Monthly Archives: January 2017

Mark 11:27-12:12

Title: Governed by Fear

Text: Mark 11.27-12.12

Introduction: We’ll be in two texts this morning, so, keep your marker here in Mark 11.27 and use another marker to bookmark Psalm 118. We will look at other passages, too, but these two (Mark 11-12; Psalm 118; Isaiah 5) we will turn to.

In the passages before our text this morning, Jesus has ridden triumphantly into Jerusalem as the people shout out a phrase found in Psalm 118; you see it there in Mark 11.9-10; 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!” As we covered a couple of weeks ago, this is huge! They’re acknowledging him to be the Savior, the promised Messiah, the King who is to come in the line of David. Turn with me to Psalm 118.25-26 and read the reference to their shouting.

The other gospels record the religious leaders consternation over this event. Jesus then enters the temple and surveys the grounds; all very anticlimactic. The next day Jesus curses a fruitless fig tree as an analogy of Israel and her fruitlessness. He then takes action by cleansing the temple of the moneychangers and teaching the people the purpose behind his actions. The Jews were supposed to be fruit bearing – they were supposed to be a light to the Gentiles, showing them God. Hence, he runs them out of the temple because they’ve made it into something that never was God’s design. The next morning, when Peter sees the withered fig tree, Jesus teaches them about what has happened and how they should pray concerning the temple. They should pray in faith because of God’s faithfulness. Peter astonishingly notes the withered fig tree and Jesus gives the glory to his father.

Following these events, Jesus enters triumphantly on Sunday. He surveys the temple that evening and heads back out of town. On Monday he cures the fig tree and passes judgment on the temple and their leaders. On Tuesday Peter notices the withered fig tree and Jesus stops and teaches his disciples about prayer and forgiveness with a focus on the faithfulness of God. They continue into Jerusalem to the temple where the religious leaders are waiting for him.

Right a way we see there is: A Problem.

I.     A Problem (27-33)

exp.: rd v 27-28; It appears the chief priests and religious leaders have been waiting for Jesus to returned to the temple. They immediately confront him as they see him walking in the Temple area with two questions concerning his authority and his right to do what he had been doing (cleansing the temple; teaching about Isaiah’s prophecy). Jesus could have very easily said “from heaven.” But, he doesn’t. Instead, he positions himself as the teacher and they the students. He responds to their question by asking them a question in return. This is a form of teaching the rabbi’s used in that day. This question, I think, contains the answer they’re looking for. Rd v 30;

ill.: When I was a kid, my dad would teach me like this sometimes. I’d ask a question and he’d respond with a question. I’d answer his question and he would say, “Well, there you go. You have your answer.” And my answer to his question was the answer to my question. Like, I already knew the answer; he would just guide me to it. I had a mentor as a young man named Gary Patton. I remember Gary doing the same thing.

app.: Jesus doesn’t give these guys a question they cannot answer. No, he gives them a question they refuse to answer. Their refusal shows their rejection of him. The answer they’re looking for is in the correct answer to the question Jesus asks. His authority is from Heaven – the very throne of God! But, these guys wimp out. So, Jesus leaves them hanging and tells them he isn’t going to answer their question either.

t.s.: And then, in a subtle way, Jesus begins speaking to them in parables.

II.    A Parable (27-30)

exp.: rd v 1; Now these religious leaders go to Isaiah 5 in their minds. They know that story well, I’m sure. Let’s read it together so that you might understand what is going through their minds; turn to Isaiah 5.

This story is a little different, but the parallels are obvious to them. see v 12; The story in Isaiah presents a master who creates a vineyard. He does everything necessary to provide for and protect it. He cares for it greatly. The problem is that the vineyard only produces wild grapes; nothing of value. In the story Jesus tells, it begins much the same way: there is a master who creates a vineyard. He does everything necessary to provide for and protect it. He cares for it greatly. But then this story takes a turn; this story is about those who’ve been left in charge of the vineyard. The tenants refuse to give the master his fruit. The master sends servants who the tenants reject. They beat them and mistreat them, and some they even kill.

The religious leaders know this story well. It is their story. Prophets were sent by God to Israel, but they were beaten and mistreated, and even killed. Now, the Master has sent his own Son, but him they will treat the same. He will be rejected, beaten and shamefully mistreated. He will suffer cruel punishment by those he has come to save. And they will kill him to keep what they see is theirs.

