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Mark 11:1-12:44 – Jesus Enters Jerusalem as the Son of David and Teaches in the Temple

Summary

Jesus enters Jerusalem to the acclaim of those around him. Next he enters the temple, where he teaches and disputes with various religious authorities who try to entrap him.

Analysis

Jesus sends his disciples ahead to secure a colt for his entry into Jerusalem. The crowds acclaim him, saying, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of our Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!" (11:1-10, with reference to Psalm 118:26 and Zechariah 9:9). Jesus enters the temple, observes, and retreats to Bethany. On his way to the temple a second time he curses a fig tree and arrives at the temple citing the words of the prophets: "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers" (11:17, with reference to Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11). On his way to the temple a third time the disciples observe that the fig tree has withered to its roots, and Jesus teaches them concerning faith and forgiveness (11:12-26).

Arriving in the temple, the chief priests, scribes, and elders question Jesus on his authority. His response recalls the role of John the Baptist, whom they have refused to receive as a messenger of God, and thus Jesus refuses to answer their question (11:27-33). The parable of the vineyard centers on the beloved son, the one whom the owner finally sends (12:1-12). Jesus concludes the parable by citing Psalm 118:22-23: "Have you not read this scripture: 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is amazing in our eyes'?" (12:10-11). Realizing that the parable has been told against them, the leaders seek to arrest Jesus, but fearing the crowd they leave him (12:12).

The religious leaders next seek to entrap Jesus one by one. The Pharisees are first and ask about paying or not paying taxes to the Roman Emperor. Jesus requests a coin to indicate that this belongs to the Emperor, but their lives belong to God (12:13-17). The Sadducees, who do not believe in resurrection, ask Jesus about the resurrection relationship of a woman who has been married to seven brothers: "In the resurrection whose wife will she be?" (12:18-27). A scribe questions Jesus concerning which commandment is first of all. Jesus responds with the call to love God, citing Deuteronomy 6:4, and a second command about loving one's neighbor, citing Leviticus 19:18 (12:28-34). No one dares ask Jesus further questions, so now it is his turn to ask a question of them concerning the identity of David's son: "David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?" (12:35-37). Jesus warns the disciples about the scribes who seek only honor, devour widows' houses, and make a pretense of prayer (12:38-40). Jesus' final temple teaching is to note the widow who gives to the temple treasury only two copper coins (12:41-44), noting that as others contribute out of abundance, she contributes "all she had to live on" (12:44), literally, "her entire life."

Mark 11:1-12:44

Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

11When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2and said to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. 3If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?” just say this, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.” 4They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, 5some of the bystanders said to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’ 6They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. 7Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. 9Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna!
   Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
10   Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

11 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree

12 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14He said to it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard it.

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves; 16and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17He was teaching and saying, ‘Is it not written,
“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations”?
   But you have made it a den of robbers.’
18And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. 19And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples* went out of the city.

The Lesson from the Withered Fig Tree

20 In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21Then Peter remembered and said to him, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.’ 22Jesus answered them, ‘Have* faith in God. 23Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, “Be taken up and thrown into the sea”, and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. 24So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received* it, and it will be yours.

25 ‘Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.’*

Jesus’ Authority Is Questioned

27 Again they came to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him 28and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?’ 29Jesus said to them, ‘I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin? Answer me.’ 31They argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will say, “Why then did you not believe him?” 32But shall we say, “Of human origin”?’—they were afraid of the crowd, for all regarded John as truly a prophet. 33So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.’

The Parable of the Wicked Tenants

12Then he began to speak to them in parables. ‘A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watch-tower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 2When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. 3But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. 5Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed. 6He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” 7But those tenants said to one another, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.” 8So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10Have you not read this scripture:
“The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the cornerstone;*
11 this was the Lord’s doing,
   and it is amazing in our eyes”?’

12 When they realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away.

The Question about Paying Taxes

13 Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said. 14And they came and said to him, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? 15Should we pay them, or should we not?’ But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, ‘Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me see it.’ 16And they brought one. Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ 17Jesus said to them, ‘Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they were utterly amazed at him.

The Question about the Resurrection

18 Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, saying, 19‘Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man* shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. 20There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children; 21and the second married her and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; 22none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died. 23In the resurrection* whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her.’

24 Jesus said to them, ‘Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? 25For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? 27He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.’

The First Commandment

28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, ‘Which commandment is the first of all?’ 29Jesus answered, ‘The first is, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” 31The second is this, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’ 32Then the scribe said to him, ‘You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that “he is one, and besides him there is no other”; 33and “to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength”, and “to love one’s neighbour as oneself”,—this is much more important than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.’ 34When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ After that no one dared to ask him any question.

The Question about David’s Son

35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, ‘How can the scribes say that the Messiah* is the son of David? 36David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared,
“The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand,
   until I put your enemies under your feet.’
37David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?’ And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.

Jesus Denounces the Scribes

38 As he taught, he said, ‘Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the market-places, 39and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets! 40They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.’

The Widow’s Offering

41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.’

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10 February 2011

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