Read: Mark 11:1-19
As it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. (v. 11)
Palm Sunday was celebrated a few weeks ago. But in Mark’s telling of that event, Jesus did not stay in Jerusalem after he rode the donkey to shouts of “Hosanna!” He left. And when he came back the next day, it was very different. If the first entry seemed “triumphal,” the second entry was angry, and it upset a whole lot of folks!
Jesus tore into the temple and began shaking up everything. He saw how little room there was left for outsiders to come for prayer. He saw how people who lived pretty rotten lives would come to the temple and pretend as though just being there meant they were still in good with God. So he cleared space for all people to pray and condemned those who treated the temple like a hideout for robbers.
The first entry was about what people wanted to see: an earthly king who would do nice things for them. The second entry was about Jesus’ true mission: to seek the lost and lonely, to bring all people to God, to provide forgiveness through his shed blood. It is fine to get caught up in the palm-waving excitement of Palm Sunday but for that celebration to have any meaning, we have to reenter the city with Jesus the next day, too, and understand the depths of what he really came to do.
Help us to follow you, O Christ, not just when it’s convenient but when you confront us with the truth.