Mark 11

Mark 11:1-10 The Triumphal Entry

"The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on an animal of peace and meekness posed no threat to the Romans, who would have expected any claimant to power to have arrived on a horse, the symbol of war and power. But Jesus' mount proclaimed kingship to the Jews, in part because of two particular Old Testament prophecies. The first is a portion of Jacob's blessing upon Judah: 'The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine' (Genesis 49:10-11). In John 15:1, the Savior declared: 'I am the true vine.' The references to sceptre and Shiloh and the choice vine being bound to an ass's colt all come together as the Savior made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem astride an ass's colt, days before his being crowned with thorns as 'The King of the Jews.' That supernal moment, as he entered the city in glory, also fulfilled in perfect detail the prophecy of Zechariah: 'Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass' (Zechariah 9:9)." (Bruce A. Van Orden and Brent L. Top, eds., The Lord of the Gospels: The 1990 Sperry Symposium on the New Testament [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 134.)

Mark 11:9 Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord

We imagine hundreds or thousands welcoming the Master to His city. His humble entrance at his first coming seems deliberately designed to contrast his glorious entrance to the same city at his Second Coming. The first time, he comes on a colt that can barely hold his weight; the second time, he comes on a heavenly white horse "in righteousness... clothed with a vesture dipped in blood." (Rev. 19:11-13) The first time, he comes with mercy and peace; the second time, he comes to "judge and make war." (Rev. 19:11) The first time, a meager crowd praises his name; the second time, the praise comes from heaven "as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." (Rev. 19:6) The first time, he came as a king without army or crown; the second time, he comes with "many crowns" on his head, accompanied by "the armies which were in heaven... upon white horses." (Rev. 19:12-14) One thing we should always remember about the Lord's Triumphal Entry is that another much more dramatic, glorious, and triumphal entry is yet to come.

Mark 11:11 Jesus enter into Jerusalem, and into the temple

"How did Jesus-the very Jehovah in whose name it had been built and to whom its sacrifices had been offered-regard the Temple built by Herod?

"Although the architectural beauty of Herod's Temple made it one of the wonders of the ancient world, it had less of the hallowed and spiritual atmosphere that had infused the Tabernacle and Solomon's Temple. The ark of the covenant, Mercy Seat, Cherubim, and other holy objects were not there; the Urim and Thummim, which provided revelatory contact with God, was not there; and the Shechinah-the divine presence-was absent.

"Yet Herod's Temple was a place of revelation, as seen in the experience of Zacharias. (See Luke 1.) And there is evidence in word and deed that Jesus considered the Temple to be the legitimate sanctuary of the true God. Indeed, Jesus called it 'my Father's house' (John 2:16) and 'my house' (Matt. 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46).

"The Savior's life from beginning to end was bound to the Temple. When Mary had fulfilled the forty-day ritual of purification after giving birth, she and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem for the ceremonial redemption of the firstborn. (See Luke 2:22-24.) Twelve years later, Mary and Joseph 'found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, and they were hearing him, and asking him questions.' (JST Luke 2:46.)...

"Jesus was protective of the sanctity of his Father's house. In the very early days of his ministry, he cleansed the Temple court of the merchandisers and money changers. (See John 2:13-16.) Then during his final week in mortality, he again "went into the temple of God, cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers." (Matt. 21:12.) (D. Kelly Ogden, "Jesus and the Temple," Ensign, Apr. 1991, 13)

Mark 11:13 seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon

"The most memorable encounter with a fig tree in the New Testament occurred during Jesus' walk one morning from Bethany to Jerusalem, during the last week of his earthly life. He became hungry, 'and when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.' (Matt. 21:18-19.) Mark added, 'for the time of figs was not yet.' (Mark 11:13.) The New Testament contains no other instance of Jesus using his divine power to destroy, but he deemed the life of the fig tree a necessary teaching tool to illustrate, in an unforgettable way, the religious history of Israel.

"Luke's gospel contains this related parable:

A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it.

And if it bear fruit, well; and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. (Luke 13:6-9.)

"The fig tree was common in Jewish teaching as a symbol of the nation of Israel. Jesus, too, used the symbolism in this parable. The fig tree, or the people of Israel, had been planted in that part of God's vineyard, in the land of Israel. The Lord of the vineyard, through his earthly husbandmen, had watered and nourished the tree-he expected it to bear fruit.

