Mark 11: Jesus, Messiah, Savior and King Shows His Authority in Jerusalem

Known as Jesus’ “Triumphal Entry” or Palm Sunday, Jesus finally arrives in Jerusalem — His time has come. Today, Palm Sunday triggers the start of Holy Week as devout Christians walk where Jesus walked to the cross, then to the Resurrection. We need to remember that each event of this week fulfilled Old Testament Bible Prophecies. Let’s dig in….

Prophecies for this Day…

Going all the way back to Genesis, we first have the blessings that Jacob gave to his sons and grandsons before he died, c. 1859 BC (Before Christ). The one we highlight here is to Judah, the tribe of Yeshua Hamashiach — Jesus Messiah

“Judah, your brothers will praise you.
    You will grasp your enemies by the neck.
    All your relatives will bow before you.
Judah, my son, is a young lion
    that has finished eating its prey.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down;
    like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants,
until the coming of the one to whom it belongs,
    the one whom all nations will honor.
11 He ties his foal to a grapevine,
    the colt of his donkey to a choice vine.
He washes his clothes in wine,
    his robes in the blood of grapes.

Genesis 49:8-11 NLT

Note the prophetic descriptions for the Messiah:

  • “Grasp enemies by the neck” — that foretells Jesus’ victory over Satan
  • His relatives will bow before Him — All Jews will bow down
  • Messiah is called the Lion of Judah
  • “The Scepter” — King Jesus!
  • “The colt of His donkey” — coming up!
  • “The blood of grapes” — His death on the cross.

Not bad for a prophecy from 1859 BC!

Then we have Psalm 118, written c. 979 BC….

25 Please, Lord, please save us.
    Please, Lord, please give us success.
26 Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
    We bless you from the house of the Lord.

Psalm 118:25-26 NLT

Next we have the prophet Zechariah who wrote in 520 BC. (We’ll be studying his book shortly. Subscribe so you don’t miss it.)

Rejoice, O people of Zion!
    Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem!
Look, your king is coming to you.
    He is righteous and victorious,
yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—
    riding on a donkey’s colt.

Zechariah 9:9 NLT

And there’s more!

I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem
    and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer.
I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices,
    because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations.

Isaiah 56:7 NLT (Written c. 711 BC)

11 Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the Lord, have spoken!

Jeremiah 7:11 NLT (Written c. 627 BC)

Now we see how the prophecies were fulfilled…

Mark 11 – Jesus’ Triumphant Entry

As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.’”

The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside the front door. As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it.

Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting,

“Praise God! (Hosanna! Save Now!)
    Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
10 Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David!
    Praise God in highest heaven!” (Psalm 118:25-26)

11 So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples.

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree

12 The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. 14 Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it.

Jesus Clears the Temple

15 When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, 16 and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. 17 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”

18 When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching.

19 That evening Jesus and the disciples left the city.

20 The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. 21 Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!”

22 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. 23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. 24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. 25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

27 Again they entered Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. 28 They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?”

29 “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. 30 “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!”

31 They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. 32 But do we dare say it was merely human?” For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet. 33 So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”

And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Mark 11 NLT

Lot’s to Ponder…

Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Palm Sunday. Image by Good News Productions International from FreeBibleImages.org. (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Palm Sunday. Image by Good News Productions International from FreeBibleImages.org. (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
  • King Jesus came riding in, not on a warhorse like most kings, but on a donkey’s colt.
  • When kings rode on donkeys, it signified they were coming in peace.
  • The disciples put their cloaks on the colt like a saddle for Jesus to sit on, then the people threw their cloaks on the ground before Him. He got the “red carpet” treatment! I wonder if Bartimaeus went back to grab the cloak he shed to place it before the King.
  • The people who shouted blessings and praised God were the same people who a few days later would be shouting, “Crucify Him!”
  • The Jews misunderstood and refused to accept that He came to save, not to conquer. They wanted to mold Jesus into what they thought the King of the Jews should be.

Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?

He had to know that it was not in season. Pastor Sandy Adams explains…

Most fruit trees sprout leaves first – then fruit. But a fig tree is opposite. Fruit appears before the leaves.

When Jesus saw this tree had leaves but no figs… He cursed its future. Understand, in Jewish literature the fig tree was a symbol for Israel. What Jesus does here with the fig tree was a metaphor for the nation. He saw Israel as a fruitless fig tree. It was full of foliage – the Jews were uber-religious – but there was no real spiritual fruit.

This parable helps us understand the last 2000 years of Jewish history. Jesus came to Israel looking for fruit and all He found was religious leaves. As a result, spiritually speaking Israel was withered and barren.

Sandy Adams

Here’s another commentary on this passage from “The Gospel According to Mark Part 6” found in the free, YouVersion Bible app.

Personally, I interpret this story as a warning against legalism as well, which is all about trying to manufacture a form of godliness by following rules and religious traditions and putting up appearances. Legalism can never produce the fruit of the Spirit—only He can do that as we seek Him earnestly and put away false pretenses. 

Rob Nieminen, The Gospel of Mark (Part Six):
https://www.bible.com/en/reading-plans/26574

Continuing…

  • The temple that should have been a solemn house of prayer, sacrifices and worship turned into a marketplace and a “den of thieves”!
    • Money changers – the Jews had to pay a temple tax. However, it could only be paid in shekels. People came from all over with coins from different places. The money changers overcharged the people to exchange their coins for shekels.
    • The sacrificial lambs and goats had to be spotless, without blemishes. Unscrupulous “merchants” examined the animals people brought with them and found a blemish — whether it was there or not. That way, they could sell them a “spotless” animal.
    • The doves were the sacrifice of the poorest people and they were taking advantage of them by charging too much. Hence, the “den of thieves”.
  • The next day, when they passed the fig tree that Jesus cursed, they found it had withered from the roots up. This signifies A LOT!
    • The Pharisees, Saducees, scribes, teachers of religious law, the Sanhedrin — all of them were rotten to the core.
    • If the roots of a plant or tree are rotten, the disease will spread to the rest of the plant or tree and it will no longer bloom or produce fruit.
    • Likewise, if the teachers are rotten — false teachers and prophets — the teachings they spread will also be rotten and no one will be fruitful. You’ll only be easily led astray.
  • Then Jesus provides 4 steps to build solid roots by getting the right spiritual nourishment…
    • Put your faith in God alone — not man.
    • Have no doubts in your heart.
    • Sincerely pray about everything, with the right attitude, and He will answer your prayers.
    • Forgive — like it says in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6). Un-forgiveness will hinder your progress as well as your relationship with Christ.
  • Jesus was in His proper area of authority. Nevertheless, the Jewish leaders — the Sanhedrin — felt He was usurping in their territory. They were threatened by Him. Thus, they tried to trap Him by questioning Him on His authority.
  • Jesus, as He did so well, responded with a question, turning the tables. His cleverness kept them quiet.

Ponder this…

Have you sought to make Jesus conform to your idea of what a savior or king should be? If so, how? 

Paul wrote…

Christ Is Supreme

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
    which is his body.
He is the beginning,
    supreme over all who rise from the dead.
    So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
    was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
    everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
    by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

Colossians 1:15–20

Have YOU made peace with Jesus?

Jesus loves you and wants to have a relationship with you!

Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart -- let Him in!
Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart — let Him in!

What are you waiting for!

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Child of Love


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