BIBLE: Mark Chapter 11 – Headline “The Author of Authority”

Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.

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Mark 11

The Triumphal Entry

On the same day that Jesus’ rode into Jerusalem, the priests were in the process of selecting a lamb without spot or blemish for sacrifice on Passover. Jesus was the Passover Lamb, about to be inspected for spot or blemish in His teachings for the same three days which the Passover lamb was inspected. Jesus and the lamb were both “slaughtered” on the same day.

The same day the lamb was slaughtered, Jesus was in the Roman Praetorian under accusation prior to His crucifixion. The High Priest and his father in law refuse to go in because it would make them “unclean” for Passover. Little did they know God’s Passover Lamb was in the Praetorian.

Mark 11:Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage (Bethsphage) and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples;
  • Jesus stayed in Bethany as he prepared for His triumphal entry which was a sabbath’s day journey to Jerusalem, the legal amount of steps which could be taken under the law. Jesus will enter into Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate which faces the Mount of Olives. When Jesus returns to earth, He will once again enter through the Eastern Gate and enter the temple to the Inner Sanctuary as our High Priest.
Mark 11:and He said to them, “Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it.
  • A donkey is a burden bearer.  Jesus is about to carry the burdens (sins) of the world, being as lowly as the donkey colt.
  • This is a prophetic event from the book of Zechariah:
    Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
    Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
    Behold, your king is coming to you;
    righteous and having salvation is he,
    humble and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)
  • In ancient times, no one rode through the gate of the city except a conquering King.  All others, no matter their status, dismounted and walked through the gate.  The fact that Jesus rode, was proclaiming His Kingship for all to see. 
  • Also, the palms and branches in the pathway were also used in ancient times to accept and honor a conquering king.
  • The Nabonidus Chronicle is a rework of history from the Persian court purporting to be a text from Nabonidus. Its first part relates events that can be verified from other sources; however, the latter part, particularity when dealing with the seventeenth year of Nabonidus, is especially flattering of Cyrus, with the people of Babylon welcoming him by spreading green twigs before him.
  • Pritchard, ed., James B. (1969). Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (3rd ed.). Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. p. 306b.
  • “The Persian Army conquered the outlying areas of the city’s interior while a majority of Babylonians at the city center were oblivious to the breach. When the upper city gates were opened, General Gubaru’s troops poured into the city without any resistance from the Babylonian army. On October 29th 539 BC history would have its most peaceful military conquest of a major imperial city. Cyrus himself did not actually enter the gates of the city for over a month. On November 9, 539 BC, he rode through the Ishtar Gate (see map) while the masses of the city layered a pathway of green twigs welcoming him with their sign of peace and honor, acknowledgment and acceptance that he is king.”
Mark 11:And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it,’ and immediately he will send it here.”
Mark 11:So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it.
Mark 11:But some of those who stood there said to them, “What are you doing, loosing the colt?”
Mark 11:And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go.
Mark 11:Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it.
Mark 11:And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
Mark 11:Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Mark 11:10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David
That comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!”
  • The word “Hosanna” in Hebrew means “Save us from our enemies.”
Mark 11:11 And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.

The Fig Tree Withered

Mark 11:12 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry.
Mark 11:13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
  • Jesus had to go out of his way to go to the fig tree seeing that he saw it from afar. It had leaves on it (people of Israel), but there was no fruit. In the Old Testament, throughout scripture, The Jews and the nation Israel are associated with Figs and the Fig tree.
Mark 11:14 In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.”
  • He who created the fig tree was hungry for the fruit, but the fig tree did not have figs for its creator.
And His disciples heard it.

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Mark 11:15 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
Mark 11:16 And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple.
Mark 11:17 Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”
Mark 11:18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching.
  • The scribes and chief priests were the ones making all the money from it.
Mark 11:19 When evening had come, He went out of the city.

The Lesson of the Withered Fig Tree

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

Since the fig tree was dried up, Jesus cursed it, because it meant the nation, the Jews, which bore no fruit, would reject Him. Therefore; He knew He would have to be crucified.

  • Mark 9:31 For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.” (Jesus calls Himself “The Son of Man”)
  • John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
  • Matthew 26:2 “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”

Note: they did not know the time of their visitation. The fig tree was “out of season”.

Jesus is the root (vine, branch) of Israel.
Without Him, the nation and people are dead from the roots up.

  • Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
  • Revelation 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
  • John 15:2 Every branch in Me (Jesus) that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
  • John 15:4-6 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
  • Ezekiel 15:6 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so I will give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
  • Matthew 21:38 But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’
Mark 11:21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”
  • The fig tree is withered away. The nation Israel also is doomed to be withered away, Titus will destroy the temple and take the Jews captive.
  • They will also wither away a the second time when the Antichrist rules in Jerusalem. He has a withered arm and a blind eye.
  • Zechariah 11:17 “Woe to the worthless shepherd (the Antichrist), Who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm and against his right eye; His arm shall completely wither, and his right eye shall be totally blinded.”
  • There will come a time in the future when Israel will once again bear fruit. When it is in “season”.
  • If Israel is dried up, then God graphed in a branch that will bear fruit: that is, the bride of Christ which is mainly Gentile with Jewish exceptions.
    • Romans 11:25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

Below, Paul is addressing this concept except he uses the olive tree instead of a fig tree. If figs are the Jews, olives are the Holy Spirit given to the gentile church during the age of grace. In this sense the Fig Tree is the Jews with gentile exceptions and the Olive Tree is the gentiles with Jewish exceptions.

  • Romans 11:17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree (gentiles), were grafted in among them (Jews), and with them became a partaker of the root (Jesus) and fatness of the olive tree,
  • Romans 11:19 You (gentiles) will say then, “(Jewish) Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.”
  • Romans 11:23 And they (the Jews) also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

Since the fig tree was not in season for bearing fruit, the nation is cursed and destined to go through the seven year tribulation until each and every one of the remnant are believers in the identity of Jesus as their Messiah.

For the concept of God’s relationship with the Jews, in the old testament He calls them His wife. He bestowed His blessings on them, enriched them, and they used those blessings with other “lovers” and they committed “adultery” with other nations and idol worship. Israel was God’s old testament “wife”. God’s old testament “wife” is the fig tree.

God’s relationship with the new testament’s bride of Christ figuratively means that God has two wives. The new testament church is the olive tree.

For more on this concept read Jacob’s Two Wives:
Topic: Jacob’s Two Wives

Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.
Mark 11:23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
  • A mountain is symbolic of a nation or empire in scripture.
  • Symbolically Israel which will be cast into the sea of the gentile peoples; a Jewish dispersion which continued until 1948 when Israel once again became a nation.
  • At Jesus’ return: Zechariah 12:10 [Mourning for the Pierced One] “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

Note: Whom they pierced. Their ancestors pierced Jesus on the cross.

  • At  Jesus’ second advent, the fig tree will be “in season” during the millennium, the thousand year reign of Jesus.
    • Isaiah 35:2-4 It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, The excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, The excellency of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”
Mark 11:24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

Forgiveness and Prayer

Mark 11:25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
  • How I learned to forgive everyone for offenses real or unreal. ~Barbara Grover

    It happened on a day when God adjusted a mental tweek in my brain. Instead of viewing people as good vs bad, I began seeing everyone as bad vs bad, including me. If we are all bad, then I am as bad as the people who had hurt me. I had hurt others as much as they had hurt me. I never meant to…and it hurt to look in the mirror and realize how many lies Satan had told me about the motivations of others. Not to say that human motives aren’t always good.

    I looked at my myself, my daughter, my husband, my brother, my friends, my peers and realized….we are all very, very needy. We all hurt. The greedy need money, the powerful need control, the comic needs attention, etc. We all need love. That is what Satan did to us; He made us needy.

    I couldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t forgive others. No more punishing others for their neediness. Instead, find what they need and give it to them. Fill their souls with dignity by giving smiles, kind words and actions.

    That is how I learned to forgive and love.
Mark 11:26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Jesus’ Authority Questioned

  • In the following litany of verses, Jesus’ authority is questioned. This continued for three days as He taught in the temple. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem the priests had selected a lamb for the slaughter of Passover. As the authorities examined the selected lamb for blemishes or spots, they were also questioning Jesus, looking for blemishes or spots in his teachings without realizing He was the Father’s Lamb of God.
    • John the baptizer declared at the Sea of Galilee: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
    • Jesus will be crucified on Passover day when the selected lamb is slaughtered.
    • Jesus is God’s selected Lamb in whom there is no sin, no spot, and no blemish.
  • Jesus’ crucifixion week as shown by the Roman calendar:
Mark 11:27 Then they came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to Him.
Mark 11:28 And they said to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority to do these things?”
Mark 11:29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things:
Mark 11:30 The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men? Answer Me.”
Mark 11:31 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’
Mark 11:32 But if we say, ‘From men’ ”—they feared the people, for all counted John to have been a prophet indeed.
Mark 11:33 So they answered and said to Jesus, “We do not know.”
And Jesus answered and said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
  • What authority does Jesus have?
    • Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
    • Mark 1:27 Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”
    • John 17:2 As You have given Him (The Son of Man, Jesus who is speaking) authority over all flesh, that He (Jesus) should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.
    • Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
    • Colossians 2:15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
  • Summary: Jesus has authority in life over death, authority over nature, all flesh, unclean spirits, diseases, and authority itself.

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