Jesus went into Jerusalem and went to the temple. Jesus looked at everything in the temple area. But it was already late. So Jesus went to Bethany with the twelve apostles.
— Mark 11:11
Jerusalem! The Temple! These places formed the center of Israel's religion during Jesus' day. These were the places where Jesus was rejected. In a bittersweet moment of joy and ominous anticipation, Jesus looked over these cherished places of God's chosen people. Little did the people of Jerusalem understand that a mere forty years later, these cherished places would be destroyed. Even less did they realize that this Jesus, the one that the powerbrokers of Jerusalem tried to destroy, will one day return in glory. This Jesus that Jerusalem rejected is the Son of David. He is God's Messiah, Lord, and King. He will return in glory, honor, and power. But not on this late afternoon as he visited Jerusalem. No, Jesus simply turned and went out to Bethany with his twelve closest followers. The conflict waited to begin on another day.
O Father, please keep my heart from finding its security in a place—a city, country, or church building. May I find my refuge in you. May I find my hope in your Son. May I find my source of strength in your Spirit. As precious as some places are to me, I know that my only lasting place and lasting peace is in you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Today's Verses in Context
Jesus and his followers were coming closer to Jerusalem. They came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives. There Jesus sent two of his followers to do something. Jesus said to the followers, "Go to the town you can see there. When you enter it, you will find a young donkey tied there. No person has ever ridden this donkey. Untie the donkey and bring it here to me. If any person asks you why you are taking the donkey, tell that person, 'The Master needs this donkey. He will send it back soon.'" The followers went into the town. They found a young donkey tied in the street near the door of a house. The followers untied the donkey. Some people were standing there and saw this. The people asked, "What are you doing? Why are you untying that donkey?" The followers answered the way Jesus told them to answer. The people let the followers take the donkey. The followers brought the donkey to Jesus. The followers put their coats on the donkey, and Jesus sat on it. Many people spread their coats on the road for Jesus. Other people cut branches in the fields and spread the branches on the road. Some of the people were walking ahead of Jesus. Other people were walking behind him. All the people shouted, "'Praise Him!' 'Welcome! God bless the One that comes in the name of the Lord!' God bless the kingdom of our father David. That kingdom is coming! Praise to God in heaven!" Jesus went into Jerusalem and went to the temple. Jesus looked at everything in the temple area. But it was already late. So Jesus went to Bethany with the twelve apostles.
Related Scripture Readings
This is the Lord's message to Jeremiah: Jeremiah, stand at the gate of the Lord's house. Preach this message at the gate: "Hear the message from the Lord, all you people of the nation of Judah. All you people that come through these gates to worship the Lord, hear this message. The Lord is the God of the people of Israel. This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: 'Change your lives and do good things. If you do this, I will let you live in this place. Don't trust the lies that some people say. They say, "This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord !" If you change your lives and do good things, I will let you live in this place. You must be fair to each other. You must be fair to strangers. You must do the right things for widows and orphans. Don't kill innocent people! Don't follow other gods! Why? Because they will ruin your lives. If you obey me, I will let you live in this place. I gave this land to your ancestors for them to keep forever. "'But you are trusting lies. And those lies are worthless. Will you steal and murder? Will you do the sin of adultery ? Will you falsely accuse other people? Will you worship the false god Baal and follow other gods that you have not known? If you do those sins, do you think that you can stand before me in this house that is called by my name? Do you think you can stand before me and say, "We are safe," just so you can do all these terrible things? This temple is called by my name! Is this temple nothing more to you than a hideout for robbers? I have been watching you.'" This message is from the Lord.
All those great men continued living with faith until they died. Those men did not get the things that God promised his people. The men only saw those things coming far in the future and were glad. Those men accepted the fact that they were like visitors and strangers on earth. When people accept something like that, then those people show that they are waiting for a country that will be their own country. If those men were thinking about that country they had left, then they could have gone back. But those men were waiting for a better country—a heavenly country. So God is not ashamed to be called their God. And God has prepared a city for those men.
Here on earth we don't have a city that continues forever. But we are waiting for the city that we will have in the future.