-Jesus is now nearing Jerusalem from the eastern way. Up from Jericho, He approached Jerusalem through the desert coming to Bethphage and Bethany, which was near the Mount of Olives that overlooks the Holy City. From there the Christ sent two of His disciples into a village opposite them to find a colt tied there on which one no had ever sat. The Master commanded them to untie this donkey colt and bring it back to Him. Jesus even gave them instructions if someone should ask why they were untying the colt. It happened just as the Lord had predicted as they came into the village. They found the donkey colt (actually two if you cross reference gospel accounts, Matthew 21:1-7), and some of the bystanders did ask what they were doing untying the colt. When they told them the Lord had need of it, they were given permission to take the animal for Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. They put coats on the tender animal, and Jesus got upon the humble beast of burden to receive His prophesied glory as He entered Jerusalem during this time of His ultimate sacrifice for humanity (Isaiah 62:11, Zechariah 9:9). Those who went in front and those who followed were placing their coats and palm branches out before Him in the road 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!” Jesus entered the Holy City going straightway to the Temple, and after looking around a bit, He retreated back across the Kidron Valley and the Mount of Olives to Bethany with His twelve disciples since it was already late in the day (Mark 11:1-11).
-The next day began the time of preparation for His crucifixion. He would clean out the Temple and be tested for purification from the priests and scribes. But before all that, a symbolic gesture was made using the fig tree. Jesus was hungry as He left Bethany, much like the people He had encountered in the land of Israel and the surrounding locations were spiritually hungry to the point of desperation as He ministered to them. He saw a fig tree in leaf with all the appearances of producing good fruit on the outside, but when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, “for it was not the season for figs (figs symbolizing the religious establishment).” He cursed the fig tree telling it that it would never produce eatable fruit again. His disciples took note of this and found the fig tree withered from the roots up the next morning when they passed by. Jesus’ conclusion from this didactic was this, “Have faith in God.” This was no doubt in comparison to men who were imperfect, robbers, and corrupted, (i.e. the religious leaders), which most mistakenly looked to for their well-being (Mark 11:12-22). Jesus went further on this faith issue when He matter of factly taught, “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea.’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted to you.” Then He made a huge point on forgiveness, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in Heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in Heaven forgive your transgressions (Matthew 6:12-15, Mark 11:23-26).”
-The inspective testing in the Temple area continued as the chief priests and scribes came to Him with a question. They wanted to know by what authority Jesus did these things that He was doing. Jesus wisely came back at them with an unanswerable question. He told them He would answer their question if they would first answer His. The question was this, “Was the baptism of John from Heaven, or from men?” They reasoned among themselves and could not answer. If they said it was from God, then they would have to concede that they had not believed in Him. If they said it was from men, then they would face an angry mob, for everyone considered John to have been a legitimate prophet. They feared the people; therefore, they could not answer the Christ His question, and He got out of answering theirs (Mark 11:27-33). Just like the sacrificial lambs had to be examined for imperfections before the Lawful Temple rituals, God was having His Son pass the test of questioning with dynamic flair without the religious establishment even aware of what was going on.
-*Application* Do we look to God or man for our salvation? This is an ultra-important question now isn’t it? There is only One Mediator between God and man, and that One is Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). He is our hope and our promise. He is the fulfillment of every prophesy. He is our King. We need not look to anyone or anything else. Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD! The Son of David is the Son of the most high God. And His Kingdom will never end. Believe in Him, trust His provision, and forgive your neighbor as He has forgiven you. This is the path to life eternal.
Verses to Memorize: Mark 11:17, 24