Bible Study: The Rightful King

What can you give, here and now, to glorify the Lord?

Have you ever been so happy about someone that you wanted to “shout it from the rooftops”? That’s probably what it felt like 2,000 years ago too, when Jesus entered Jerusalem and a group of people had the chance to express their unrestrained joy over Him. They made the most of it, with whatever they had—even laying their coats on the ground for His colt to walk on.

 

READ

Mark 11:1-11

 

BACKGROUND

After sharing some of His most important teachings about wealth and prestige in the previous chapter, Jesus heads for Jerusalem with His disciples. He knows He is on the way to be mocked and crucified to pay for the sins of others.

 

REFLECT

Jesus embodies the union of victory and humility, a combination we can find difficult.

  • Kings often have great wealth. Yet what true nobility requires is not riches but a pure heart. Fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy of a humble king (Zech. 9:9), Jesus sends His disciples to find a certain colt, which He will later ride into the city. He describes it as an animal “on which no one has ever sat” (Mark 11:2). Why do you think this was important? You might even consider the symbolic meaning as Jesus ushers in the New Covenant. Why would He enter Jerusalem on an animal that had not yet served anyone?

  • Jesus says that if the people nearby are told the colt is for the Lord, they will provide it “immediately” (Mark 11:3). Can He be this confident about you? Ask how you might serve Him even more reliably.

  • Those nearby “give them permission” to take the colt (Mark 11:6). The Greek verb is aphiémi, meaning “permit” or “release,” and it’s the same word Jesus uses for “forgive” in the Lord’s Prayer. We’re asked to release others from debts at His request, just as He asked the people here to release the disciples from their “debt” of taking the colt. Have you ever sensed Jesus asking you to do a favor for someone or overlook a wrong—for Him? Does this dynamic do anything to change your attitude toward forgiveness?

 

OUR PART IN THE STORY

When we glorify Jesus in any way, we’ll feel a sense of joy, perhaps without even realizing why.

Kings often have great wealth. Yet what true nobility requires is not riches but a pure heart.

  • Look again at what Zechariah foresaw: “Behold, your king is coming to you; He is righteous and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey” (9:9). Why might this prophecy, and Jesus Himself, have upended peoples’ expectations about God? How does the story show both His humility and His power?

  • Mark 11:7-10 describes a celebration of Christ. When we know Jesus, we long to honor Him. Whether silently or with fanfare, doing so makes our spirit soar and deepens our relationship with Him. Name the things people gave—from their heart to their possessions—in glorifying Jesus. What have you done recently with that intention, and how did you feel in the moment?

  • Consider what honoring Jesus cost the people in this scene (e.g., risk, labor, loss). Glorifying Him is sometimes spontaneous and can require the unexpected. Does your own experience with this tell you anything about the connection between love and joyful sacrifice?

 

REFLECT

Is there anything you wouldn’t do, or give, for the King of Kings and Savior of your life?

  • Jesus is worthy of the most profound glory and honor—and He humbly welcomes even simple displays offered with an honest, open heart.

 

GOING FURTHER

Consider how this study applies to your life.

Jesus spoke repeatedly about what our relationship with worldly riches and honors should be. Chapter 10 of Mark’s gospel includes the story of the rich young man, who went away sad upon learning that His affection for wealth was incompatible with following the Lord (Mark 10:17-23). Jesus also cautioned us against desiring prestige, saying, “Many who are first will be last, and the last, first” (Mark 10:31). That doesn’t mean God refuses to honor us. In fact, Matthew 6:4 teaches He rewards us when He’s especially pleased. But wisdom plays an important role in how we relate to the riches—material or otherwise—that our Father lavishes on His children.

When we glorify Jesus in any way, we’ll feel a sense of joy, perhaps without even realizing why.

  • Pride versus humility is perhaps the key issue when we’re trying to deal correctly with personal wealth and prestige. Do you agree? How can pride ruin your receipt of God’s rewards? How might humility change everything?

  • It’s easy to become dazzled by the love and favor we receive through Christ. If we’re not careful, we might begin to think we’re king of our own kingdom. What verse could you memorize to keep the right perspective?

  • In a vision, the apostle John saw elders of heaven casting their crowns before God (Revelation 4:10). When your heart is given over to Jesus, you’ll surely relate. The more you focus on Him as the only perfect, righteous King, the more you’ll want to use everything He gives you to honor Him—from a simple coat to the greatest treasure.

 

Illustration by Adam Cruft

Related Topics:  Reading Bible

Related Stories

1 As they approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples,

2 and said to them, Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here.

3 If anyone says to you, `Why are you doing this?' you say, `The Lord has need of it'; and immediately he will send it back here."

4 They went away and found a colt tied at the door, outside in the street; and they untied it.

5 Some of the bystanders were saying to them, What are you doing, untying the colt?"

6 They spoke to them just as Jesus had told them, and they gave them permission.

7 They brought the colt to Jesus and put their coats on it; and He sat on it.

8 And many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields.

9 Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting: Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD;

10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!"

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple; and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late.

9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

2 and said to them, Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here.

3 If anyone says to you, `Why are you doing this?' you say, `The Lord has need of it'; and immediately he will send it back here."

6 They spoke to them just as Jesus had told them, and they gave them permission.

7 They brought the colt to Jesus and put their coats on it; and He sat on it.

8 And many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields.

9 Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting: Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD;

10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!"

17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

18 And Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

19 You know the commandments, `DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.'"

20 And he said to Him, Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up."

21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

22 But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

23 And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!"

31 But many who are first will be last, and the last, first."

4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

10 the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

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