Tuesday Morning Bible Study

March 14, 2023, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

We are three weeks early for Palm Sunday, but we are on-time for our Bible Study. We are on Heaven’s clock. (smile).

As our story of Jesus’ last days before His crucifixion continues to unfold, it is the first day of the Jewish Passover. Many pilgrim bands and caravans are coming across at sunrise by the Jericho Road. They would have been traveling all night by the light of the stars and of the Passover moon.

Droves of lambs for the Passover offerings are with the pilgrims. One author writes that 250,000 Passover Lambs were offered at the Feast.

All four gospels record Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem the week before his death and resurrection. I count it all joy that I have been blessed to re-tell this beautiful story year after year as we celebrate Jesus, the Word made flesh, the prevailing Passover Lamb!

To the Jewish people, the practice of laying down Palm branches with praise, harps, cymbals, stringed instruments, hymns, and songs symbolized a great enemy had been crushed and removed from Israel. According to Eastern tradition, when a king rode a donkey, he was announcing he was coming in peace whereas riding a horse symbolized war.

Palm branches in Eastern culture are a symbol of triumph, victory, and eternal life.

Therefore, the perception of the Sanhedrin was that the people and Jesus were declaring that he was the King of Israel in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, your King comes to you; He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon a donkey, and upon a colt the foal of a donkey.

The Palm Branch was in the design of the temple given to Moses by God and was seen in the vision of the heavenly temple shown to Ezekiel. The Apostle John saw palm leaves in his vision around the throne of God.

Rev. 7:9-12: I beheld, and lo, a great multitude which no man could number of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, saying, Amen; Blessing, and glory and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor and power, and might be to our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Mark 11:1-7: When they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples; and He said to the, go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it, you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it. If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this”? Say, “The Lord has need of it,” and immediately he will send it here. So, they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it. Some of those who stood there said to them, “what are you doing, loosing the colt?” they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So, they let them go. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it.

Jesus after a brief sojourn at Jericho had spent the Jewish Sabbath before His death, at the mountain home on Olivet, in the endeared society of the Family of Bethany (Jn. 12:1). Bethany is located east of Jerusalem on the South East slope of the Mount of Olives. He reached there on the day of the week corresponding to our Friday, in the month of the Hebrews, with our 27th of March the 7th of Nisan. The Sabbath (six days before Passover) would have been the 8th of Nisan on the Jewish calendar.

Two of Jesus’ disciples are dispatched to a village by the name Beth phage, in order to fetch a donkey and its colt. The disciples without questioning him went and did as Jesus commanded them. On the sole plea to the owners, “The Lord has need of them.” They brought the donkey and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set Jesus thereon. (Mat. 21:4-7).

At the time His disciples did not understand the meaning of this, but after Jesus had been raised in glory, they remembered and wrote in the gospels that Zechariah had prophesied about Him, even to the colt of the donkey. Another prophetic moment has arrived. Jesus said He would come. Daniel told when (even to the day). Zachariah told how, even to the colt of the donkey.

We can see the comparisons in the course of His life on earth: The contrast between majesty and lowliness: “the Child born,” “the Son given,” “Immanuel God with us” ---God yet our Brother, our Brother, yet God. When He came into the world, it was an infant of days, a helpless babe in a lowly cradle; yet at the time of birth, a mystic star, the symbol of royalty and choirs of angels descended to Bethlehem’s valley. At His baptism in Jordan, he came as a humble Galilean; lo the heaven’s opened, and an audible voice attests His Deity. The Samaritan woman declares the weary traveler to be the Messiah. He wept as a man for Lazarus and in the next moment, he defeated death. At the cross, he heard the mocking of scorners, yet nature awakes to resent the insult, and to vindicate His dishonored glory, the sun puts on robes of sackcloth, and the earth heaves as if it trembled to support the Cross on which its expiring Creator hung.

Just as the humble Nazarene, who had a borrowed cradle at his birth, and is soon to have a borrowed grave---He rides into Jerusalem as a King, but “meek and lowly” on a borrowed donkey.

The procession moves on. The colt, on which He rode, was in one sense, as we have seen a symbol of His lowliness, meekness, and humiliation. Yet many kings, judges, law-givers, and prophets rode on donkeys.

11: 8-10: Many spread their garments in the way, and others cut down branches off trees, and strawed them in the way. They that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; blessed is he that comes in the name of the LORD. Blessed be the kingdom of our father, David, that comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

The words of the Angels’ hymn, “Glory to God in the Highest” sung at the birth of Jesus over the plains of Bethlehem are here mingled with David’s name.

Who were among the rejoicing multitudes who followed Jesus? There were the cripples He had healed; the blind whose eyes He had opened; the lepers he had restored to health, home, and friends; the dumb whose lips he had unsealed. Each was bearing his palm branch in this march of love and peace!

John 12: 12-13: On the next day (5 days before Passover), a great crowd of the caravan pilgrims who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. They took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet Him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that comes in the name of the Lord.”

