International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday March 29, 2015
Purpose: To join the Palm Sunday crowd in celebrating Jesus as Lord
Bible Lesson: Mark 11:1-11
Key Verse: Those in front of him and those following were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9)
Mark 11:1-11 (CEB)
(1) When Jesus and his followers approached Jerusalem, they came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives. Jesus gave two disciples a task, (2) saying to them, “Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter it, you will find tied up there a colt that no one has ridden. Untie it and bring it here. (3) If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘Its master needs it, and he will send it back right away.’ ” (4) They went and found a colt tied to a gate outside on the street, and they untied it. (5) Some people standing around said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” (6) They told them just what Jesus said, and they left them alone. (7) They brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes upon it, and he sat on it. (8) Many people spread out their clothes on the road while others spread branches cut from the fields. (9) Those in front of him and those following were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! (10) Blessings on the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest!” (11) Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. After he looked around at everything, because it was already late in the evening, he returned to Bethany with the Twelve.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
Who doesn’t love a parade? One of my favorite memories growing up in rural Indiana in the 1950’s was an annual parade. It usually happened on the first Saturday in October. It was the DeKalb County Free Fall Fair parade. It was an event our family did not miss. We all got in the car and drove the 8 miles to our county seat to watch the parade once a year. It was a fairly large parade, consisting of marching bands from every high school within all of the bordering counties, and some from as far away as a hundred miles. It also had floats from many churches and civic organizations, horses, tractors, firetrucks, local politicians and funny cars. On that day the population of Auburn Indiana grew by several thousand. Just finding a parking place within walking distance was difficult.
As I grew older and became involved with marching in the parade as part of a high school marching band, the parade took on new meaning. Still later when I became involved with making floats, it took on an even greater meaning. I learned that everything going on in that parade was being judged. From the bands, the horses, the floats, all were being judged. At the end of the day those bands that were judged the best received an award, the same for the floats and other entries.
The atmosphere was electric for the 2 or 3 hours of the parade. However after the judging was finished and the awards handed out, there was always some disappointment and let down for those not getting the awards. The losers could only plan and hope for better results next year.
I imagine the atmosphere, on this first day of the week, as Passover Week started was very much like our free fall fair. People had gathered from every neighboring town and county and many had traveled a great distance to be in Jerusalem during this special feast time. I am almost certain there was some judging going on as the crowds gathered.
Because all of this happened shortly after Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus had become a local hero, someone to see and cheer and indeed to judge. Jesus had spent most of his time in ministry many miles away from Jerusalem. Jesus had come to Jerusalem for a very special purpose, to become a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. Unfortunately Jesus may have been the only one in attendance that knew what was about to happen.
The followers of Jesus and the crowds had no idea that the one whom they were celebrating would be put to death by the same crowds in just a few days. The crowds were celebrating a miracle worker, but they had no idea of the real miracle that was about to take place.
Imagine the concern that the religious leaders felt as Jesus was hailed and honored as he rode in on this donkey. Surely their blood boiled with anger, because he was not one of them. He had no claim to the leadership, no position of power, just a man from Nazareth, and Galilee that attracted a certain group of fishermen and others.
The question for us is simple. Do we see Jesus as an attraction? Or do we see him as Lord? Unless you acknowledge Jesus as Lord, you are simply part of the crowd, the same crowd that calls for his death on a Roman cross, the cruelest of deaths.
Jesus conquers death and the grave, He is Lord of Lords, King of Kings, but only if you believe that he was exactly who he said he was can you experience and claim the salvation provided by his death and resurrection. “Hosanna in the highest!”
Nothing says it like the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah.