Lectionary Calendar
Monday, July 15th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
Take your personal ministry to the Next Level by helping StudyLight build churches and supporting pastors in Uganda.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
Mark 11

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verses 1-11

Mar 11:1-11

Commentary On Mark 11:1-11

J.W. McGarvey

Public Entry into Jerusalem, Mark 11:1-11. (Matthew 21:1-11; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19)

1. unto Bethphage.—These words are rejected from the text by a few of the critics, but by reference to the critics the reader can see that the grounds for their rejection are but slight; and they are of undisputed genuineness in the parallel verse of Luke. (On the locality, see note, Matthew 12:1.)

2. a colt tied.—Matthew says, "an ass tied and a colt with her." According to both accounts, it was the colt that was ridden (7; comp. Matthew 21:5); so Mark, pursuing his characteristic method of singling out the one most important person or object in a group, mentions the colt and says nothing of the dam. (For other examples of this method, compare Mark 11:2 with Matthew 8:28; Mat 7:31, 32 with Matthew 15:29-30; Mat 10:46 with Matthew 20:30; Matthew 11:21 with Matthew 21:20; Matthew 12:2 with Matthew 21:34; Matthew 13:1-2 with Matthew 24:31,.)

5, 6. What do ye;—Here Mark gives an incident which is omitted by the other writers. He states that the inquiry, "Why do ye this?" which was anticipated and provided for by the Savior (3), was actually made when the disciples were untying the colt, and that when the inquirers were told, "The Lord hath need of him," "they let them go." This was another display of foreknowledge, showing that Jesus knew where the animals would be found, and what would be the mind and word of their owner.

10. Blessed be the kingdom.—This exclamation of the people shows that they expected Jesus to immediately set up the kingdom of David, and to assume the throne which had been vacant from the time of the Babylonish captivity. Luke, indeed, states it as a fact in connection with his departure from Jericho on this journey to Jerusalem, that the multitude who followed him "thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear." (Luke 19:11.) It was the exulting thought of national independence and glory that inspired their acclamations; and the same feeling prepared them for the reverse of feeling toward Jesus, which occurred when they found him a prisoner in the hands of Pontius Pilate.

For other remarks on the public entry, see the parallel in Matthew.

11. went out unto Bethany.—Matthew proceeds at this point of the narrative to speak of the clearing of the temple, which actually occurred the next day (Matthew 21:11-12; comp. Mark 11:12; Mark 11:15); but Mark, more observant of chronology, represents Jesus as merely "looking round about on all things," and retiring at "eventide" to Bethany. We learn from Luke that he continued to make Bethany his lodging-place until the night of the Last Supper. (Luke 21:37-38.)

Verses 12-14

Mar 11:12-14

Commentary On Mark 11:12-14

J.W. McGarvey

The Barren Fig-tree Cursed, Mark 11:12-14 (Matthew 21:17-22)

13. the time of figs was not yet.—The fact that it was not yet fig-time made it the worse for this tree. On this kind of fig-tree the fruit forms before the leaves, and should be full grown when the leaves appear: so this tree, by putting on its foliage before the time for figs, was proclaiming itself superior to all the other fig-trees. This made it a striking symbol of the hypocrite, who, not content with appearing to be as good as other people, usually puts on the appearance of being a great deal better. (Comp. the note on Matthew 21:19.)

14. his disciples heard it.—The fig-tree being "afar off" (Mark 11:13), and Jesus having gone alone to see if there was fruit on it, it was well here to note the fact that the disciples heard what he said to the tree. He intentionally spoke loud enough for them to hear him, because he wished to teach them a lesson. For the result, see Mark 11:20-26 comments.

Verses 15-19

Mar 11:15-19

Commentary On Mark 11:15-19

J.W. McGarvey

The Temple Cleared, Mark 11:15-19. (Matthew 21:12-16; Luke 19:45-48)

15. began to cast out.—On this verse, and the seventeenth, see Matthew 21:12-13.

