As the shortest of the four gospels found in the New Testament, Mark is a simple yet action-packed gospel. Mark writes with a sense of urgency. A sense of imminence. A sense of time running out. This sense of urgency might have been linked to his friendship with the apostle Paul, who is recognized for urging the churches to follow God now and be ready for the return of Christ now. Paul was constantly in a state of urgency during his ministry, saying that the return of Christ was near as he wrote in Romans 13:11-12 and 1 Thessalonians 5:1-28, among other places. Since Mark and Paul became close friends, it makes sense that they both had this contagious sense of urgency for the cause of Christ, which is displayed in their writings. Thus, Mark’s gospel portrays Jesus as constantly on the move, going from place to place working miracle after miracle. Because of this rapid flow and progression of events, Mark focuses on Jesus’ works and deeds in his gospel more than His parables and teachings. Mark initially wrote his gospel for a Roman audience, or gentiles, who had little to no familiarity with Jewish tradition. Mark wanted those unfamiliar with Judaism to know the story of Jesus in terms that were more understandable to them. Mark takes time to explain some of the Jewish customs, while leaving out certain Jewish prophecies that are included, for example, in the gospel of Matthew. Yet Mark illuminates the humanity of Christ in his gospel more so than the others. In the gospel of Mark we get to know Jesus in the midst of his sufferings, while recognizing his divine destiny to die for the sins of man. As we read about Jesus in Mark’s gospel, we see Jesus in action loving others, healing others, and teaching others about God, the coming age and the return of the Son of Man.
Summary of Mark 11
Jesus and his disciples are near to Jerusalem, at Bethpage and Bethany; when they are at the Mount of Olives, Jesus tells His disciples to find a colt for Him to ride on into Jerusalem; a few people ask the disciples what they are doing, but when they say that “The Lord needs it,” they let them go; the disciples spread their cloaks on the colt for Jesus to sit on; the people spread their cloaks and palm branches out on the road, exclaiming, “Hosanna!” (which means: “Save now”) as Jesus rides in; Jesus goes out to Bethany with the 12 disciples; the next day, Jesus walks up to a fig tree, notices it is has healthy leaves but no figs, and so he curses it that no one may ever eat from it again; Jesus enters the temple complex and drives out all the sellers and money-changers because they defile Gods’ temple; the chief priests and scribes see what is going on and plot to kill him; at evening, Jesus and his disciples leave the city; the next morning, they pass the fig tree and see that it is withered to its roots; the disciples are astonished that it is withered already; Jesus begins to tell them that if they have faith, they can do anything, and that if they ask anything in prayer to believe they have received it; Jesus tells them to forgive others before they ask God for forgiveness; then they go back to Jerusalem; the chief priests and scribes challenge Jesus’ authority for teaching; Jesus asks them, “by what authority did John the Baptists teach, from earth or heaven?” and they chief priests and scribes say, “I don’t know”; Jesus says that he also will not tell them by what authority he does things.
Jesus in Mark 11
Jesus sends his disciples to do a task (v. 1)
Jesus instructs them on their task (v. 2)
Jesus reassures them they will succeed (v. 3)
Jesus’ words are trustworthy (v. 6)
Jesus’ words have power (v. 6)
Jesus didn’t need a fancy horse, just a colt (v. 7)
Jesus was welcomed as King by the people who “spread out their cloaks” on the ground for him (v. 7)
Jesus receives respect and honor from His people (v. 8)
Jesus was acknowledged as a King as the people shouted to Him “Hosanna” or “save now” (v. 9)
Jesus is blessed (v. 9)
Jesus comes in the name of the Lord God (v. 9)
Jesus comes to restore the kingdom of David (v. 10)
Jesus is worshipped by the people (v. 9-10)
Jesus enters the holy temple of Jerusalem (v. 11)
Jesus withdraws to Bethany with His disciples (v. 11)
Jesus prioritizes spending alone time with His followers (v. 11)
Jesus gets hungry, reinforcing His humanity (v. 12)
Jesus curses a barren fig tree (v. 13-14)
Jesus drives out sellers and money-changers (v. 15)
Jesus is angered at the misuse of the temple (v. 15-16)
Jesus teaches that God’s temple is to be a place of prayer not a den of thieves (v. 17)
Jesus is hated by the chief priests and scribes (v. 18)
Jesus is feared by the chief priests and scribes (v. 18)
Jesus’ teachings astonish the crowds (v. 18)
Jesus words of either cursing or blessing always transpire (v. 21)
Jesus encourages His disciples to have faith (v. 22)
Jesus inspires His disciples to believe that what they say will come to pass (v. 23)
Jesus reassures His disciples that any request from God is received if one believes (v. 24)
Jesus teaches His disciples to forgive others if they want God to forgive them (v. 25)
Jesus’ polarizing nature causes enemies to challenge Him (v. 28)
Jesus faces challengers when necessary (v. 28)
Jesus is never intimidated (v. 29)
Jesus is in control of the situation (v. 29)
Jesus always outsmarts the enemy (v. 29-33)
Jesus is silent to the hard-hearted (v. 33)
“And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “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!” – Mark 11:9-10
Questions for Today:
- What attributes of Jesus stood out to me in Mark 11?
- Why do you think Jesus was angered by the sellers and money changers in the temple?
- Am I misusing the temple of God (my heart) in my own life by the things that I do?
- What is it that God needs to drive out in my life?
- What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him?