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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Mark 11

 

 

Verses 1-11

The Triumphal Entry ( Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-40, John 12:12-19) - Mark 11:1-11 gives us the account of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The importance of this passage is seen in the fact that all four Gospels give a lengthy account of this event in the ministry of Jesus Christ.

Mark 11:3Comments - How could God, who created all things, come down to earth, and claim to have a need? Perhaps part of the answer lies in the fact that when Jesus became a man through divine conception, He laid aside the privileges of His pre-incarnate divinity, humbling Himself by living within the limitations of a man. Within the limitations of His physical body, He lived His life as an example of God's unlimited ability and desire to work in a man's in order to train His disciples how to live by faith in God. In other words, Jesus now showed His disciples their full privileges as children of God, in whom the Holy Spirit would dwell, and although they would have needs, God was always ready to meet that need; yet He chose to fulfill that need through the means that was available to mankind, that Isaiah , through the law of faith.

In the story of Jesus' Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem ( Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-38, John 12:12-19), Jesus demonstrated to His disciples how their needs were to be met as they learned to be led by the Spirit of God, operating in the gifts of the Spirit, and trusting in divine providence and divine provision. Jesus' public ministry was coming to a close, and His departure was at hand. His disciples must learn how to walk as Jesus walked. Thus, Jesus acknowledges a need, then demonstrates to His disciples how God the Father could meet that need.

Mark 11:9-10Comments- Hosanna- The words that the children of Israel are singing in this verse come from Psalm 118:25-26. The English words "save now" (KJV) in Psalm 118:25 are translated from two Hebrew words ( יָשַׁע) (H 3467) and ( נָא) (H 4994), which used together are pronounced "Hosanna."

Psalm 118:25-26, "Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD."

They are rejoicing with this messianic Psalm because the king is about to enter the gates of righteousness in the city of Zion. See:

Psalm 118:19-20, "Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD: This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter."

Mark 11:11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.


Verses 1-44

Jesus in Jerusalem - Mark 11:1 to Mark 12:44 records Jesus' final ministry in Jerusalem as He teaches in the Temple and is tempted by questions from religious leaders in front of the people.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Triumphal Entry — Mark 11:1-11

2. Jesus Curses the Fig Tree — Mark 11:12-14

3. Jesus Cleanses the Temple — Mark 11:15-19

4. Jesus Teaches About the Withered Fig Tree — Mark 11:20-26

5. Jesus Defends His Authority — Mark 11:27-33

6. The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers — Mark 12:1-12

7. The Pharisees and Herodians Tempt Jesus — Mark 12:13-17

8. The Sadducees Tempt Jesus — Mark 12:18-27

9. The Scribes Tempt Jesus — Mark 12:28-34

10. Jesus Teaches the People in the Temple — Mark 12:35-40

11. Jesus Teaches on the Widow's Mites — Mark 12:41-44


Verses 12-14

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree ( Matthew 21:18-19) - In Mark 11:12-14 we have the account of Jesus cursing the fig tree. One observation that can be made in this passage of Scripture is that Jesus did not know that the fig tree was barren until He inspected it. This passage testifies to the fact that when Jesus Christ took upon Himself the form of a man and laid aside certain privileges and restricted Himself to certain human limitations, one of them being His omniscience; that Isaiah , He was not all-knowing while on this earth.

A second observation on this passage is the reason behind Jesus cursing a fig tree that was out of season and therefore, unable to offer figs at this time. There have been times when I went to sleep over something that troubled me, as Jesus did after observing all things in the Temple ( Mark 11:11). I would wake up the next day ready to confront someone and correct the situation, as Jesus apparently was preparing to confront the money changes in the Temple. If it seems that Jesus was too vengeful upon the fig tree, perhaps it was because He had judgment upon Him mind, since He was about to cleanse the Temple.

Mark 11:12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:

Mark 11:13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.

