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Mark chapter 11

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12And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: 13And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. 15And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; 16And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. 17And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. 18And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. 19And when even was come, he went out of the city. 20And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. 22And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23For 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. 24Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. 25And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

What does Mark chapter 11 mean?

For the final time Jesus goes to Jerusalem, and He will not be ignored. His first three acts are disruptive; He asserts His authority (Mark 11:1–11), curses a fig tree—a symbol of Israel—(Mark 11:12–14, 20–25), and attacks the temple money-making industry (Mark 11:15–19). Once He has everyone's attention, He engages the religious leaders in a series of debates that reveal their conflation between godliness and nationalism and their rejection of the true worship of God (Mark 11:27–12:44).

Jesus has left Galilee and traveled to "the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan" (Mark 10:1), returning to the teaching ministry He had suspended in His home district (Mark 8:11–13). He probably kept the typical Galilean custom of avoiding Samaria by crossing the Jordan River south of the Sea of Galilee, going south through Decapolis to Perea (Matthew 19:1), and crossing west again near the northern edge of the Dead Sea, where the road went through Jericho (Mark 10:46) to Bethany and Bethphage (Mark 11:1), and eventually Jerusalem.

Jesus' first task is to display His identity as the Messiah and the King of the Jews by riding a donkey colt (Zechariah 9:9) down the Mount of Olives toward Jerusalem. People who are going to Jerusalem, many of whom have heard that Jesus raised Lazarus, take leafy branches and their cloaks and lay them on the ground for Jesus to ride on. The crowd declares that He has come in the name of the Lord to return the kingdom of David. This event is referred to as His "triumphal entry" into the city. Jesus arrives at the temple late in the day, looks around the courtyard, and returns to Bethany (Mark 11:1–11).

Mark likes to pair related stories around a third event, and he does so again here. The morning after the triumphal entry, Jesus is headed back to Jerusalem and notices a fig tree has no fruit. Despite the fact it isn't the season for figs, such trees were supposed to produce small, edible buds in preparation for later fruits. This tree has no such buds—which means it provides no food now, and won't produce figs later. Jesus curses it, declaring no one will ever eat from it again. When He reaches the temple, He sees money-changers and bird merchants have set up shop in the temple courtyard, where the Gentiles are meant to worship God and pray. Jesus turns over their tables and stops the people from using the courtyard as a shortcut between Jerusalem proper and the Mount of Olives (Mark 11:12–19).

The next morning, as Jesus and the disciples again travel from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem, the disciples realize the fig tree is withered and dead. The fig tree, Jerusalem, and the Jewish nation do not produce the fruit they were created for, so they must be judged (Mark 11:20–25).

When Jesus and the disciples arrive at the temple courtyard, the religious and civil leaders ask Him who gave Him the authority to chase out the vendors the day before. He counters by asking them if they believe John the Baptist was a God-ordained prophet. If they answer yes, they lose the people's respect by displaying their theological hypocrisy. If they answer no, they lose the people's respect by slandering John. This reinforces the leaders' resolve to destroy Jesus secretly, where the crowd cannot defend Him (Mark 11:27–33).

Throughout the rest of the Passion Week—the final few days prior to the crucifixion—Jesus will engage in many debates and teach many truths, not all of which are recorded in Mark 12—13. It is His last chance before the crucifixion to get people to think about worship as God designed it to be, and reject the worldly nationalist fervor. His words and actions remind us to keep our eyes on God, not the things God has blessed us with.

What is the Gospel?
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