Christ Our King
“And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.” (Mark 11:1-11)
This event in the earthly life and ministry of our Savior is one of just a few that are recorded in detail by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It is the only event in our Savior’s earthly life and ministry that he seems to have deliberately made a matter of great, public display. Surely, that which is here revealed is a matter of great importance.
Several things recorded here are obvious facts. It is obvious that the Bible is, indeed, the Word of God, the inspired, inerrant Word of the living God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). Matthew tells us that all this was done that the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 might be fulfilled. — “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”
It is equally obvious that our great Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the omniscient, all-knowing God. He told his disciples exactly where they would find the ass and her colt and exactly what would happen when they found them.
And he who is God our Savior and Redeemer is the sovereign Lord and King of all the universe. He did not come to Jerusalem to be made a King. He came into Jerusalem triumphantly as the King. He was going by way of the cross to receive his kingdom. But he was King already. The ass and her colt and the men who owned them belonged to him. All were his servants. All did his bidding.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is, always was, and always shall be King over everyone and everything by virtue of the fact that he is God. The one true and living God is King everywhere. He always has his way and does his will. Here we see the Lord Jesus ascending up to Jerusalem as our mediatorial King to take possession of his kingdom, the kingdom and dominion given to him as the God-man by his Father as the reward of his obedience to God as our Mediator (Romans 14:9; John 17:2; Philippians 2:9-11). The Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Savior, is the King of Glory and the King of the universe. In this passage Mark shows us four things about Christ our King.
The King’s Power
The Lord Jesus displayed the universality of his power and dominion as the sovereign God and King, as the absolute Ruler of all things, by sending his disciples to fetch an ass’s colt, on which no man had ever even attempted to ride, to carry him into Jerusalem (vv. 1-6).
“And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.”
There are many things in these first six verses, which might properly demand our attention, but my purpose now is to show you the totality of Christ’s sovereign power as our God and King. Here we see clear, evident displays of that sovereign power.
Our Savior has complete and absolute power over all the affairs of providence. It was he who put the ass and her colt where he wanted them, when he wanted them there.
Our great God and Savior has complete and absolute power over the wills of all men We have no way of knowing whether the man who owned the ass and her colt was a believer or an unbeliever. But there is no indication that he either knew the Lord or had any advance knowledge that the Master wanted his colt. Yet, he willingly sent his colt away with two strangers because the Lord Jesus so inclined his will.
And he who is our great Lord and King has complete and absolute power over all animals and all creation. Who ever heard tell of a man riding an ass’s colt the first time it was attempted? Yet, the Son of God has such power over the animal kingdom that this untamed, ass’s colt rides him through the streets as quietly as the most gentle old mare a man ever rode.
Such a God, such a Savior and King has power to save whom he will. He is God mighty to save! We can safely trust to this great, omnipotent God and King the present and eternal welfare of our lives. Everything that may be needed to carry this great King through the world, everything that may be needed to preach his gospel wherever he wants it preached, whenever he wants it preached, will be provided with ease by the King himself.
The servants of such a God and King beg for nothing! We do not serve a pigmy king or a pigmy god. We serve the omnipotent, sovereign God, the King of glory, who rules all things, owns all things, and disposes of all things as he will. You will not find the servants of this great King bowing and scrapping before men, or begging men to help them do what God has sent them to do. The ambassadors of this King act like they are the ambassadors of this King!
The King’s Poverty
“And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him” (v. 7). — Here is an indication of the great poverty in which our Lord Jesus Christ, the great King voluntarily lived all the days of his life on this earth. The Lord Jesus did not ride into Jerusalem on a white stallion with a diamond studded saddle. He did not fly into town on a private jet. He did not come in a pope-mobile, wearing a white dress and funny looking hat with an entourage of effeminate looking men wearing red capes rubbing good luck beads.
The Son of God rode into Jerusalem exactly as he chose to live in this world in utter poverty, though he was in need of absolutely nothing. He rode into town on a borrowed colt, not even a borrowed horse’s colt, a borrowed ass’s colt, without a saddle, sitting on someone else’s clothes.
“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). — When he was born, he was laid in a borrowed manger. When he crossed the Sea of Galilee, it was in a borrowed boat. When he rode into Jerusalem, it was on a borrowed ass’s colt. When he looked for a saddle, he was given borrowed coats. When he died, he was buried in a borrowed tomb.
In the person of our Savior, while he lived upon this earth, there was a marvelous, mysterious, blessed union of humanity and divinity, weakness and power, poverty and riches. He who fed thousands with a few loaves of bread and two sardines was often hungry. He who healed the sick was often weary. He who cast out devils with his word was himself tempted of the devil. He who raised the dead died for sinners!