"When Jesus cursed the fig tree, it was Passover time in Jerusalem, half a year before figs would normally appear and ripen. He must have been referring to previous years' unfruitfulness. In the parable, the tree had produced a showy flush of leaves but was perennially barren and fruitless. For centuries, Judaism had been aggressive in maintaining the finer points of the law and the traditions, but it had neglected the weightier matters of justice, mercy, and faith. In the parable, the fig tree representing Israel was not cut down in that generation. But the warning was clear. If, after another season or generation of growth, it still bore no fruit, the Lord would remove it and scatter its pieces." (D. Kelly Ogden, "A Sampler of Biblical Plants," Ensign, Aug. 1990, 39)

Mark 11:15 Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple

Russell M. Nelson

The Lord drew boundary lines to define acceptable limits of tolerance. Danger rises when those divine limits are disobeyed. Just as parents teach little children not to run and play in the street, the Savior taught us that we need not tolerate evil. "Jesus went into the temple of God, and ... and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers." Though He loved the sinner, the Lord said that He "cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance." ("Teach Us Tolerance and Love," Ensign, May 1994, 71)

Mark 11:16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple

Why did the Master prevent anyone from carrying vessels through the temple? It would seem that some of these vessels were holding items for sale and were therefore part of the temple's desecration. Secondly, the temple had specific sanctified vessels (Ex. 37:16, Dan. 1:2). Edersheim noted, "whatever touched the altar, or, indeed, any sacred vessel, was regarded as 'sanctified,' but no vessel could be dedicated to the use of the Temple which had not been originally destined for it." (Edersheim, Alfred, Temple at the Time of Christ, chap. VIII) Those carrying vessels through the temple in Jesus' day were carrying vessels not proscribed by the Law of Moses.

In Josiah's day, the Temple of Solomon was desecrated with vessels dedicated to pagan gods. In a foreshadowing of the Master, King Josiah cleaned house in the Lord's house.

And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Beth-el...

And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him. (2 Kgs. 23:4,25)

Mark 11:22-24 Have faith in God

Gene R. Cook

Our Heavenly Father does hear and answer the prayers of His sons and daughters if they exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord said: "For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." (Mark 11:23-24.)

Today is a day of miracles. We believe in miracles. The Latter-day Saints may expect miracles according to their faith. As a member of the Church, you are authorized to take a leading part in the development of the kingdom of God on earth within your respective responsibilities. Pray fervently. Actively seek to increase your faith, and with that great gift from God, you can cause great things to occur within your life and in the lives of others. (Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 107.)

Orson Pratt

This promise was not confined to the apostles and early saints; for the term, "whosoever," embraces all mankind who shall have faith, in every age throughout the world. (Orson Pratt's Works [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1945], 91 - 92.)

Mark 11:25 forgive, if ye have ought against any

N. Eldon Tanner

The Lord has said, "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men." (D&C 64:10.) We are further admonished to forgive many times, even seventy times seven. We should stop and ask ourselves if we are prepared to ask the Lord to forgive us of our sins and trespasses only as we forgive our friends and neighbors. How wonderful it would be if we would all forgive and love our neighbors. Then it would be much easier for us to call upon the Lord to forgive us of any of our wrongdoings, and as we repent and bring forth fruits meet for repentance, we can expect God's forgiveness and mercy to be extended in our behalf. ("The Importance of Prayer," Ensign, May 1974, 53)

Mark 11:28 By what authority doest thou these things?

James E. Talmage

It will be remembered that after the first cleansing of the temple, the Jews had angrily demanded of Jesus a sign by which they might judge the question of His divine commission; and it is significant that on this latter occasion no sign was asked, but instead thereof, a specific avowal as to the authority He possessed and by whom it had been given Him. A three years' course of miracle and teaching was known to them; on the yesterday blind and lame had been healed inside the temple walls; and Lazarus, the living testimony of the Lord's power over death and the grave was before them. To ask a further sign would have been to flagrantly expose themselves to the ridicule of the people.

They knew what authority the Lord claimed; their question was of sinister purpose. Jesus did not condescend to voice an answer in which they could possibly find further excuse for antagonizing Him; but He availed Himself of a method very common among themselves-that of countering one question with another. "And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?"...

Chief priests, scribes, and elders of the people were outwitted and humiliated. The tables were completely turned upon them; Jesus, whom they had come to question, became the examiner; they a class of cowed and unwilling listeners, He the ready instructor, and the multitude interested observers. (Jesus the Christ: A Study of the Messiah and His Mission According to Holy Scriptures Both Ancient and Modern [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 493.)