Untie the Colt, Spread Your Cloaks, and Shout Hosanna!

March 28, 2021
by Pastor Charles Nyamakope

Scripture Reading: Mark 11:1-11

Today, Christians around the world are celebrating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is called “Palm Sunday,” because the crowd welcomed Him by spreading palm branches in His path. Our scripture today is all about a parade.  A big, huge parade, complete with a guest of honor, a dozen grand marshals, and an adoring crowd waving greenery and shouting acclamation and praise.  They line the streets with their cloaks and cause such an applause that the powers-that-be take notice. 

All four gospels cover this story but in their own unique way, as the gospels do.  The way that Mark tells things is notable, and perhaps even providential. Important things happen as Jesus journeys into the City of Jerusalem to his persecution.

  1. On The Road To Calvary, Jesus Picks Up A Colt

1As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?  They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go (Mark 11:1-5).

As we approach Palm Sunday, what is Jesus asking from you? What does He need from you, to fulfil some part of His great plan in this broken world; in this prophetic age we are living in? Is it a gifting, a special talent, your time, your career, maybe part of your finances? Does He need your knowledge, your wisdom, or your work experience? Whatever He needs, as He speaks to you, do not hold it back, but release it freely, just like the village folk released the colt. If The Lord needs it’, and you release it, He will do amazing things through what you offer Him!

  1. On The Road To Calvary, Jesus Picks Up Some Admirers

8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. 9Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!’  10Then Jesus entered Jerusalem (Mark 11:8-10).

The Palm Sunday procession is certainly about praising God.  But before the praises come, before the loud hosannas are sung, before we enthusiastically wave our palm branches, God needs something else of us.  One scholar observes that in the Palm Sunday story, “some show that they have fallen in love with Jesus.”  And “to fall in love,” he explains, “is to project the most noble part of one’s being onto another human being.”  Which means those people that day were infatuated with Jesus. 

  1. On the Road To Calvary, Jesus Picks Up Some Opposition Luke 19: 39-40

In what is an otherwise jubilant scene of singing and shouting and celebration, the Pharisees hear all the commotion.  Rushing toward the sounds of joy and laughter, they quickly size up the situation:  Jesus’ followers are proclaiming Him king! And just as quickly, the Pharisees shout out to Jesus, “Rebuke your disciples! You’ll upset the Romans, and besides, you’re no king or messiah.” Jesus’ reply is that even if he tells his followers to be quiet, the stones themselves will cry out with joy.  Well, either way, Jesus picked up some opposition.  This, of course, is not the first time he has encountered opposition.  Jesus has been opposed from the very beginning of his ministry.

  1. On the Road to Calvary, Jesus Picked Up the Cross

Jesus did not come to Jerusalem to hear the crowds shout “Hosanna.”  Nor did he come unaware of the opposition to his ministry.  Jesus came to Jerusalem not for the first part of the week, not for Palm Sunday.  No, Jesus came to Jerusalem for Good Friday.

On the road to Calvary, not only does Jesus pick up admirers and opponents, but most importantly, Jesus picks up the cross. Jesus traveled through the streets of Jerusalem where he was mocked and jeered.  The road that Jesus walked was a road that did not end in the city.  It continued out the other side, through the city gates, to a hill called Golgotha, Calvary, the Place of the Skull.

It is on this road that Jesus picks up the cross. The Passover crowd demanded it, Pilate confirmed it, and the Roman centurions did it.  They nailed Jesus to the cross.

So, if we want to celebrate this morning, we celebrate the transforming power of Jesus’ life and death.  The heart-changing power of Jesus’ forgiveness.  The eternal difference made in our lives and the lives of others because on the road to Calvary, Jesus picked up the cross. Friends, I invite you to Untie the Colt, Lay Down Your Cloaks and Shout Hosanna as we travel this year’s Lenten Season. Amen.