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Mark 11:1. And he began to speak unto them in parables. A series of parables was spoken. Matthew records three; Mark and Luke preserve the principal one only. Comp. the emphatic language of Luke (Luke 20:9): ‘this parable;’ and the words: ‘Hear another parable’(Matthew 21:33). All three accounts show that the parable was spoken in the presence of the people, but directly to the parties who had assailed Him (‘to them’), and ‘against them’ (Mark 11:12).
A pit for the wine-press. A verbal variation from Matthew’s account. See on Matthew 21:33.
On the chronology, see Matthew 21:1-11; this entry took place on Sunday the 10 th of Nisan. The narrative of Mark is the most exact Mark 11:1. Unto Jerusalem. The words ‘to’ and ‘unto’(E. V.) are the same in the original.
And Bethany. So Luke; see note on Matthew 21:1.
Mark 11:2. A colt. Matthew mentions the mother, but Mark and Luke the colt only.
Whereon no man ever yet sat. This agrees with the account that the mother was with it. Animals never yet worked were used for sacred purposes (Numbers 19:2; Deuteronomy 21:3; 1 Samuel 6:7).
Mark 11:3. And straightway he will send, literally, ‘sendeth,’ him again hither. In Matthew the clause corresponding to this is probably a declaration of what the owner, or those objecting would do. Here the word ‘again’ (found in the best authorities) compels us to take it as part of the message, a promise to return the colt soon.
Mark 11:3-5. The description of the maltreatment of the servants differs in all three accounts, showing that no special interpretation is to be given to the different sendings. The actual suffering of the servants is brought out by Mark, the climax being the ‘killing some.’
Him they wounded in the head (Mark 11:4). The servants are represented as not even coming into the vineyard; the first one was stoned at a distance, with the purpose of killing. The gradation is: beating, trying to kill, actually killing.
Mark 11:4. Found the colt. Mark is more detailed here: perhaps Peter was one of those sent (comp. Luke 22:8), where Peter and John are the two sent into the city.
At the door without. Probably the door of the owner’s house.
In the open street, or, ‘lane.’ The E. V. following the Latin Vulgate, paraphrases: ‘in a place where two ways meet.’ The phrase refers first to a way round, i.e., round a block of houses, then to the street of a town (usually winding in the East).
Mark 11:5. And certain of them that stood there . It was done openly. These persons were ‘the owners’(Luke 19:33), probably members of the family of the owner.
Mark 11:6. He had yet one, a beloved son. Mark’s account is more graphic and touching here.
Mark 11:7. Sat upon him. On the colt. Luke and John specify this. See on Matthew 21:7.
Mark 11:8. Killed him, and east him forth out of the vineyard. Matthew and Luke invert the order. This variation is perhaps a caution against interpreting the details of the parable too closely; but see on Matthew 21:39.
Mark 11:9. He will come and destroy. The full answer of the hearers is given by Matthew. Here the substance of the answer is given, not as coming from them, but spoken by our Lord Himself.
Mark 11:10. Blessed is the kingdom of our father David, that cometh! or, ‘the coming kingdom of our father David!’ This form of the Hosannas is preserved by Mark alone. It brings out most clearly the recognition of our Lord as the royal Messiah, who was to restore the throne of David. It is asserted that the Messiah Himself was called ’David’ by the Rabbis. What strange mingling of truth and error in the thoughts and hopes of the multitude that day! And the error was the more fatal, because combined with the truth. See further, on Matthew 21:10-11; Luke 19:37-44.
Mark 11:10-11. See Matthew 21:42, and the thoughts there added in Matthew 21:43-44; comp. Luke 20:17-18; both narratives are fuller at this point.
Mark 11:11. Into Jerusalem into the temple. He passed at once into the temple, and visited no other point. On the temple, see Matthew 21:12. The other details of this verse are peculiar to Mark, and strictly accurate. The afternoon of Sunday seems to have been occupied with this solemn inspection of the temple, as if to take formal possession of it. The night, as well as the succeeding one, was spent in Bethany.
Mark 11:12. And they sought to lay hands on him. The three accounts supplement each other here. The purpose to seize Him is plainly stated in all. Mark shows that it was a continued effort (literally ‘they were seeking’ ); while Luke tells that they would have done so on the spot, had they not been afraid of the people.
For they perceived, etc. Matthew gives the more general reason for this fear: ‘because they held Him as a prophet.’ Their desire to seize Him was increased by this parable, but their fear of the people was also increased, since they ( i.e., the rulers) perceived that he spake the parable against them, and in the presence of the people (Luke 20:9), so that they felt themselves convicted before the people. Conscience made them cowards. On the interpretation, see on Matthew 21:33-46.
Order of Events. On Monday morning the fig tree was cursed (Mark 11:12-14), on the same day the temple cleansed (Mark 11:15-19), the chief-priests murmuring at the children’s Hosannas there (Matthew 21:14-15); on Tuesday morning the fig tree was found to be withered (Mark 11:20) and the subsequent discourse (Mark 11:21-26) delivered on the way to Jerusalem (Mark 11:27), where the whole day was spent. See next section.
Mark 11:13. Afar off, or, ‘from afar.’ Mark presents the appearance of the tree in the distance: having leaves.
If haply. Because it had leaves. This scarcely implies doubt in His mind, since the design was to teach the Apostles a very important lesson.
