Then Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. (Mark 11.11)
Matthew says that when Jesus entered into the city the place was in turmoil (Matthew 21.10) with people asking ‘Who is this?’ Mark’s account feels a great deal calmer, as though somehow the crowds and the commotion had died away after that triumphal entry and he was able to wander around unnoticed. It had been a momentous day and though he was not left alone Jesus knew that it wouldn’t be long before the authorities reacted and he would be arrested. It was not as though he had arrived quietly what with the donkey and the palms and the singing crowd accompanying him. But whilst people made comments as they approached the city, telling him to shut the crowds up, yet now everyone had disappeared and he was left with the twelve.
He had friends in Bethany and he knew that he could stay with them. It was the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. The hospitality would be good and the conversation and he could relax, for a short while. Ironically, it meant retracing his steps, back to the Mount of Olives and over the other side to not far from where this morning began. But that was the only way of getting there. So gathering his friends he set off, back out of the city and to a place where he would be welcome.
And I hope each of us has some where we feel relaxed and welcome. Our prayers are with those who do not.
Keep watch, dear Lord,
with those who wake, or watch, or weep this night,
and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick,
give rest to the weary,
sustain the dying,
calm the suffering,
and pity the distressed;
all for your love’s sake, O Christ our Redeemer.