Monday, Feb. 13, 2023 – Mark 11:1-25

Your purpose determines your path.

This is true no matter who you are or what you believe. The decisions you make about how and where to spend your time are ultimately a reflection of the overarching purpose in your life. If you want to run a marathon, you’ll exercise daily, eat right, and train. If you want to be a doctor, you’ll study hard, go to class, and do everything you can to get to med school. If you’re seeking to rescue a lost people and usher in the Kingdom of God, you won’t behave like an ordinary king—and that—is the story of Jesus.

In Mark 11:1-25, Jesus comes riding into the capital city of Jerusalem on a donkey. Not a white horse leading chariots and an army as the Jews were used to seeing from their Roman oppressors. Instead, Jesus comes in the form of a servant, in humility. Regardless, the crowds still chant “Hosanna!,” meaning “save!” If Jesus had been another Roman general or king from Israel’s past, the next week would have looked a lot different for him. But his purpose determined his path. Jesus later told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world.” In other words, “I have a purpose that you’ve completely misunderstood."

The Jews got it partially right that day. They (and all of us) needed saving. But it wasn’t just from the temporary Roman oppression. It was from an enemy far more powerful and longer-lasting: our sin and death. That is the greater purpose for which Jesus came. His purpose determined his path. This is why after the entrance to Jerusalem he then enters the temple and clears it out of those who would seek to swindle and cheat the least and lost among them. This is why a few days later he was betrayed, arrested, crucified, and later rose again.

Just like the crowds that day on what has become known as Palm Sunday, we often want the benefits of Jesus without the need to follow him. We want the gifts without surrendering to the giver. Because many of the same crowds that cheered him on Sunday mocked him and yelled “crucify him!” on Friday. Yet for Jesus, the whisper of heaven was stronger than the roar of the crowd. May we too, with Jesus, cry out, “God not my will, but yours be done.”

Questions for reflection:

  1. Why do you think Jesus was so misunderstood, even when he lived and worked among his own people?
  2. If “your purpose determines your path,” then based on your daily choices, what is your purpose these days? What is the larger purpose that guides your life?