Mark 11

Greetings!  This reading is Mark 11.

Mark 11 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’” They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!” Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

When Jesus rode in on a donkey it fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9.  Of course, this could have been a self-fulfilling prophecy as Jesus could have used some of the prophecies as a sort of script to follow.  Yet most of the predictions from the Old Testament about how He would be born, live, suffer, die and be resurrected could not have been controlled by him if He were faking it. 

Some people point to the irony that crowds praised him here (“Hosanna in the highest!”) and later yelled “crucify him!,” but I am not certain that these were the same people.  Perhaps some were in both places, but not all.  Still, not many people stuck around to defend him when he was being flogged and crucified. 

The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: “‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’ The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. When evening came, they went out of the city.

This is an example of Jesus’ righteous anger.  Anger is not always a sin.  Vendors were taking advantage of those who had to convert their money or to buy animals to be sacrificed at the temple.  Note that Jesus said it was to be a house of prayer “for all nations,” not just for Jewish people. 

In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

Jesus taught here about how to pray.  We need to pray for God’s kingdom to be fulfilled (He won’t answer prayers that aren’t for the long-term good of his kingdom or for us).  We should pray with confidence.  We need to forgive others to cleanse our hearts. 

They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?” Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me!” They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men’….” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.) So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

Here is another trap the Pharisees set for Jesus.  If He said his authority was from God, they would accuse him of blasphemy (irreverence towards or cursing of God) and if He said it was from himself they would say he was crazy.  They wanted to trick him, but as usual He asked them questions back and turned the tables.  He wasn’t bashful about explaining who He was, but it was part of his plan to expose certain things at certain times. 

Reflect on what stood out to you in this reading and share your comments and questions if you like.

The next reading is Mark 12.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: