Mark 11:8-11

Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,

“Hosanna!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. Mark 11:8-11

I’ve been to Jerusalem. I’ve walked from the parking lot on the Mount of Olives, past the Garden of Gethsemane, across the bottom of the valley, and through the gate to the Old City. I’ve walked the narrow streets of the Via Dolorosa. Those memories come back when I read today’s text. I can easily imagine the crowds that gathered.

Jerusalem was filled with Passover pilgrims. It is easy to imagine Jesus drawing a crowd. A few followers, lots of rubberneckers.

We ought not be overly impressed by crowds. The Rolling Stones and what’s left of the Grateful Dead can still draw huge crowds. So can car accidents and burning buildings. We ought never equate popularity with principles, integrity, or honor.

We also ought never forget how differently those crowds could be defined. Some saw religious pilgrims honoring a man they believed to be the Messiah. Others – read “those in power” – would have seen those same crowds as protesters, an angry mob, anarchists, fringe radicals. The last thing Pontius Pilate would have wanted was word getting back to Rome that he was losing control of the city.

So, what to do? What to do? What to do?

Address the system that allowed the few to exploit the labor and lives of the many, leading to the very oppression that Jesus was intent on freeing people from? Canceling the temple taxes that went directly to Rome, thereby freeing people from their burden and allowing the temple to again be a house of prayer for all people rather than a marketplace for exploiting peoples’ spirituality? Granting freedom to the slaves that Romans so freely captured, bought, sold, and abused?

No. That would be too complicated. That would be too disruptive.

Better to just arrest and kill the rabble-rouser. Hang him on a cross as the sort of public spectacle – like a lynching – that would make it crystal clear to the general public that nothing was going to change the status quo. Shut up. Give up, Get in line. Or else you will get it too.

As crazy as these days are in which we are living, never before has the mission, ministry, and gospel of Jesus shown with such clarity.

Let us pray: Like those first crowds, O Lord, we often seek you only for what we want and when we want it. We lose sight of the many reasons that people were drawn to you and the authorities were threatened by you. Let none of that deter us from striving always toward love of our neighbors. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

One Response to “Mark 11:8-11”

  1. brent lamb Says:

    We are fighting two wars right now, COVID-19 and stupidity. Peace, Brent.

    ________________________________

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: