Mark Part XLVIII - Hosanna in the Highest (11:1-11)
History has been full of symbolic actions. A symbolic action is an action performed not for the sake of the action itself but to communicate some greater message. So to put one’s heart over one’s hand is a relatively minor gesture in and of itself. Combine it, however, with the recitation of a pledge of allegiance to the United States and the action becomes symbolic of some deeper meaning.
Consider, for example, the famous promise of General Douglas MacArthur after his flight from the Philippines with the outbreak of WWII. MacArthur assured his enemies, the American public, and the captured POW’s, “I came through and I shall return.” On Oct 20, 1944 then when MacArthur landed on the beach of Leyte Island in the Philippines, the significance of his traipse through the water up the beach was not lost on friend or foe – he had fulfilled his promise and would fulfill it to the end. Sometimes actions have a greater meaning than the action itself. These actions are called symbolic actions.
Today we read of a symbolic action in the life of our Lord. Hopefully as we study this text we will come to understand the significance of Jesus’ symbolic action. Jesus is building on a history of promises in the Old Testament that God would eventually rescue His people from exile. Jesus’ action announces to those with eyes to see that this moment has arrived. The long awaited arrival of the Son of David has come.
Stuart Bryan is the pastor of Trinity Church. He and his wife, Paige, have seven children, four homegrown, two adopted from the lovely land of Guatemala, and one adopted from Ukraine. Stuart earned his B.A. in Religion from Whitworth College and his M.A. in Theological and Historical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.