Pray: To open your time together.
Read: Mark 11:1-11
Consider: Some thoughts for your group
The process of the disciples seeing Jesus for who He is comes to a climax in Mark 11. Once Peter proclaimed that Jesus is the Messiah (Mark 8) Jesus began to speak plainly with them about what He must do and how it would happen. Jesus didn’t hide the fact that He would die in this process and when Peter tried to rebuke Jesus saying this would not happen Peter earned the unique privilege of being called “Satan” by Jesus.
So, we should not be surprised that Jesus’ journey has finally led him to the gates of Jerusalem. He’s been telling his disciples this for a while now. But what should surprise us is how the people receive Him. Jesus is treated like a King! He rides, not walks, into the great city. People throw cloaks and branches on the ground before him and shout praises. “Hosanna!” “Blessed be he who come in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
Pause for a moment. Close your eyes. And imagine you are there with these people. Smell the dirt and sweat around you. Feel the sun beating down. It’s been so long since you hoped that life could be different that perhaps you stopped hoping. But now this man, Jesus, has entered your city. He is a healer. He is a provider. Thousands follow him. He speaks wisdom and is kind even to the leper. He’s come to set you free!
Jesus is celebrated and honored as a King upon His entry to Jerusalem. What did the people think they were getting in Jesus? A revolutionary? A deliverer? He is all that and more, but also so different.
Imagine now what Jesus must be feeling upon this entry. He knows what is about to happen. He knows the physical pain he must endure. But perhaps more painful than that He know that these same voices yelling “Hosanna!” today will soon be yelling “Crucify Him!”
- As you put yourself in the place of a member of the crowd watching Jesus enter Jerusalem, what do you think about Jesus? What do you feel about Jesus?
- What must the disciples be thinking during Jesus triumphal entry? They assumed all along that Jesus would be some kind of King. Did they imagine that their dream was all coming together? How much more would this deepen the sting of disappointment later?
- Jesus knows that the praise of the crowd will soon turn to jeers against him, but He rides into Jerusalem anyway and He doesn’t stop the cheers or rebuke the crowd for their adulation. What must Jesus be experiencing in that moment? How deep is His love for these people (and us) to know he will be betrayed, but to move toward them in love anyway?
God is mysterious. Even for the twelve disciples who spent every waking moment with Jesus for several years, they had no idea what would happen in Jerusalem. But even in the darkness that enters the story of holy week there is the hope of Easter Sunday. What is God walking you through right now that might require hope in the midst of darkness?
Spend some time praying for one another. Disappointment with God is a real experience so make space for people who might identify with the crowd or disciples who have so much hope in this moment with Jesus, but fear being disappointed. Pray for faith to strengthen your group. Pray for grace to cover each person and peace to rest upon your group.