken away in two captivity for the Jewish people.
It was a Holocaust of sorts all surrounding the Mount of olives, then we read Jesus began this journey and other people cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road we look at that every year on Palm Sunday of the waiving of the Palm and so on and the people crying hosanna which means Lord save us now. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Now here's another little technical point you may or may not be interested in that some scholars say that Mark compresses the time that Jesus spends in Jerusalem before his death, we celebrate holy week is starting on Palm Sunday and then on Friday is the crucifixion and then Sunday is the resurrection, but actually John's Gospel has Jesus in Jerusalem for four months before he was executed. So the idea is that probably Mark is compressing this event and probably it really took place rather than in the spring. In the fall during the time of the feast of Tabernacles were people characteristically had their palm branches as part of the celebration of that particular festival.
We don't know for sure, but in any case, all the Gospels tell us that the people took these palm branches that were symbols of victory and wave them in the year, crying out, hosanna, Lord save us now.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord that the song of the people when their king came running to them locally and on the donkey was the first singing of the song's that we sing almost every Sunday here at St. Andrew's when we sing hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord, but there's something very very strange about Mark's version after the Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest. We read in verse 11 and Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. Emily looked around at all the things there's the ER was already late, he went out the Bethany with the 12 marks conclusion of this episode is likely not. It's like, well, he got in the Jerusalem went to the temple, looked around and went home would pack the Bethany as if nothing significant had taken place. No no no.
There's a little detail here that's crucial to our understanding of this event in the life of Jesus and all along we been waiting for Jesus to arrive in Jerusalem. Set his face like a flint to Jerusalem.
We been looking at that, since he announced to his disciple that he was going to the holy city to suffer and to die but Jerusalem was not his ultimate destination. It was the ultimate destination. His destination wasn't just the city in general is destination was the temple he was going to the temple he was going and looking around at the place where historically the sacrifices were offered he was going to the temple that replace the tabernacle, which in its own structure and its use was a living prophecy of the Messiah who was to come to remember in John's Gospel.
He begins the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
And then a little bit later in the prologue and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. Right. But that phrase he dwelt among us, literally in the text says he had tabernacle among us because you see Jesus is the tabernacle. He's the fulfillment of everything. The tabernacle pointed. He is the temple you can tear this temple down, not one stone will be left among the others, but after three days I will build it again. He was speaking of himself because he is the temple as he goes to that place that he was born for in Bethlehem and here is the supreme irony in 586 Ezekiel saw the glory of God leave the temple leave the holy city and come down on Bethany, at the mount of AND now the one whom the Scriptures define as the brightness of the glory of God comes from Bethany comes from the mind of all goes in the Eastern gate goes to the holy city and goes to the temple to see it in 586 the glory of God left the temple and now the glory of God comes back, but no one understood that the king was the King of glory. Who here is about to meet the destiny to which he was, and for which he was born when we see the triumphal entry in its context, we see the incredible prophecies fulfilled and we get a much better understanding of this monumental event each Sunday here on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul, showing us the riches we find in the gospel of Mark, and I think will gain more insight into this verse by verse study. When you request our resource offer today. It's the nearly 400 page commentary of Mark's gospel by Dr. scroll goes in depth helps you understand the context of every passage you can go online to request this resource with your gift of any amount or web address is Renewing Your Mind.work. Your support allows people around the world to access resources from Ligon near the teaching of Dr. scroll along with her leg and or teaching fellows, podcast books and our monthly devotional magazine table talk were thankful for your generosity will help you make plans to join us as we returned to Mark's gospel next Sunday school messages titled the tree and the temple to see right back here for Renewing Your Mind