Mark 11:1-11 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. What instructions does Jesus give to two of His disciples in Mark 11:1-3 (printed below?)

As they approached Jerusalem, coming to Bethphage and Bethany by the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples ahead of him. (2) He gave them the instructions, Go to the village that is ahead of you. When you enter it you will immediately find a colt tied there, which no man has ever ridden. Untie him and bring him here. (3) If any one asks you, Why are you doing this? say to them, The Lord needs him; and immediately he will send him back here. (Mark 11:1-3)

Jesus instructs these two disciples to go ahead of them to the next village. Upon entering the village they will immediately see a colt tied there, one that has never been ridden. They are to untie this colt and bring it back to Jesus. If anyone asks them what they are doing, they are to say, “The Lord needs this colt,” and immediately they will be given permission to take it.

2. When these two disciples follow Jesus’ instructions, what happens? See Mark 11:4-6 (printed below) What impression do you think this made upon them?

So they went, and found a colt tied at the door outside in the open street; and they untied him. (5) Some men who were standing there asked them, What are you doing, untying the colt? (6) Then they told them just what Jesus had said; and the men let them go. (Mark 11:4-6)

When the disciples enter the village they find the colt, just as Jesus said they would. When they proceed to untie it and are asked what they are doing, they say just what Jesus told them to say. Then they are given permission to take the colt. This whole incident would have impressed upon the disciples the fact that Jesus is in control of all things: He knows everything and He has authority over all. This knowledge should have been a source of comfort to the disciples with regard to the events that would take place during the coming days of Jesus’ passion.

3. According to Matthew 21:4-5 (printed below), why did Jesus instruct His disciples to bring Him the colt?

Now this happened so that the word that was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled, (5) Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your King comes to you, meek, and riding upon a donkey, and upon a colt the foal of a donkey. (Matthew 21:4-5)

Jesus rode into Jerusalem upon a colt in order to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, “Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your King comes to you, meek, and riding upon a donkey, and upon a colt the foal of a donkey.”

4. What is significant about Jesus entering Jerusalem riding upon a colt, rather than riding upon a great war horse? Note, again, the words of the prophet Zechariah quoted in Matthew 21:5 (printed above under question #3)

According to Zechariah 9:9, the Messiah entering Jerusalem riding upon a colt indicates His humble character. The Messiah sent by the Lord is not self-assertive, rather He humbly submits Himself unto His heavenly Father (cp. Matthew 26:39).

5. How do the people respond to Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem? See Mark 11:8-10 and also Matthew 21:9 (printed below)

Many people spread their garments on the road; and others spread branches which they had cut from the fields. (9) They who went before them, and they who followed them, cried out, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! (10) Blessed is the kingdom that is coming, the kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest! (Mark 11:8-10)

The crowds that went before him, and those who followed, cried out, Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! (Matthew 21:9)

The people respond by receiving Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, hailing Him as “the son of David.” Some of them laid their garments upon the road while others cut palm branches and spread them over the roadway. Quoting from Psalm 118:26, the people cry out, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”