Past Issues

Jesus -- the Messiah #23

Read Mark 11:1-19

The Triumphal Entry

1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’ ”

4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “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 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

Jesus Clears the Temple

12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: “ ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’ ?
But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’’”

18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

19 When evening came, they went out of the city.


vv. 8-10 – Many people in Jerusalem had heard about Jesus’ miracles, and some probably
thought He was the long-awaited Messiah.  They welcomed Him like a king.

vv. 13-14 – However, Jesus knew that the city had not repented.  They were not really
ready to participate with Him in the battle for righteousness.  The Old Testament prophets often used the fig tree as a symbol for a prosperous and blessed Israel.  For Jesus too, this fig tree was a symbol of the nation that was not producing the righteousness that He and the prophets before Him had expected in response to God’s call.

vv.15-17 – In a grander symbolic action, Jesus took His battle for righteousness directly
into the Temple premises.  This buying and selling of animals for the temple sacrifices was taking place in the outermost court.  This is the court where the Gentiles had to stand if they wanted to worship.  They were not allowed to enter any further.  How could they worship, though, with all the yelling and bartering and disturbances that were going on?

Because the animals sold for sacrifice in the Temple courts had been approved by the priests, the charge for these animals was many times higher than in the general market.  The traders and the priests made a huge profit, especially to the burden of the poor.

Jesus demonstrated God’s long-standing anger with this mistreatment of the Gentiles and the poor.  He overturned their tables and stopped their trading in the Temple courts.  Jesus once again quoted from the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah in showing that God’s anger at this practice had been there for a long time:  “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.  But you have made it a den of robbers.” (v. 17)

Are there unjust and disrespectful religious practices that you would like to “overturn” as part of Jesus’ battle for righteousness today?



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