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Baptism & The Thief on the Cross | Introduction to the Book of Acts | Preaching with Inspiration | Adair Chapman Sermon | More...

Mark 11

The Royal & Triumphal Entrance into Jerusalem

 Mark 11:1  And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,


These were villages close to the Mount of Olives, about two miles from Jerusalem.  The two disciples are not named.


Mark 11:2  And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.


Mark, Luke and John mention the colt only, while Matthew 21:2 tells of its mother also.  The colt was most important because Christ would ride upon him.  In the Old Testament animals for sacred use were selected from among those unused by man.


Mark 11:3  And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.


Jesus usually speaks of Himself in terms of humility, but here, He  referred to Himself as The Lord, The Master and Ruler of all things.  When Jesus was done with the colt, He will send him back to the owner.


Genesis 49:10-11 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. 49:11  Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:


This final metaphor of His clothes will be fulfilled at the end of time cf:


Revelation 19:11-16  And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 19:12  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 19:13  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 19:14  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 19:15  And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  19:16  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS


Mark 11:4  And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.


They seemed to have unloosed him without asking permission as Jesus told them.


Mark 11:5  And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?


Luke explains their right to ask the question, because they were the owners.


Mark 11:6  And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.


There is no miracle in this, save the knowledge by Jesus of the whereabouts of the colt.


Mark 11:7  And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.


The garments supplied the saddle.  Another prophet foresaw this event cf: 


Zechariah 9:9-11 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.  9:10  And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. 9:11  As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.


Mark 11:8  And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.


These garments were extra garments, and in a frenzy of enthusiasm, many cast off their cloaks to pave the way for Jesus to travel on.  All this was in accordance with the custom of honoring kings and conquerors by, as we say: rolling out the red carpet before them.


Mark 11:9  And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:


These are the pilgrims greetings upon the entrance into Jerusalem and they are direct quotes cf:


Psalm 118:25-26 Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. 118:26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.


Mark 11:10  Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.   

The people thought that Christ would set up a political kingdom and He would assume the throne of David that had been vacant since the Babylonian captivity cf: Luke 19:11 … because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.

This is on the Sunday before the Lord's suffering.   He had passed the Sabbath at Bethany. 

All four of the Gospel writers give accounts of Jesus’ Triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The other accounts are found cf: Matthew 21:1-11; Luke 19:21-44; John 12:12-19.

The Temple

Herod the Great, who ruled from 37BC to 4BC was not satisfied with the temple built by the prophet Ezra because it was the same size as Solomon’s.  So, in order to feed his passion for grandeur and to immortalize his name, Herod rebuilt the grand hall which was built in the style of a basilica with a central nave and side aisles divided by four rows of 40 columns, each monolith topped by Corinthian capitals.  Josephus called the stoga “more deserving of mention than any under the sun.”  Herod doubled the size of the outer courtyard and enclosed it with enormous limestone walls, some of these stones weighing over 80 tons.  The entrances were a series of beautiful gates, adorned with magnificent stairways and bridges. The disciples of JESUS were awed with “the buildings of the temple” (Matthew 24:1) and their beauty!  But

Isaiah 66:1-2 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? 66:2  For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.  

Psalms 127:1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Mark 11:11  And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.

After looking round about upon all things, what your commet Lord?  No comment the prophet Malachi had foretold this event cf:

     Malachi 3:1-5  Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 3:2  But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:  3:3  And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.   3:4  Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.  

After entering the city and temple and observing the condition of things within the sacred building he retired to Bethany for the night. As far as we know he passed all his nights of the last week of his earthly life at Bethany, save Thursday, perhaps to avoid the rulers in the hours of rest and to have an opportunity for private conference with his disciples, which he could not have in crowded Jerusalem. Besides, he had loving friends at Bethany, who delighted to have him under their roof.

Mark 11:12  And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:


What food did Jesus, the Messiah, hunger for cf:


Luke 4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.


John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.


Mark 11:13  And 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.


Leaves are an outward sign of fruit for leaves accompany the fruit to protect it from the sun.  Israel is described by the metaphor, the fig tree, cf:


Hosea 9:10 I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved.


LORD, what’s your judgement after looking round about the temple and upon all things?  No fruit!  “nothing but leaves” - the outward forms had become more important to them than fruit.  Cf:


Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.


Israel substituted daily faith and trust in God for ritualism, ceremonialism and formalism.  God has called us to fruitfulness cf:


Matthew 7:15-20 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 7:16  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 7:17  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 7:18  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 7:19  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 7:20  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.


Mark 11:14  And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.   

A divine curse upon Israel cf:

Jeremiah 11:1-3 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 11:2  Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; 11:3  And say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant,

And his disciples heard it but God has other plans for them cf:

Isaiah 65:15 And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name:


Mark 11:15  And 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;


Satan had often been successful in recruiting the priesthood to pollute God’s temple cf:


Jeremiah 7:30 For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.


Ezekiel 8:15-18 Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.  8:16  And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD'S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. 8:17  Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. 8:18  Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.