The crowd was gradually becoming larger. Many of the pilgrims inside the city went forth to meet Him and to join the triumphal procession. They cut down branches of the fig, olive and palm from the groves and gardens along the slope. The palm trees are waved before him as thousands of new voices cry, Hosanna.

The King of the Jews moves on. The procession descends the road past the Garden of Gethsemane, crossing the brook Kedron; they enter the streets of the city. When the Temple-gate is reached, Jesus dismounts and enters it.

Mark 11:11: Jesus entered Jerusalem, and into the temple; and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.

In the evening of the day, he and His disciples went out to beloved Bethany. Bethany is the place where he spent hours in the loving home of cherished friendships of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. This was where Lazarus was raised from the dead six days before Passover. It was here at the house of Simon the leper; Jesus was anointed by the woman with the alabaster box of precious ointment. It was from Bethany he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. It was in Bethany he spent the last weeks of his earthly ministry.

As the tremendous events which signaled the close of His earthly ministry unfolded, it is Bethany with which they are mainly associated. The walk from Jerusalem to Bethany was a Sabbath-day’s journey – (a half-mile in the Old Testament, but possibly measured as two miles in the New Testament).

In the early morning both of Monday and Tuesday, Jesus went into Jerusalem from Bethany, and taught in the temple. He left the temple on Tuesday afternoon never again to return.

Mark 11: 12-14: The next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. Seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, “let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.

Jesus explains the meaning of why the fig tree is cursed for not bearing fruit beginning in verse 20.

Meanwhile, for the second time, He drives out the money-changers who, with their noise and shameless bargaining had made His Father’s house like a robber’s den.

Mark 11: 15-19: So, they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. Then he taught, saying to them, is it not written, My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves.

Church of the 21st century let us have faith that we do not have to make the sanctuary of God a den of thieves in order to get our needs met.

When order was restored, he soon got a crowd of hearers gathered round about Him. Even though the Hosannas of the crowd had ceased, the shouts of praise were on the lips of others. The Hosannas still arose from the lips of children in the Temple.

The chief priests when they heard the tender voices of the little ones take of the Hosanna-song; we are told “they were sore displeased.

Matthew 21:15-16: “When the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased. They said to Jesus, “do you hear what they say?” Jesus answered, “Yes, have you never read, out of the mouth of babes and sucklings you have perfected praise

Mark 11:18-22: The scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him; for they feared him, because all the people were astonished at his doctrine. When even was come, he went out of the city. In the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. Peter calling to remembrance said to him, “Master, behold, the fig tree which you cursed is withered away. Jesus answering said to him, Have faith in God.

In prophetic symbolism, trees represent nations and/or men. The figs of the fig tree are not ripe until Summer. It is early spring in Israel.The fig tree is symbolic of Israel.

The impenitent nation, under the type and symbol of a blighted fig-tree, the cleansing of the temple and his tears over Jerusalem form three action parables which he spoke in Luke 19:41-44: As he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it. Saying, if you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.

I “accidently” ran across this scripture in Isaiah 28, it is the chapter of the glory of the Lord and his judgment against the crowns of pride of Ephraim. (Vs 4) that fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley, will belike figs ripe before harvest---as soon as people see them and take them in hand, they swallow them. In that day the Lord Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people. He will be the spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. (NIV).

Jerusalem has missed the day of their visitation. They had missed God.

Mark 11: 23-24: Assuredly, I say to you, whoever say to this mountain, “be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them

. Mountains also speak metaphorically of nations or obstacles to overcome. The mountain of the Lord is metaphorical of His Kingdom. However, I believe we can apply this to the authority of the Believer as an overcomer. Before us will never be a mountain which we will not have authority over if we do not doubt God’s Word and His Presence to fulfill His word.

Mark 11: 27-33: They came to Jerusalem. He was walking in the temple. The chief priests, scribes and elders came to Him. They said to Him, “by what authority are You doing these things/ And who gave You this authority to do these things?” Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things; “The baptism of John---was it from heaven or from men? Answer me.” They reasoned among themselves, saying, “if you say, “from heaven, He will say, “Why then do you not believe him?” but if we say “from men” ---they feared the people, for all counted John to have been a prophet indeed. So, they answered and said to Jesus, “We do not know.” Jesus answered and said to them, “neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

I have been asked this question many times. “Under whose authority, are you?” If you are in the ministry, and Jesus Christ did not give you your authority, you don’t have any. Man cannot give to man supernatural authority to heal, prophesy, do miracles, or any other acts of God. Our physical and mental capacity is removed and the Holy Spirit moves through us. That does not excuse us from studying and showing ourselves to be approved of God.

2 Ti. 2:15: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

James 1:12: Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Carolyn Sissom, Pastor, Eastgate Ministries Church, 10115 West Hidden Lakes Lane, Richmond, TX. – scripture from N.K.J.V. and N.I.V. I entered the labors of my own sermons of 30 years preaching on Palm Sunday and Passover. I also entered into the labors of John Ross MacDuff, Memories of Olivet.

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