Key Verse: “They that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
TODAY’S LESSON PRESENTS the account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This had been prophesied by Zechariah. He states, “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.” (Zech. 9:9) Remembering this prophecy, Jesus called two of his disciples and sent them forth with specific instructions concerning the colt they were to bring for this occasion.—Mark 11:1-7
Having secured the colt, Jesus sat upon it and began to enter into the great city of Jerusalem. Such was the custom of the great kings of Israel, that they would enter into the city in this manner to receive their coronation. As a further mark of respect and honor, verse 8 states that “many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.” It is thought that, as the animal passed over these garments and branches, the people quickly picked them up and took them back to the front of the procession, placing them again on the ground and thus repeating the process until their final destination was reached—the Temple.
The most impressive part of this procession, through the city to the Temple, was the cry of the people as recorded in the Key Verse and in the verse following, in which they said, “Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.” (Mark 11:10) The word ‘Hosanna’ was an exclamation of adoration and, literally translated, means ‘Save now!’ It was the people’s desire that Jesus, the one who had done so many miracles, even raised the dead, be the one who would now reestablish the kingdom of Israel in the glory that it had under their father David. Surely, they thought, he who had the power to raise the dead could restore the greatness of their nation and lift the yoke of bondage to Rome. This was their desire, and the cry ‘Hosanna’ gave indication that they wanted this done now, not in the future.
In verse 11 of our lesson, we are told that, upon entering Jerusalem, Jesus went to the Temple, and then shortly thereafter left the throngs of the people and went quietly with his disciples out of the city to Bethany. It was then, and over the ensuing days until his death, that Jesus spent much time teaching and explaining to his disciples that, although he had entered into the city proclaimed as Israel’s next great king, he in fact would not now be establishing his kingdom. Rather, he would soon give up his life in order that Adam and his entire race might have an opportunity to be restored in his coming kingdom, in ‘due time.’ This would not be a kingdom just for Israel, but would encompass the entire world—“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth.”—Phil. 2:10
Although the cry ‘Hosanna’ was not answered at the time of Jesus’ first advent, God has not forgotten the groaning of the human family. Soon, “the desire of all nations [people] shall come: … and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.”—Hag. 2:7,9