Mark 11:1-11

Commentary Excerpt by Tom Boomershine

The spirit of this story is a spirit of celebration. It is a pulling together of the hopes that have been generated throughout the whole of the Gospel story. It focuses the desire and the hope of the listeners on one who will redeem the world and who will change things for the better. The spirit of the story is implicit in the celebration of the confirmation of Jesus' status as a prophet with which the story begins.

The first part of the story is Jesus sending the disciples into the village and telling them what they are going to find. Some question whether these are prearrangements or prophecy. In my opinion, it is clearly prophecy. This is like Samuel telling Saul what he will find after he has anointed him. There are several stories like it in the Old Testament.It's a sign of Jesus' ability to foresee what is ahead. When the two disciples go and untie the colt, there is a sense of amazement that what Jesus had foreseen was indeed the case.Those who are in the village see them taking the colt and ask what they are doing.Obviously, they suspect, and appropriately, that they are trying to steal it. When the disciples say that the Lord has need of it, immediately they let them take it. It is a confirmation of Jesus' understanding of the situation as well as his prophetic insight into what will happen in the future.

The colt is also a donkey. It is a translation decision to call it a colt. A donkey is the antithesis of the usual animal that a king would ride into the city. Usually kings ride on horses. Jesus rides a colt, a donkey. On the one hand, this can be seen as a joke, a kind of anti-authority sign in what Jesus does. It's obviously a sign of his humility and his willingness to accept a degree of humility that most candidates for political office would find absolutely unacceptable.

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