These small group studies of the gospel of Mark contain outlines, commentary, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
Mark 11:1-11 Bible Study Commentary And Practical Questions
I. Jesus sends His disciples for the colt (1-7)
I. Jesus’ triumphant entry (8-11)
Verses 1-7 Discussion Questions
What can we learn about Jesus from this passage?
Why would Jesus tell them to take the colt?
Were the owners willing for them to take it?
How did Jesus know they would be willing?
Why did Jesus enter Jerusalem on a colt? What was the significance of a colt on which no one had sat before?
Verse by Verse Commentary
1. See map of Jerusalem for locations.
2. Jesus sent disciples to get the colt – Throughout the book of Mark we have been learning some of the ways which Jesus trained His disciples. One thing that we notice is that He always delegated responsibilities to them. He did not do everything on His own even though there were many things that He could do better (such as preaching). Instead He gave them tasks so that they could be involved. This helped them learn that following Jesus is not a passive job of sitting and listening to and watching Jesus all the time. It is instead an active job which requires serving by doing. If you are discipling people, always try to find ways which they can help. And if you are a disciple (a follower of Christ) always seek ways to help.
3. Jesus demonstrates His omniscience – Jesus wasn’t just good at guessing. This is a very specific and very clear prophecy with many details. All of them came true just like He said. He was telling them to steal the colt or even “borrow” without permission. He knew that the owner would ask what was going on and the disciples could then get permission and this is in fact what happened. See Psalm 50:10. This is a reminder that everything belongs to God. The owner of the colt did not resist offering help or hold back. He offered what he had with an open hand. This is what God expects of us as His stewards. If you were the owner would have offered the colt? Obviously this is a hard question to answer. A better one is: do you offer what you have now to God with an open hand or do you hold it back? Everything belongs to God anyway. Whatever you have has been given to you to manage for God’s glory not for your own ambitions.
4. Significance of the colt – See cross-reference. While Jesus entered as a king, he was not entering as a normal king. What do you think a typical king would ride? He would probably ride a powerful war house. Jesus instead chose to ride on a donkey, hardly the appropriate steed for a conquering king. And yet a donkey portrays meekness and humility. Jesus wasn’t coming to conquer but to offer peace. Even if in this most triumphant moment we see clearly Jesus’ humility.
5. They put their coats on the colt – This was to offer padding since it was an unbroken colt without a saddle (Jesus was clearly good with animals since this unbroken donkey, which are notorious for being stubborn, gave Jesus a ride.)
II. Verses 8-11 Discussion Questions
How did Jesus refer to Himself in 11:3?
What is the significance of Jesus entering Jerusalem like this?
How did the crowds react? What would the population of Jerusalem have been like at the time? Why?
What is the significance of palm branches?
What does “Hosanna” mean?
How did the Pharisees react (see Luke)
Did these crowds stick with Jesus throughout His persecution and suffering? What do you think happened to them?
Zechariah 9:9 – The Messiah would come riding on a donkey.
Psalm 118:25-26 – Hosanna…
Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, John 12:12-19 – Parallel passages.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1. A king’s welcome – The people spread their coats and leafy branches freshly cut on the road. This is not a typical way to welcome someone. Have you ever been welcomed like this? Didn’t think so. People were putting their clothes on the dirt road for a donkey carrying Jesus to ride over. Why? This was a way to show their respect of and submission to Jesus. Their enthusiasm brimmed over as the joy and excitement of the moment infected the crowds spontaneously.
2. Hosanna – See cross-reference.Hosanna is a Christianized form of the Hebrew word Hoshana (הושענה). It is a contraction of the words “save” and “please” (“hosha” and “na”). It means something like “save now” or “give us help from our oppression!” See Psalm 118:25 where the same words are translated “save now.”
3. Verses 9-10 – Jesus received a king’s welcome. More than that the people expressed their belief that Jesus could save them and that Jesus’ coming to Jerusalem was the beginning of the kingdom of David which they had been waiting for. It seems clear that they believe Jesus is the Messiah and expect that He is coming to Jerusalem to establish His kingdom. This is what they had been waiting centuries for! Now the moment had finally arrived! You can almost feel the excitement ripple in the air! We see that in the other gospel passages on this topic when Jesus said if the people were silent that the rocks and trees would celebrate.
4. Everything seems great. Jesus is wildly popular. The ranks of Jerusalem have been swollen to overflowing because of the Passover and these people unite in welcoming Jesus as the King of the Jews. What could go wrong? How could just a few short days cause such a one hundred eighty degree turn? How could these crowds who were so wildly supportive turn against Jesus and join in the refrains to “Crucify Him!” These questions are not so easy to answer, but it does demonstrate how fickle people’s hearts are. Following Christ is so much more than been carried away with emotion during an exciting moment (such as a worship song). It requires a deep root. It takes commitment. Today all of us are here studying about Christ and worshiping Him in song. How about tomorrow? How about Wednesday? How do we ensure that we don’t wilt in our enthusiasm for serving Christ? How can we keep that passion fresh?