Mark 11:27–33 (ESV)
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
27 And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, 28 and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do
them?” 29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” 31 And they discussed it with one another, saying,
“If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. 33 So they
answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
So far, Jesus has really frustrated the chief priests, scribes,
and the elders. He is healing people and casting out demons. People are also amazed at his teachings. Yet they are the keepers of the Old Testament, the Law, synagogues, and the Temple. Here comes Jesus and he is threatening their lifestyle.
In today’s reading, they ask a very valid question: “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” This is a good question... and valid. The point is, will they really listen to his
answer and believe. I think Jesus knows the answer to this, so he answers their question with a question. “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Was the baptism of John from heaven
or from man? Answer me.” This statement takes me back to the movie “A Few Good Men” where Jack Nicholson is sitting on the witness stand and blares out “You can’t handle the truth!” Look at their response to
Jesus question. “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet.
33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” When it comes down to it, they didn’t care about the Truth!
I pray: Lord, you are the truth. Help me to not confuse my ways
with your ways, you are God and I just a man. I repent of my sins, especially when I act as if I am God instead of you. Shape me and mold me according to your will. Amen.
Mark 11:20–25 (ESV)
The Lesson from the Withered Fig Tree
20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.
23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask
in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
It is interesting that Jesus says “whenever you stand praying.” Standing is a proper prayer position. There are other prayer positions, but there is nothing wrong with standing. If someone says it is wrong,
show them this verse! But, did you notice that you need to pray with faith... “believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Unfortunately... I must add that it will be given to you if it is the Lord’s will.
Otherwise, we would all be billionaires. Now in a serious note, verse 25 gives us vital information and at the same time... a warning. We ARE to be a forgiving people. Forgiveness is what we are about. Do you have someone you are not
willing to forgive? Let’s re-read verse 25: “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” This is an eye opener!
It also dovetails into the 5th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer: “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Luther adds: “We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look at our sins, or
deny our prayer because of them.
We are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that He would give them all to us by grace, for we daily sin much and surely deserve
nothing but punishment. So we too will sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us.”
I pray: O Heavenly Father, forgive me my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass
against me. Help me to pray in the faith you have given me and to trust in your provisions. Amen.
Mark 11:15–19 (ESV)
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
15 And they came
to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything
through the temple. 17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, “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.” 18 And the chief priests and the scribes
heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. 19 And when evening came they went out of the city.
I wonder if Jesus ever did
dishes? I don’t know, but in today’s reading... he certainly cleaned house in the Temple. At the same time, he ticked off the chief priests and the scribes. The Lutheran Study Bible states: “As prophesied in Mal 3:1–5,
Jesus purifies the temple of those who use religion to line their pockets. He does so in the temple court, where genuine worship has been disrupted. Today, Jesus challenges us to eliminate all such barriers to God’s Word in our lives and in our congregations.
He is the proper focus of our prayers, the reason for our service; He hallows us as the temple of His Holy Spirit.”
I pray: O Lord, help me to never use your name for profit. I get tired
of some television evangelist selling tickets to come and hear them preach God’s Word. Help us to never create barriers that might block others from hearing your Word. Salvation is a free gift, I say free, but was bought and paid for with
Jesus blood. His life and death on the cross has set us free. Amen.
Mark 11:12–14 (ESV)
Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
12 On the following day,
when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And he said to it, “May
no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
So what is going on here? Jesus is obviously hungry and the tree was producing no fruit. There is not much to go on, but unripe
figs should be appearing. The Lutheran Study Bible states: Early unripe figs should have been present (c Mar/Apr), even though the main harvest season had not yet arrived (Aug/Sep). The leaves should have served as a reliable indicator for these early
figs. If the early figs do not appear, neither will the later ones. The curse and destruction of the fig tree warns Jesus’ disciples of impending judgment against the temple and the unfruitful people. Works without faith are truly fruitless. True
faith, and the life that flows from it, cannot be separated. They are the good and gracious gifts of our heavenly Father.
I pray: O heavenly Father, only you know when the last day is coming. Use me
Lord to reach out to the lost. Change me to produce fruit. Protect me from the coming judgment. Amen.
Mark 11:1–11 (ESV)
The Triumphal Entry
11 Now when they drew
near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie
it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’ ” 4 And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they
untied it. 5 And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. 7 And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on
it. 8 And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. 9 And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed
is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
11 And 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.
I am from Texas and one thing we don’t like... are cattle rustlers (thieves). I can honestly say if Jesus told me to go into town and you will find a colt, untie
him and bring him back... I would be scared to death. I would be announcing to the shop keepers where the colt was tied, and I would go find the town’s marshal or sheriff. I would let him know and where he can find me. I would want
everyone know that I will be bringing it back. I would also be afraid that I will get shot on the spot for untying the colt. I know I would be accused of lacking faith, and I can probably agree with that. It’s just that I’m from
Texas and we hate cattle thieves! But what we do see in today’s reading is Jesus telling them to go into the town and they will find a colt, untie him and bring him back. If anyone asks... tell them the Lord needs him and the colt will be
returned. The go into town and find it just like Jesus said. They do exactly as Jesus told them and... they lived! This show a prophecy and answer to the prophecy... making Jesus a true prophet.
This colt is crucial in ushering into Jerusalem the King of Kings. The people give Jesus a festive entrance into the city.
I pray: O Lord, I know I would have fallen short on this request.
I know I would be exposing a weak faith. Lord, you gave me this faith, I pray that you help me with my unbelief. Help me to trust your simple words. Amen.