16. any vessel through the temple.—This statement is peculiar to Mark. The practice referred to is doubtless that of making the temple court a pass-way in carrying burdens from one part of the city to another. Persons might pass through the temple to save the inconvenience of going around, and thus disregard the exclusively sacred uses for which the temple was erected.

18. how they might destroy him.—The scribes and the chief priests who now sought to destroy him, were responsible for the corrupt teaching which had resulted in the desecration of the temple court, and therefore they were severely rebuked by the Savior’s expulsion of the traders, and by his remark that they had made his Father’s house a den of thieves. This was the beginning of that final conflict which led to his condemnation and death.

for they feared him.—This is given, not as the reason why they desired to destroy him, but as the reason why, instead of destroying him at once, they sought how they might destroy him: and the difficulty which lay in their way is the one stated in the next clause of the sentence, "all the people was astonished at his teaching." His teaching was so new, so divine, and so amply supported by miraculous demonstrations, that the people received it with applause.

Verses 20-26

Mar 11:20-26

Commentary On Mark 11:20-26

J.W. McGarvey

The Fig-tree Found Withered, Mark 11:20-26. (Matthew 21:20-22)

20. in the morning.—Matthew, choosing to finish the account of the fig-tree while he had it in hand, follows the statement of the curse with the remark, "And presently (παραχρμα, immediately) the fig-tree withered away;" by which we understand that it began to wither immediately. Mark, preferring the chronological order here to the order of association, and designing to give more prominence to the incident, states that it was the next morning, as they returned toward the city, that they found the tree withered. In leaving the city the evening before, they had probably gone by a different path and had not noticed the tree. Now they find it "dried up from the roots;" the withering which began when the curse was pronounced having extended to the roots.

21. Peter calling to remembrance.—Here we learn that it was Peter who made the remark attributed by Matthew to the disciples as a body (Matthew 21:20), "Master, behold the fig-tree which thou cursedst is withered away." The briefer expression employed by Matthew, "How soon is the fig-tree withered away," is the same in meaning, though not in word.

23. shall believe that those things.—Here we see what the faith was by which miracles were wrought. It is not merely faith in God or in Christ, but belief, when a mountain is commanded to move, or any other miracle is commanded, "that those things which he saith shall come to pass." Of course, no one could rationally believe this who was not possessed of miraculous gifts; but a man might have these gifts and fail to make them effective for want of this faith. (See, for examples, Matthew 14:30-31; Matthew 17:19-20.)

24. believe that ye receive.—In the original, according to the corrected text which is here supported by authority so high as to place it almost beyond the reach of doubt, the verb "receive" is not in the Present tense, but in the Aorist, and it is translated in the brackets "have received." It is an instance, however, of a peculiar use of the Aorist, which is represented in English by the Present tense. Mr. Green states that the Aorist is occasionally used in the New Testament "when a circumstance which is to issue as a matter of general certainty, is represented as an issue in fact" (N. T. Grammar, p. 136), and he cites the following passages: John 15:6, rendered in the common version, "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered," where "cast forth" and "withered" are in the Aorist; and John 16:8, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit;" where "glorified" and "bear" are in the Aorist. That the instance before us is one of the same class is seen by the fact that the ordinary rendering of the Aorist here involves the sentence in an absurdity. It makes Jesus say, "Believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them." The real idea is, believe that it is a matter of general certainty to receive them, and you shall have them. The passage declares concerning prayer the same necessity for faith that is declared by Mark 11:23 in reference to miracle working. (Comp. James 1:6-7. Other instances of the use of the Aorist for the Present are found in James 1:11, and 1 Peter 1:24.)

