Mark's Gospel

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The Entry into Jerusalem

(Mark 11:1-11)

Jesus' dramatic entry into Jerusalem can be seen as the fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah, 'See how, your king comes to you; he is victorious, he is triumphant, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.' (Zechariah 9:9). Jesus' claim to be the Messiah was now made public. However, by riding on a donkey Jesus presents himself as a peaceful rather than a warrior Messiah. Mark mentions that Jesus began his ride from the Mount of Olives, which fulfils the prophecy of Zechariah 14:4 that when 'the Lord will come. . . his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives'. Arrangements had obviously been made previously with the owner of the ass and the phrase 'Our master needs it' may be a kind of secret password.

It is a matter of dispute as to how far the ordinary people understood the significance of Jesus' action. Some undoubtedly did. At about this time the Feast of Dedication was being celebrated in Jerusalem and the carrying of palm branches was part of the ritual. According to Matthew, some of the people were merely giving a welcome to the prophet of Nazareth. The words 'Blessing on he who comes in the name of the Lord', were used generally as a welcome to pilgrims, but when directed to Jesus they took on a deeper meaning.

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