Mark 11:13Comments- E. W. G. Masterman says, "When the young leaves are newly appearing, in April, every fig-tree which is going to bear fruit at all will have some taksh (‘immature figs') upon it, even though ‘the time of figs' ( Mark 11:13 the KJV), i.e. of ordinary edible figs--either early or late crop - ‘was not yet.'" 120]

120] E. W. G. Masterman, "Fig, Fig-tree," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Smith says, "The usual summer crop of fruits is not gathered till May or June; but in the sunny ravines of Olivet fig trees could have ripe fruit some weeks earlier (Thomson), and it was not strange so early as Easter Christ might find the young eatable figs, although it was not the usual season for gathering the fruit." (See "Fig, Fig tree")

We know that Jesus died on the day of the Passover, which was April 7th. Therefore, the leaves of the fig tree were green, but the early fruit was not ripe until June. The second harvest of figs ripens in August.

Mark 11:14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.


Verses 15-19

Jesus Cleanses the Temple ( Matthew 21:12-17, Luke 19:45-48, John 2:13-22) - Mark 11:15-19 gives us the account of Jesus cleansing the Temple. All three Synoptic Gospels record this event at the end of Jesus' earthly ministry while John records it at the beginning ( John 2:13-22). This has caused many scholars to speculate that Jesus cleansed the Temple on two occasions, at the beginning and end of His earthly ministry.

The Chronological Placement of Jesus Cleansing the Temple - Scholars have noted for centuries that the four Evangelists did not record all of the events of Jesus' public ministry in the same order. While the Synoptic Gospels place the cleansing of the Temple by Jesus at the end of His ministry, John puts this event at the beginning of his Gospel. Although scholars today debate as to the original order of this event, it is not a new concern. For example, Isho'dad of Merv (c. A.D 850), the Syriac bishop of Hadatha, comments on the efforts of the apostle John to set in order the events of Jesus' public ministry because the Synoptic Gospels had recorded some events out of chronological order.

"On account of this reason therefore, he [John the apostle] took special care also about the orders and sequences of the things that were done. This none of these Evangelists took care to do; but they wrote many things that were done first after those that were done last; and many things last, that were spoken and done before the former things; so therefore John did not [do this], but took care to put first the things that were at the first, and after them those that were afterwards; and yet in the middle he left many things out, those that had been related by those others." 121]

121] Margaret Dunlop Gibson, ed. and trans, The Commentaries of Isho'dad of Merv Bishop of Hadatha (c 850 A.D.) in Syriac and English, vol 1, in Horae Semiticae, no 5 (Cambridge: The University Press, 1911), 211-212.

In support of this testimony, Eusebius cites Papias (A.D 60-130), bishop of Hierapolis, who stated that Mark did not always put the events of his Gospel in chronological order.

"It is in the following words: ‘This also the presbyter said: Mark , having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not indeed in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord's discourses, so that Mark committed no error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely.' These things are related by Papias concerning Mark." (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 33915)

Mark 11:17"but ye have made it a den of thieves" - Comments - The phrase "den of thieves" means that these money-changers were overcharging the people, who were required by the Law to purchase their Temple sacrifices. It was very likely that the chief priests received kickbacks for allowing these merchants into the Temple.

Mark 11:18 — "My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer" - Comments - The Temple in Jerusalem had an outer court for the Gentiles to assemble and pray (Josephus, War of the Jews 551-2, Antiquities 839).


Verses 20-26

Jesus Teaches a Lesson from the Withered Fig Tree ( Matthew 21:20-22) - In Mark 11:20-26 we have the account of Jesus teaching His disciples a lesson from the withered fig tree. Note in this passage of Scripture how faith and forgiveness go hand in hand (see also Luke 17:3-10). The building of the Panama Canal began as an idea, impossible as it may seem, then a confession of faith and agreement. This was mountain-moving faith in action.

Mark's Gospel gives us a much more extensive description of Jesus teaching His disciples about having faith in God than the other Gospels. This is because Mark's Gospel places more emphasis upon the need to have faith in God to work miracles as the needed signs while preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in His commission to them ( Mark 16:14-18), which is the underlying theme of this Gospel.

