Reading Schedule and Intro
Today’s Bible Reading is Mark 11-13
Friday, Feb. 17: Mark 14-16
Next week we will go back to Numbers and spend four weeks completing Numbers and Deuteronomy, and thus the entire Torah, or Law of Moses. Don’t bail out! You may not realize it yet, but Numbers and Deuteronomy are two of the most exciting books in the whole Bible.
The overall year’s plan is here.
My commentaries are sometimes long. The Bible is the priority. Read it first, and my commentaries are carefully sectioned so you can find the passage you may want help on. Please use the comment section of my blog if I missed something or you have something to add!
Mark 11:1-11: The Triumphal Entry
Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, and the people lay coats and palms on the road for him, announcing that he is the son of David, coming in the name of the Lord.
He won’t get such glorious reception a few days later as he is led out of Jerusalem.
Mark 11:12-14: Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
The purpose of cursing the fig tree is to illustrate that it is not enough to appear to bear fruit. A real attachment to God produces real fruit.
Mark 11:15-18: Driving the Money Changers from the Temple
Jesus was very angry with those who turned the worship of God into commerce, and he drove the money changers out of the temple with whips.
Mark 11:19-26: The Lesson of the Fig Tree
Jesus and his disciples were returning to Bethany each night after spending the day in Jerusalem at the feast. In the morning, they noticed that the fig tree that Jesus had cursed was withered up. He gives them a very large promise:
"Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you." (v. 22-24, NASB)
He then adds that as we pray, we must forgive those who have sinned against us or our Father will not forgive us, either.
Even with this addition, Jesus makes it clear that remarkable things can be done by those with faith.
Faith, however, is a gift of God (1 Cor. 13:2), and it does not grow by our wishful longing to have more faith. It grows by hearing the Word of God and living obedient to it (Rom. 10:17; Luke 17:5-10).
Mark 11:27-33: The Pharisees Confront Jesus
As I’ve pointed out, Jesus’ mind is set on his death and resurrection at this point. Taking on Jesus verbally is to take on the Lion of God who is not holding anything back.
Not only does Jesus effectively answer the Pharisees’ challenge, but notice the end of Jesus’ answer. The Pharisees say they don’t know the answer to Jesus’ question, but Jesus makes it clear that they are really refusing to answer his question: "Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things" (v. 33, NASB).
Mark 12:1-12: The Kingdom of God Taken from the Jews
Once again we have the parable of the vinedressers. Not many people today realize what an important parable this is. This is Jesus statement that the kingdom of God is being taken away from the Jews and their leaders, and it is being given to a new nation, one composed of Jews and Gentiles alike, who’s one uniting factor is the faith of Abraham. Whomever believes now has access to the kingdom of God.
The idea of the Gentiles being fellow-heirs of the kingdom of God is called a great mystery (Eph. 3:3-6), but it is discussed repeatedly throughout Paul’s letters.
Before Jesus died, there was an emphasis on his ministry to the lost sheep of Israel. After he died—that is, after the vineyard workers put the Son to death—the vineyard is given to other more worthy. It is at Jesus’ death that Israel stops being the blessing to the world, and the Gospel, preached to all the world, becomes the blessing and all people are allowed to press into the kingdom of God.
Still not realizing whom they are up against, the Pharisees, Herodians, and scribes take him on more openly, and they are trounced openly. It’s not wise to debate the Word of God himself.
After the hostile scribes, a scribe shows up with an honest discussion with Jesus, and Jesus is very open with him. "You are not far from the kingdom of God," Jesus tells him.
I like to think that the only thing in the way for that scribe is that he needs to move from being an approver of Jesus’ teachings to being a learner of Jesus’ teachings.
Mark 12:35-37: David’s Son and David’s Lord Alike
This comes up in all the Gospels, and it inspires the people and silences the Pharisees. I have to admit that I don’t think I understand all of what Jesus is saying here. I do know that Jesus is the Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father before the beginning, and that he is also humanly born through Mary, thus truly being the son of David. Nonetheless, I think there’s more to be learned here.
Mark 12:38-40: Beware of the Scribes
Mark is shorter than Matthew. Matthew’s huge and scathing chapter 23 is reduced to these three verses.
Mark 12:41-44: The Widow’s Mite
Jesus takes advantage of a real situation to teach us about giving. This widow gave till it hurt, a real act of trust in God and of love toward the recipient of her gift. He calls her gift greater than anyone put into the treasury.
This is Mark’s equivalent of Matthew 24. Like Matthew 24, much of it can be clearly seen to have been fulfilled in A.D. 70, when the Roman General Titus destroyed Jerusalem and tore the temple into rubble.
Other parts seem clearly to be future.
As I’ve pointed out, dual prophecy is common in Scripture.
Prophecy can serve many purposes. One purpose of this prophecy is that the Christians listened to Jesus, and when they saw Jerusalem surrounded and under attack by the Romans in A.D. 70, they fled without waiting, and all of them survived.
One other purpose is stated by Jesus himself at the end of Mark 13. We don’t know when these things are coming, so we are to be busy with our Father’s business, not becoming lazy, not mistreating our fellow servants, but doing those things which he has called us to do.