Lesson for April 17, 2011: Praise the Lord (Mark 11:1-11)

This week’s treatment of the International Sunday School Lesson (for April 17) is written by Tim Turner who serves with Christ’s Church in Winterville, North Carolina.


Praise the Lord (Mark 11:1-11)

By Tim Turner

Can you imagine the anticipation of knowing everything you’ve lived for and prepared for was just hours away? My wife and I just celebrated our 20th anniversary by going on our first cruise. I must confess my excitement as I anticipated the experience—and it lived up to its billing. I was eager for time alone with my wife and to see the exotic places we would travel. It was all about enjoying a stress-free environment.

As Jesus set his sights on Jerusalem, he understood what was going to happen. He recognized it would be the culmination of everything he had come to earth to do. This was the fulfillment of his purpose (but it wasn’t going to be stress-free).

Jesus’ disciples had no idea what would soon happen, though Jesus had repeatedly alluded to these major events (Mark 10:32-34). He had spoken directly of what would occur. Everything was being set in motion. The spiritual clouds were forming, as the climactic event of all history was drawing nearer.

Everything was ready. The disciples needed only to follow Jesus’ instructions. Jesus sent two of them ahead to make preparations for his entrance into Jerusalem. This would be an entrance fit for a triumphant king.

Scripture teaches us Jesus is coming again. We cannot help to prepare for his entry to Jerusalem, but we can help prepare for his return. We can live our lives in such a way that his name is praised!

We can think about this Scripture by dividing it into three sections:


Bible background. Pronunciation guide. Real-life commentary. Discussion questions.
Find it all in Standard Lesson Commentary.

Preparation (Mark 11:1-6)

Did Jesus need for the disciples to make the preparations? You could say Jesus did not need them, but he used them to do this work. When the disciples found everything in order, it was further confirmation of their faith in him.

God does not need men as we need God. But God has always used men to do his work. What is God calling you to do? What clear scriptural instructions do you have that you need to obey?

We are to live a life that glorifies Jesus. Jesus is coming again. What preparation do you need to make for him? What do you think Jesus would tell you to do? (See Matthew 25:31-46; 28:19, 20; Ephesians 3:10, 11.)

Victory Parade (Mark 11:7-10)

Jesus entered Jerusalem on the back of a colt, symbolizing he was king.

Solomon rode his father David’s mule when he was inaugurated king (1 Kings 1:33). Entering the city in this way also fulfilled prophecy concerning the Messiah (Genesis 49:11; Zechariah 9:9).

The people treated Jesus as a conquering hero. They spread their cloaks on the road. They laid branches before his procession. According to John 12:13, these were palm branches. Palm branches symbolized victory or triumph.1

The people wanted Jesus to be their king. They wanted him to force Herod out and drive the hated Romans from their lands. They believed the Messiah would be an earthly king and they were ready.

The word hosanna means “save now.”2 We recognize the significance. The people were oppressed and wanted freedom. Witnessing Jesus enter Jerusalem on the back of a donkey meant the new king was finally with them and would soon set them free.

The people called out to him, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”; this quote from Psalm 118:26 had messianic implications.

The crowd’s nationalistic fervor can be heard in their chants of “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” (v. 10). Even the disciples still did not quite understand that Jesus’ kingdom was not of this world. They too were looking for Jesus to take over the government and bring in a new order. They wanted a return of the great kingdom of David.

Luke 19:39 tells us the Pharisees took exception to these chants and rebuked Jesus for allowing the people to say these things.

What do you need Jesus to save you from? Have you welcomed him as a triumphant king? How can you offer him the praise he deserves as your King?

Work (Mark 11:11)

Jesus was ready to go to work. He went right to the temple, but most of the people were gone. It was late. So he went on to Bethany and waited there with his disciples.

Even after being received as a king, Jesus was focused on his purpose. He did not lose track of who he was and what he came to do. The people praised him, and he remained clear about why he was there. The Pharisees ridiculed him, but he remained centered on his objective.

Sometimes people recognize us and shower us with praise; other times they ridicule our efforts and try to tear us down. We can get lost in all of that. How can we remain focused on the work God has for us when others are either praising us or cursing us?

Friends, Jesus is coming again. Let us praise him as King even now!


1 Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1960), 216.

2 Ibid.


*Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, unless otherwise indicated.

April 11: Psalm 55:16-22
April 12: 2 Kings 19:14-19
April 13: Psalm 109:21-31
April 14: Psalm 22:1-8
April 15: 1 Chronicles 16:8-18
April 16: Matthew 21:12-17
April 17: Mark 11:1-11

ABOUT THE LESSON WRITER: Tim Turner is preaching minister with Christ’s Church in Winterville, North Carolina. He has served in various ministries and traveled to missions around the world.

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  1. Minister Frances Robinson
    April 14, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    May God continue to richly bless you. Praise the Lord, for He is good. I have been encouraged by your overview for Sunday’s Lesson. I am a minister with Christ Chapel Ministries in Sacramento, California. Jesus is coming again real soon. We are praising Him for He is King of kings and Lord of lords even now!

  2. April 16, 2011 at 1:50 am

    The weekly review of the Sunday school lesson is very helpful to me. Keep up the good work. God bless you.
    LaVerne Bryant
    April 15, 2011

  3. Vernice Johnson
    April 16, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    The overview of this lesson was clear, concise, and very good. Thank you.

  4. Sonja
    April 17, 2011 at 7:52 am

    I agree, the commentary was easy to understand! Thanks and may God continue to bless you in your ministry. I’m from NC, too!!

  5. Alecia Brown
    April 17, 2011 at 9:42 am

    This overview was one of the best I’ve read. The way it was broken down and dissected was perfect. Its very clear and its easier for me to explain to my students.

  6. Ray Jackson
    April 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I really enjoyed the review of the lesson. In particular, I thought the application questions located at the end of each section will prove to be just as thought provoking and helpful in a group setting as I was blessed personally. Please continue to provide this valuable services.
    God bless and take care,

    April 21, 2011 at 3:28 am

    This lesson is of great help in planning and preparing for our Sunday school class.
    Thank God, and thank you, too

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