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


God had promised that the Messiah, when He came to Jerusalem to the temple to judge the covenant, would cleanse the temple cf:


Isaiah 52:11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.


Mark 11:17  And 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.


God’s temple was intended to be a house of prayer cf:


Isaiah 56:7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.


For men ought always to pray cf:


Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;


For we have an available God but they had made it a den of thieves. Snakes and lions live in dens.  A shocking description of the religious leaders of Israel cf:


Jeremiah 7:8-12 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. 7:9  Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; 7:10  And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?  7:11  Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.  7:12  But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.


Mark 11:18  And 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.


Jesus knew what the results of his zeal would be cf:


Psalm 69:9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.


John 11:47-50 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 11:48  If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. 11:49  And one of them, named  Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 11:50  Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.



The people were astonished at His doctrine as they had always been cf:


Matthew 7:28-29 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 7:29  For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.


John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.


John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Mark 11:19  And when even was come, he went out of the city.

It is evening and Israel will not repent and accept their Messiah.

Mark 11:20  And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.


The fig tree Israel has already produced, the only branch worthy of acceptance to God, the Messiah cf:


Isaiah 11:1-2 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 11:2  And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;


Jeremiah 23:5-6  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 23:6  In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.



Isaiah 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.


So a Divine curse has come upon Israel


Mark 11:21  And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.


Poor Peter, he just can’t put it all together cf:


Romans 9:1-8 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 9:2  That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 9:3  For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 9:4  Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; 9:5  Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. 9:6  Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 9:7  Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 9:8  That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.


Romans 10:1-4 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 10:2  For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 10:3  For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 10:4  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.



Mark 11:22  And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.


“Have faith in God”, the lacking figs of Israel.  We should desire what God desires.  The challenge to us as Christians is to bear fruit, which is described in scripture as both souls and Christian character.  Cf:


John 15:1-8 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 15:2  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 15:3  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 15:6  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 15:7  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 15:8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.


Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 5:24  And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 5:25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.



The reproduction of our faith in others, is a test of our fruit.


Mark 11:23  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.


Nothing can be availed when the heart is filled with unbelief and doubt, you must have no doubts.  God could move the mountain as readily as heal the sick or raise the dead.  Had Israel had faith in the God of her covenant, all things were possible for her.  Cf:


Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.


Mark 11:24  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

When you get a bill, write the check, put it in the envelope, put a stamp on it, a return address, seal it, and put it in the mailbox, it isn’t paid yet, BUT the feeling you have says it’s paid!! ANYTHING could happen between your mailbox and that payment getting entered … but in YOUR MIND, that bill was paid the moment you put it in your mailbox, turned your back, and shut the door.  You must have the same feeling, the same conviction, the same belief, when you pray.

True prayer, either miraculous during the days of the Apostles or common, is always in harmony with God’s will cf:

I John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

 Mark 11:25  And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

This is to “stand” on the knees.  All must be forgiven of ill will or cause of complaint must be forgiven if we expect God to forgive us.  Until we do our part the door of forgiveness towards us is closed.

Forgiving others is one of the conditions of prevailing prayer.

Mark 11:26  But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.


    Matthew 6:12  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.


Mat 6:14  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:  6:15  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.


Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.


Mark 11:27  And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders,


This was Tuesday, April 12.  These three classes of Jews constituted the Sanhedrin court. 


Mark 11:28  And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?


The chief priest and elders are quick to investigate, as they investigated John the Baptist, but they are slow to believe.


He was cleansing the temple, working miracles, teaching and taking charge of things in general.  His authority was not given by a priest or civil ruler, commissioned either by Caesar or the Sanhedrin.


Mark 11:29  And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.


They had propounded to him two questions, but Jesus proposes but one to them.  Did they believe the messenger’s (John the Baptist) testimony about baptism?  Luther said, “I believe, in order to obey, I obey in order to believe”.  Did they believe Malachi 3:1?


Mark 11:30  The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.


How could they deal with His authority as the Messiah, if they couldn’t deal with the messenger’s (John the Baptist) authority?


If they answered the question, they would convict themselves.  Was John a true or false prophet?


Mark 11:31  And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him?


They saw immediately that if they took this road they would be in a trap so they turned aside from it.


Mark 11:32  But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.


They really preferred this answer, doubtless would have given it, but for fear of the people.  There was no safe response, so, their answer was to be evasive.

Mark 11:33  And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.     

How can we expect to know more, when we won’t take action based on what we have already been given?

This was a falsehood.  They did know.  They turned his question aside unanswered, He felt He was under no obligation to answer their question.  He exposed their hypocrisy.  His authority was the same as John’s authority.

On Sunday the Lord entered officially.

On Monday he cleansed the temple, and cursed the fig tree.

On Tuesday his disciples called attention to the withered fig tree, and he again entered the city.

There a delegation of the rulers demanded by what authority he had driven out the money changers the day before cf: Matthew 21:23-27 and Luke 20:1-8.


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