Read Mark Chapter 11
Questions To Ask:
What’s the loudest crowd of people you’ve ever experienced?
What made the crowd so excited?
Can you imagine being the recipient of that kind of praise? What would it feel like?
What do you make of Jesus’ reception? What are these people wanting from Jesus?
What did they expect Him to be or to do?
Can you think of a time when God did not response in the way you expected?
How do we handle unmet expectations in life? With our famlily? Our friends? Our leaders?
In what ways can we demonstrate trust in God no matter the income?
Jesus judges Israel, or the people of God, based on their fruits. What kind of fruits have they been producing?
What kind of fruit does the Lord expect us to bear?
How do you explain Jesus’ emotion while cleansing the temple?
What is it about these activities that Jesus objects to?
What is the response of the Pharisees and the others listening to Jesus and watching His actions?
Scriptures To Read:
9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
and the warhorses from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea
and from the River[b] to the ends of the earth.
11 As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.
25 Lord, save us!
Lord, grant us success!
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
From the house of the Lord we bless you.[b]
27 The Lord is God,
and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up[c] to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.
29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
14 Sing, Daughter Zion;
shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.
16 On that day
they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
A Thought To Ponder:
When’s the last time you had to call out to be rescued? I still remember the summer of my 7th year when I was on vacation with my family. We were all at the pool at the Holiday Inn in Kerrville, TX. I had a new mask and snorkel and an overdeveloped degree of confidence in my swimming ability. It wasn’t long until I found myself at the very deep end of the pool with a full snorkel and sinking little body. I didn’t call out, my mouth was full of water, so my mother did instead. She didn’t ask politely. She didn’t use her inside voice. She didn’t ask for anyone’s lifeguarding credentials. She shouted. “Somebody save him!”
It’s not the same words that the Jerusalem crowd uses in Mark 11, but they in fact mean the same thing. “Hosanna!” That’s a word that’s almost always relegated to praise song lyrics. When’s the last time you ever said the word outside of a church house? But the original meaning of the word is simply, “Save us!” or “Help us!”
That’s an odd thing to yell out in a crowd. I always imagined the crowds cheering. A Jesus pep rally, if you will. I thought they were giving Him praise, and instead they are eliciting aid. Which raises the question, “what are they asking Jesus to save them from?” No one’s in physical danger. Consider for a minute the makeup of this mob. It’s the poor and marginalized crying out of their economic and emotional poverty. “Lord, give us some help!”
The crowd isn’t spewing songs of adoration, they are clanging the siren of rescue. That they cry out to Jesus shouldn’t surprise us. The Savior himself said that he came to proclaim freedom for prisoners, recovering of sight to the blind, and to release the oppressed. (Luke 4) It’s His method of liberation that is the head scratcher. In His mission to salvage our souls, Jesus takes some wood and some nails and fashions for us all a life raft. “Hosanna!” “Lord, Save Us!” And, with the cruelty and humiliation of death on a cross, Jesus answers the call.
A Prayer For Change:
St. Ignatius of Loyola penned a beautiful prayer that is applicable to this week’s lesson. Let’s ask the Lord to allow to surrender our whole selves to Him.
Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my whole will.
All that I am and all that I
possess You have given me:
I surrender it all to You to be
disposed of according to Your will.
Give me only Your love and
with these I will be rich enough,
and will desire nothing more.