The Confession of Our Faith- The Lord taught Kenneth Hagin a tremendous lesson from this passage of Scripture in Mark's Gospel. The Lord showed him that Jesus mentioned the words "saying" three times, while mentioning the word "faith" only once. He then told Hagin that God's people were not missing it in having faith, but rather, in their confession. He then asked Kenneth Hagin to teach three times as much on a believer's confession as on them having faith. 122]

122] Kenneth Hagin, Bible Faith Study Course (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1991, 1999), 71.

Andrew Wommack used this story of Jesus teaching His disciples to speak to the mountain in Mark 11:20-26 to teach believers that God has already healed their bodies according to 1 Peter 2:24, "and by his stripes ye were healed." They just needed to speak this divine Word of God over their bodies and command sickness and disease to leave in Jesus' name. He then gave the illustration of a television signal. This broadcast signal was in the room, but it could not be seen. An unbeliever would say that it was not there because they could not see it; but, if a person turns on their television set, the signal is manifested in the natural. In the same way, we turn healing on in our bodies when we confess what God's Word has already been declared about it. We must simply come in agreement with it. 123]

123] Andrew Wommack, "Sermon" (Kampala, Uganda: Glory of Christ Church), 18 February 2007.

Faith and Patience- In his book I Saw Heaven, Roberts Lairdon quotes a statement that Jesus make to him during his heavenly visitation regarding our faith and confession, "Then He (Jesus) cried harder and said, ‘I do not understand why people say they believe I will do something, but when it does not happen in their time, they begin to doubt my Word. If they will just believe and say with confidence that I will do it, I will do it at the correct time.'" 124]

124] Roberts Lairdon, I Saw Heaven (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Albury Publishing, 1991), 38.

Mark 11:20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.

Mark 11:20Comments- When a tree withers, it normally withers from the outmost branches downward, with the trunk and roots dying last. However, Mark 11:20 describes a situation where the tree is withering from the roots upward. It would be easy for the disciples to justify this fig tree being withered from the limbs downward; but it would have been a unique sight and obvious miracle to observe this tree with withered roots with the limbs still strong.

Mark 11:22Comments- In Mark 11:22 Jesus responses to Peter's observation by telling His disciples to have faith in God. He wanted to teach His disciples that the fig tree withered not because He was the Son of God, but because He had faith in God. This faith in God is the basis of all miracles, which Jesus will refer to in His final commission in Mark 16:15-18 by saying, "These signs shall follow them that believe..."

Mark 11:23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Mark 11:23Comments- In 1 Corinthians 13:2 Paul makes a reference to the gift of faith, "…and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." Jesus makes several references to the great potential of faith in Mark 11:23 and Luke 17:6. He also operated with this gift when He spoke to the storm and it ceased ( Mark 4:39-40), and when He cursed the fig tree ( Mark 11:14); for Jesus used this statement in Mark's Gospel to explain how the fig tree had withered.

Mark 11:23, "For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith."

Luke 17:6, "And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you."

Illustration- One day while praying in tongues for about an hour, I began to pray in English for the understanding ( 1 Corinthians 14:15). Out of my spirit came these words, "There are many mountains that you will have to speak to, and many strongholds that you will have to tear down."

1 Corinthians 14:15, "What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also."

Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Mark 11:24 — "What things soever ye desire" - Comments- We must have a desire before we can pray in faith. It is our desire for change that plants the seeds of faith within our heart. When we are afraid to challenge our circumstances, our faith cannot operate. Thus, fear suppresses our desires, but the Word of God stimulates our desire for change and to reach for what God has promised to us. For example, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside for years begging. This was because he was subject to his circumstances. He had no hope of experiencing change. When he heard that Jesus Christ was passing by, he was moved with great desire to receive a miracle of healing; for he had heard reports of the many miracles that Jesus had performed for others. These words stimulated a desire within his heart and moved him to reach out in faith to receive from God ( Mark 10:46-52).


Verses 27-33

Jesus Defends His Authority to Preach the Gospel and Heal the Sick ( Matthew 21:23-27, Luke 20:1-8) - In Mark 11:27-33 we have the account of Jesus defending His authority to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Mark 11:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/mark-11.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, October 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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