Read: Mark 11:9-10

Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on the colt of a donkey in order to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah 9. The donkey was significant because it was the mount ridden by kings during times of peace, when they were confident that there were no threats against them. This symbolic action was intended to display Jesus’ confidence as Israel’s rightful king; to affirm those that were faithful to his kingdom message; and to rebuke those that weren’t.

As Jesus neared the city, the people began to recognize him and to welcome him. In order to honor him, many laid palm branches and even their cloaks on the road, and they praised him loudly.

But not everyone welcomed Jesus. He was rejected and opposed by the Jewish leadership, such as the priests and teachers of the law — the very ones who should have been most excited by his arrival. By rejecting God’s Anointed One, they proved that their own ministries were opposed to God and his work. Listen to Jesus’ words to Jerusalem when he entered the city, recorded in Luke 19:42–44:

If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will … not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.
— Luke 19:42–44

This rejection continued as the religious leaders spent the early part of Jesus’ final week asking all manner of questions in their attempts to discredit him before the people. They also tried to provoke the Roman authorities to oppose him, and repeatedly challenged Jesus’ identity and authority as Christ.

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