For it was not the season of figs. The full season had not come, yet the leaves gave promise of fruit. The failure was then in the barrenness of the tree, a fit symbol of the pretentious hypocrisy of the Jewish hierarchy. See on Matthew 21:19.
Mark 11:14. His disciples heard it. Another mark of accuracy, suggesting the report of an eye-witness.
Mark 11:15. And they come to Jerusalem. Still another mark of accuracy. On the cleansing of the temple, see on Matthew 21:12 (John 3:13-17, refers to a distinct occurrence).
Mark 11:16. And he suffered not that any one. Peculiar to Mark. How He stopped this profanation, we do not know.
Should carry a vessel, including utensils, tools, etc.
Through the temple, i.e., the court of the Gentiles, which seems to have been used as a thoroughfare. This practice involved the same sin as the others (Mark 11:15), and expressed the same contempt for the Gentiles.
Mark 11:17. For all the nations. Part of the original prophecy (Isaiah 56:7) and of the quotation also; but the stress cannot be laid upon it, since Matthew and Luke omit it. It shows the independence and accuracy of this Evangelist.
Mark 11:18. Might destroy him. The determination to kill Him had been formed before (see John 11:53). ‘How,’ was now the question. The answer was the treachery of Judas, who probably meditated this step already (from the time of the supper at Bethany on Saturday evening), but first treated with them on the next (Tuesday) evening.
Mark 11:19. Out of the city. To Bethany, as on the evening previous (Mark 11:11). Comp. Matthew 21:17, which also refers to Monday evening.
Mark 11:20. Withered away from the roots. The day before the ‘leaves’ were visible ‘afar off;’ today, Tuesday, the blasting was complete. Our verse does not say when this took place, but when they ‘saw’ it Matthew says that it took place ‘immediately.’
Mark 11:21. Peter. Mark is more definite here than Matthew.
Calling to remembrance. Peter himself probably informed Mark of the circumstance. This minute detail, implying an interval, confirms the view that Mark gives the more exact account
Which thou cursedst. The language of Peter; yet our Lord’s act was a curse, i.e., a judicial word and act of condemnation (see on Matthew 21:19). That it was judicial and just, not passionate and wanton, is evident not only from the character of our Lord, but from the lessons He connects with it Mark, who inserts Peter’s language, which might be misunderstood, alone tells us about forgiving (Mark 11:25).
Mark 11:22. Have faith in God, the object of faith. This miracle was a sign of the condemnation on Israel, and so understood by the Apostles. Still their views on the whole subject were indistinct. Our Lord thus answers a sense of weakness which the Apostles had in view of the glory and strength of the visible temple and its supporters. They are therefore directed to Almighty God as the object of their faith. The words have in themselves the widest application, but the next two verses show that the Apostles were directed to God as the source of power for themselves, spiritual power in the case of all believers, miraculous power in their case, in view of their special mission.
Mark 11:23-24. See on Matthew 21:21-22.
This mountain. Probably pointing to Mount Moriah, where stood the temple, the centre of the Jewish worship and the bulwark of the hypocritical hierarchy.
What he saith cometh to pass. The present tense of certainty.
Therefore Mark 11:24 connects the promise with the faith of miracles (Mark 11:23), and hence the primary application is to the Twelve.
All things. ‘All’ is emphatic.
Pray and ask for. The correct reading is more striking.
Believe that ye have received. The original implies, that when you asked you received, God at once granted your request, so that the answer comes before the fulfilment, which is spoken of as future: ye shall have them, lit., ‘it shall be to you.’
Mark 11:25. When ye stand praying. A common and proper posture in prayer (comp. Luke 18:13).
Forgive if ye have ought against any one. See on Matthew 5:23, where the converse is presented: ‘thy brother hath aught against thee,’ and Matthew 6:14, etc. That such sayings should be repeated almost word for word, is not at all strange. A forgiving temper is necessary for them in working miracles, as well as faith and believing prayer; their faith and the power it wields should never be used in the service of hate. A caution against passing judicial condemnation on the evil and unfruitful, as He had just done, even though their faith should be strong enough, to effect like results (Matthew 21:21; ‘ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree,’ etc.). The best authorities omit Mark 11:26.
Mark 11:27. Again into Jerusalem. Mark is more particular here.
Walking in the temple. ‘As if at home, or in His Father’s house’ (J. A. Alexander); possibly to see if the profanation had been renewed, but according to Matthew: ‘as He was teaching’ (so Luke); so that He seems to have taught as He walked, which was not at all singular. All three classes of the Sanhedrim are mentioned here.
On the time, see on Matthew 21:23-46. The two accounts agree closely, Matthew alone inserts the parable of the two Sons. Comp, also Luke 20:1-8.
Mark 11:28. See on Matthew 21:23. Mark with his fondness for solemn repetitions, adds to the second question: to do these things. This implies the only authority which could justify such acts is one given for this purpose. Their challenge thus becomes even more definite.
Mark 11:30. Answer me. Peculiar to Mark, bringing out yet more decidedly His challenge of their moral competency, to decide as to His authority. The tone is peremptory, implying confidence of victory in this encounter.
Mark 11:31-32. Matthew carries out the reasoning of the rulers; but Mark puts the second part of their pondering in the form of a question: Shall we say, From men? then abruptly answers in His own words (not theirs): they feared the people; for all held John to be a prophet indeed. Luke tells that the fear of being stoned entered into the thoughts of the rulers.
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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Mark 11". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12