Explain the Significance of the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

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Mark 11 focuses on Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem, depicting it as an extremely significant event, marking the beginning of the final week of Jesus’ life. Crowds are said to be gathered for Passover, and Jesus is greeted as a King, entering on a donkey. E.P. Sanders argued that the triumphal entrance could be described as the “most puzzling” story in the New Testament, as it is the only part of the Passion that tells us nothing about Jesus’ death and is unclear in that it does not highlight particular qualities of Jesus in the same way that other stories about the time leading up to his death do.

However, it could be argued that this story does fulfil the Old Testament prophecy found in Zechariah 9, portraying Jesus as the Messiah, as the prophecy places emphasis on humility, and Jesus is said to ride into Jerusalem on a lowly donkey.

In addition, the reference to the donkey may be an attempt to depict Jesus as a peaceful leader, though are said to be shouting “Hosanna”, meaning “please save us now”. This plea suggests that they hoped the Messiah had come to overthrow the cruel Roman rulers, rather than in peace.

The story also suggests that Jesus had exceptional foresight in that he knows where the donkey is while approaching Jerusalem. It emphasises that Jesus is in control of his situation, even though his death is approaching. However, some argue that Jesus may have arranged this in advance as it is unlikely that this was his first visit to Jerusalem, although Mark has told us nothing of previous visits, possibly to make the story more dramatic.

The fact that Jesus had coats and garments thrown in front of him alludes to the Old Testament, as the crowds “took their cloaks


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