Mark 11:7-10 NLT
Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it. Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David! Praise God in the highest heaven!”
Symbolism is a powerful language tool, and these verses in Mark are filled with visual significance. Let’s deconstruct this passage for today’s reflection.
We'll begin with the colt that Jesus rode. It was the foal of a donkey, not a horse. A foal is a very young animal and does not have the strength or stamina of one that's reached maturity. Another note is that horses were what men rode into battle. Riding a donkey was a symbol of a king coming in peace ( 1 "The One New Man Bible" ).
The garments that were thrown on the colt and road were most likely 'tallits' or prayer shawls (2 “The One New Man Bible”). The tallit was to be worn to cover the body. It was a reminder to the person to always be mindful of God's laws in the Torah, and to live holy (Numbers 15:39-40). Jesus was seated upon the tallit, a beautiful visual of Him being the fulfillment of the law.
The leafy branches spread on the roads were palms. The palm branch in this region of the world symbolized peace, victory, and eternal life (3). Peace is defined as protection and preservation from both physical and spiritual danger, restoration of what is lost or broken, i.e. health, wealth, prosperity, and relationships. Jesus brought peace by operating in the Kingdom of God as He healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead.
Jesus, the center of the procession
Jesus' position in this narrative was also symbolic. There may have been thousands of people on this road (4 “The One New Man Bible”) and yet Jesus rode right in the middle of this massive procession. This is a great visual representing Jesus as the Prince of Peace, and the center of our lives.
We miss the forest for the trees, or in this case, we miss the grove for the palm. Every symbolism, action, teaching, and model points to peace. Yet, the people were expecting another David, known as the warrior king, to appear and deliver them from Rome. The Kingdom of God is so much more far reaching than Rome or any other earthly empire. The Kingdom of God lives within us.
Father, Your Word is so rich, Your thoughts are so beautiful, and Your love for me is so deep. Thank You for sending me Jesus, my Prince of Peace. I purpose to keep Jesus central in all I do and all I live for. Cause me to be a carrier of Your peace and to operate in the Kingdom of God as Jesus and his disciples did in the scriptures. You may do with my life as You will. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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“Scripture taken from The One New Man Bible, copyright © 2011 William J. Morford. Used by permission of True Potential Publishing, Inc.” page 1306, footnote 4
“Scripture taken from The One New Man Bible, copyright © 2011 William J. Morford. Used by permission of True Potential Publishing, Inc.” page 1306, footnote 5
“Scripture taken from The One New Man Bible, copyright © 2011 William J. Morford. Used by permission of True Potential Publishing, Inc.” page 1306, footnote 7