What divine, God-like power our Lord displayed in bending the wills of the multitude to escort him into Jerusalem! Yet, what human, man-like weakness he showed in riding into town on his inauguration day on an ass’s borrowed colt!
What are we to learn from this? The Lord Jesus Christ is a sympathizing High Priest who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, as well as a God mighty to save.
Learn this, too. There is no shame in poverty. There is great shame, or should be, in those characteristics of life and behavior that lead to poverty: drunkenness, profligacy, extravagance, dishonesty, and laziness. But honest, hard working men and women who are poor are just as honorable as honest, hard working men and women who are rich. And they ought to be treated just as respectfully.
As our Savior proved the sincerity of his love for us by giving himself for us, giving himself to the utmost poverty when he was made sin for us, let us prove the sincerity of our love for him by our giving (2 Corinthians 8:7-9).
The King’s Parade
Normally, our Lord Jesus sought seclusion. He often withdrew from the crowd. When men sought to take him by force and make him a king, because his hour was not yet come, he withdrew himself. He was often in the wilderness, in the mountain, or in the desert place. He never sought the public eye, the applause of men, or even the attention of men. In fact, the only time we see the Lord Jesus deliberately calling public attention to himself is here, when he rode into Jerusalem as the King to whom the city belonged.
What a stir there was on that day. I doubt there was a house in the city, or even an inn, in which the events of the day were not discussed well into the night, as well they should have been. Never before or since did any city in this world behold such a parade as this. Yet, there were very few who had even the slightest idea what the events of the day meant. Do you? Do you understand the significance of the things recorded here?
“And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strowed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve” (vv. 8-11).
Our Lord deliberately over ruled everything and everyone to draw attention to himself as he road into Jerusalem at the annual Feast of Passover to die as our Substitute, as the true Paschal Lamb. He fixed it so that every eye was upon him. The scribes, the Pharisees, the Romans and all the people were made aware of his entrance. He wanted everyone to witness what he was doing.
He publicly presented himself as the Christ, the Messiah, the King of Glory, of whom the Old Testament spoke. There is no question about this. Those who sang his praise used the very words of a messianic psalm to sing his praise. He was about to enter into his kingdom and glory (Psalm 24). His kingdom is not like any other. His is a spiritual, not a carnal, material kingdom. His coming into Jerusalem was the coming of the true and spiritual “kingdom of our father David.”
When he came into the temple, our Lord Jesus, this man of Nazareth, came to announce himself as God almighty, the everlasting Son, to whom the house of God belongs, and by whose word it is ruled. In verses 15-17, when our Lord Jesus drove the religious thieves out of the temple, he called the house of God his own house. Christ alone is the King and Lawgiver in his house and kingdom, the church. He alone is the Head of his Church. His Word alone is our Doctrine Book, Rule Book, and Ordinance Book!
The Son of God drew all this attention to himself on this occasion, because he intends for us to know and understand the unspeakable importance and pre-eminence of his sin-atoning death as the Lamb of God.
It was not by accident, but by special divine arrangement, that he came to Jerusalem at this time. The true Paschal Lamb had come to the holy city to make atonement for sin by the sacrifice of himself. And our Savior would have us to know that this is the most important of all events in history, the most important of all his works, and the most important of all things taught in Holy Scripture. Apart from and without this, everything else is altogether meaningless. Thank God for his incarnation and birth. Treasure up his gracious sayings. Seek to imitate his holy life of serving one another. Cherish his blessed intercession and priesthood. Look for his blessed second coming. But that one mighty, mysterious work, to which our Lord Jesus called the attention of his disciples, to which he calls the attention of the world, to which he especially calls the attention of his elect, the crowning act of God himself, is his death upon the cursed tree as our blessed Substitute.
God give us grace to prize it more dearly, to preach it more fully, to think of it more reverently, and to stand in unceasing amazement and ever increasing love before him who loved us and gave himself for us! It is not the birth of Christ that gives us life, but his death. It is not the example of Christ that inspires our devotion, but his death. It is not the second coming of Christ that gives us hope, but his death. Our Master gave us no ordinances to remember or celebrate his birth, or his life, but he gave us two to celebrate his death.
The King’s Praise
“And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest” (vv. 9-10).
This is almost a direct quote from Psalm 118:25-26. — “Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.” Here is a prayer of faith. — “Hosanna! Save now I beseech Thee, O Lord! O Lord, I beseech Thee, send now prosperity!” Here is an ascription of praise. — “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!” Here is a benediction of grace. — “Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord...We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.”
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah” (Psalm 24:7-10).
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