Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve. Mark 11, verse 11.
In some ways, this verse seems to conflict with accounts from the other Gospels. Matthew 21 goes from Jesus’ entry into the city right to clearing the Temple. Luke 19 does much the same thing, giving insight into some of what Jesus said. And John 12 doesn’t say anything about it at all. Which is it? Maybe the question ought to be “why do you think that matters?” If you look at the timeline of events, what’s said in Mark 11 doesn’t directly contradict Matthew 21 or Luke 19. If anything, Mark 11 verse 11 adds more insight into that timeline.
So last night I was driving through St Paul, on my way home from a Whole Foods (“Whole Paycheck”) market where I bought some organic honey. As I was driving I went by Macalester College, which is my Dad’s alma mater. In the early 1960s my Dad went to Macalester (on the GI Bill) while my mom worked at a hospital. They used to live in that area of town, known then as “Mactown.” In Mactown I saw a place called O’Gara’s Restaurant. Neon on the sign out front said it has been open since 1941, and I thought about stopping in to have a quick drink; I may still. I wanted to go in because it’s an old-looking place that may look very similar to how it did during the time, 50 years ago, when my young parents were likely some of its patrons. But it was getting late and I had been up since 0230, so instead of stopping in for a cold one I drove back to my hotel.
“But since it was already late” applied to me just as much last night as it did to Jesus 2000 years ago. Instead of getting wrapped around the axle of (what to me are) unimportant details, I like the verse today because it paints Jesus in a very human picture. I’m sure He intended to go to the Temple as soon as He arrived in the city, but acknowledging that it was getting late in the day, instead, He went out to the suburbs to stay with His friends.
Jesus being conscious of time; Jesus going someplace; Jesus being constrained by events of the day; Jesus spending time with His friends: these are all very human behaviors. I’m awestruck by the grandeur of God’s grace given freely through this man who is His Son, and I’m so aware that only He could rescue me from my sins. Yet I’m occasionally comforted by the human side of my Savior. He was fully God and fully man at the same time, something I lose sight of because I know He is God. Jesus felt the night breeze on His skin. He knew hunger, and feeling sleepy, and the respect one must have when living by another’s schedule. I live my life like that, and I find it comforting to know that Jesus did too. Yes, it’s important to know about the fidelity and veracity of Scripture as a whole, but I find it much more loving that my God would also paint Himself in a picture that I can appreciate because it could be one in my life as well.
Lord, thank You for living as both man and God. I love you for both sides of Your nature.
Read Mark 11, verses 12-25.