Gospel of Mark: Chapter 11

Gospel of Mark:

Commentary on Chapter 11

  • v. 1 – In Zechariah 14:4 the Mount of Olives is associated with the final judgment and in Ezekiel (11:23; 43:1-5) it is associated with the coming of the Messiah.
    • Jesus sends the disciples again in pairs, as he did in 6:7.
  • v. 2 – This would fulfill the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9.
  • vv. 9-10 – “Hosanna” is a Greek word which literally mean “save now.” It originally connoted a cry for help but by the time of Jesus had come to be an exclamation of joy.
    • The people are likely thinking of Psalm 118:25-26 and 148:1 as they sing out their joy.
    • Note that Jesus has very intentionally presented himself to the people publicly as the Messiah.
    • David was the greatest king in the history of the Jewish people and it was believed that the Messiah would be a descendant of David (which Jesus was).
  • vv. 12-14 – These verses along with vv. 20-21 bracket the account in vv. 15-19 providing us the context in which we should understand vv. 15-19.
  • v. 15 – Worshipers at the temple would bring sacrifices and those sacrifices had to be “unblemished” (without defect).Tables were set in the outer courts where one could buy unblemished animals. If one attempted to bring an animal into the temple, it would be examined by the priests and invariably shown to have defect and one would have to buy an animal anyways. These animals would be sold at a profit and the priests would keep the profit.
    • Similarly, donations to the temple had to be given in a certain currency and pilgrims came from all over – oftentimes without this currency. Tables where available for exchanging money but again, the moneychangers would take advantage of the pilgrims – charging exorbitantly to perform the exchange.
  • v. 16 – The Temple could be used as a shortcut to move across Jerusalem and so many brought their goods through the temple as a shorter way to get where they were going.
  • v. 17 – See Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11.
  • vv. 20-21 – This forms the concluding bracket around Jesus’ cleansing of the temple. The emphasis here appears to be upon the fig tree as symbolic of the Jewish people and that while it has the appearance of bearing fruit (the leaves) it is in fact barren. This has been demonstrated by the necessity of cleansing the temple and the response from the religious leaders not of joining in the reformation but of looking for a way to crush it.
    • Because of the people’s unwillingness to repent, Jesus will bring judgment instead of salvation. This judgment likely occurred in AD 70 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, scattering the Jews across the world.
  • vv. 22-23 – Mountains may be symbolic of the problems encountered in life. The mountain may also be that on which the Temple resided.
  • v. 26 – Some manuscripts have “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” This is included in some older translations such as the KJV, but is likely a later addition to the text.
  • v. 27 – These three groups together made up the ruling religious body amongst the Jews.
  • vv. 29-30 – Jesus frequently responds to questions with questions – e.g. 2:8-9, 19, 25-26; 3:4, 23; 10:3, 38; 12:16.

Author: David Mackey

Revision: 1.0 5/14/13

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