25. when ye stand praying.—This expression shows that it was usual for the disciples to pray standing. Kneeling and prostration were and are more devout postures, and should be preferred when circumstances do not forbid; but standing is here recognized by Jesus as a suitable posture, and it is therefore not to be despised. Whether a worshiping assembly should habitually stand or kneel must be determined by each for itself in the light of surrounding circumstances; but it should be remembered, that while standing and kneeling are both marks of respect in the presence of a superior, sitting is not; and consequently, sitting in prayer betrays a want of reverence.

forgive.—On the necessity of forgiving in order to forgiveness, see the note. Matthew 6:14-15. The logical connection of this precept with its context is somewhat obscure, but it seems to be this: The disciples had seen Jesus curse and blast the fig-tree, and they doubtless understood the significance of the act. They might, from this example, when they encountered the hypocrites represented by the fig-tree, be encouraged to curse them in a similar manner; but they are guarded against this by the precept, "When ye stand praying, forgive if ye have ought against any." Instead of praying for a curse on them, pray God to forgive them, and do so yourself.

Verses 27-33

Mar 11:27-33

Commentary On Mark 11:27-33

J.W. McGarvey

His Authority Demanded, Mark 11:27-33. (Matthew 21:23-32; Luke 20:1-8)

Mark’s report of this conversation is almost identical with Matthew’s, and the reader is referred to the parallel in Matthew for comments.

Questions by E.M. Zerr For Mark Chapter Eleven

1. To what village did they come?

2. This was near what city?

3. And near what noted mount?

4. To where did he send two of his disciples ?

5. On what errand were they sent?

6. Would he be saddled ?

7. What explanation were they to give the owner ?

8. Did all things happen as expected ?

9. What was put on the colt when they returned ?

10. On what did Jesus sit?

11. In what way was Jesus shown respect on the way?

12. What expressions of acclaim were shouted?

13. What kingdom did they acknowledge?

14. Into what building did Jesus enter?

15. What caused him to depart from here?

16. To what place did he go?

17. Returning next morning what was seen?

18. What was on it ?

19. What should have been on it?

20. Was it the season for this fruit?

21. How should it have been expected in this case?

22. What did Jesus do to the tree?

23. On arrival at Jerusalem where did Jesus go ?

24. State the conditions he found there.

25. What occasioned this condition?

26. Tell what Jesus did.

27. What did he quote?

28. Of what did he accuse them ?

29. Who were arroused by this deed of his ?

30. Why did they fear Jesus?

31. Where was the night passed?

32. Passing by next day what was noticed?

33. Who called attention to it?

34. This called forth speech on what subject?

35. How much could be accomplished by it?

36. But what might prevent it?

37. Tell what must he included in their prayer.

38. What will this obtain from the Father?

39. To whom will God refuse forgiveness ?

40. Again where did he appear?

41. Who came to him?

42. State their question.

43. To what did they refer?

44. Was it answered directly?

45. To what ordinance did he refer?

46. Why not say “from heaven”?

47. Then why not “of men”?

48. In what regard did the people hold John?

49. How did they reply to Jesus?

50. This brought what statement from him?

Mark Chapter Eleven

By Ralph L. Starling

When they reached Bethany at Mt. Olives

He sent for a colt that was solid.

They found one that had never been ridden

And brought it to Jesus as they were bidden.

They spread their garments on the colt,

Though it had never been ridden, it didn’t bolt.

Jesus rode while people with branches paved the way

Singing, “Hosann, He comes in the Lord’s name.”

He entered the Temple and looked all around.

He was satisfied with what He had found.

He returned to Bethany in a little haste,

For it was even-tide, and getting late.

Back to Jerusalem and again to the Temple.

What He saw would make anyone whimper.

There were money-changers like you wouldn’t believe.

He cried out, “This house of prayer is a den of thieves.”

The next morning as the passed by the way

They saw the fig tree they had watched wither away.

They remembered what Jesus had said about faith.

“With enough faith a mountain could be moved out of it’s place.”

Again, the leaders challenged His authority.

“If you know about John the Baptist, don’t bother me.”

They replied, “About John we cannot tell.”

“Then you have no right to insist that I tell!”

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Mark 11". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/mark-11.html.
Ads FreeProfile