Rd v 8-9;

app.: now this alone should upset them; but look at what Jesus does next; he quotes from Scripture to give context to his parable.

t.s.: let’s look at that passage as quoted in v 10-11

III.   A Passage (31-34)

exp.: Rd v 10a; Have you not read; the meaning here is more like: Surely you have read but never understood! And he quotes Psalm 118.22-23 pretty much verbatim; rd 118.22-28. Here is a prophecy of the coming King – God’s Messiah. Seeing the temple is the context of this entire passage, Jesus must be saying that although they are casting him aside, he will replace the old temple and become the cornerstone of a new temple.

app.: He must be saying that He is the ‘someone else’ the vineyard will be given to! And they are the one’s losing out! They observed it in the Temple, when he cleansed it. They’ve heard it in the parable being taught to them. Now they’re being given context. Jesus is the stone they’ve rejected and tossed to the side. Their rejection will be complete when they kill him. But what they cannot realize, even though Jesus has just told them, is that he will rise again and become the cornerstone to this new temple.

t.s.: You and I know this story, I’m guessing. At the very least you’re vaguely familiar with it. As I read through it again in preparation for this morning’s message I asked myself why…why did these guys behave like this? What is it about them that caused them to respond like this? I believe the answer is in v 12, as well as 11.18 and 11.32. rd 11.18; 32, 12.12; they let fear drive what they do and don’t do.

IV.  Addendum: Fear (11.18; 32, 12.12)

exp.: This isn’t really one of the three points this morning, but really more of an addendum. What is it about fear that drives people?

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of losing
  • Losing money
  • Position, prestige, or power.

I think when it comes down to it this idea of authority is a sub-theme or topic running through this passage. Obviously, the temple is our context. And, within this context we have the question of who is in charge. That’s why they confront him. They’re upset in 11.18 because of his actions in the temple, but they don’t approach him. They’re afraid of him. They wait until the morrow and approach him as he enters the Temple. They ask Jesus a straight forward question, but he turns the tables on them by asking them a question. They don’t answer him publicly though, because of their fear of the people. And here again, their fear directs their actions. They’ll finally come at night in a few days to do their dastardly deed. By approaching him, their statement is: We’re in charge here and you don’t have the right to do what you’re doing! But Jesus lays it out for them very clearly: You think you’re in charge, but you have failed time and again. I’m in charge. And I’m about to do some miraculous things!

Conclusion: throughout the rest Chapter 12 the religious leadership will do what they can to trip Jesus up. They will test him and quiz him and he will show them to be the frauds they are. And fear will rule them as will be demonstrated through their actions.

Application: So, what will we take home with us today?

  1. The Grace and Great Patience of the Father. How great the Father love for us; how vast beyond all measure. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Pet. 3.9
  2. The Responsibility to Fruitfulness. We have all been harsh judges of Israel and their failure. We’ve stood in judgment against Israel’s leaders. Yet, are we any different? I want to put a plug in for tonight’s evangelism training. It is from 5-7pm. We won’t go visiting tonight; it is only the orientation. Our 2nd cycle of training will start March 19th and go through the end of April. My dream is that everyone here would be able to stand up and articulate the Gospel to someone else.

Ill.: John Meador told the story of his staff, some 70 folks going to some evangelism training for a Metroplex-wide event. The teacher had come to show them how to share their faith and to clearly communicate the gospel. He asked them if there was any among the 70 who felt a fear of sharing the Gospel. None raised their hands. Silence. He was surprised. He asked again. No one raised a hand. He was like: You mean to tell me that no one here is afraid to tell someone else the Gospel if they needed to hear it? One lady raised her hand. He was like thank you…you’re afraid that you won’t be able to articulate the Gospel to a lost person. She said, “No, I just felt sorry for you.” A leader stood up and told the teacher there that the pastor had made sure everyone there was able to communicate the Gospel.

App.: Wow. What a great example for the rest of us pastors. If I were to ask you now: What are the four components of the Gospel message? Would any of you stand boldly and tell me? Well, if you’re curious, I’ll be sharing them on Sunday nights. If you’ve not signed up, see me after the service so I’ll know you’re planning to be there.

  1. Christ is vindicated as the Son of God and the new temple. This passage reminds us that Christ is vindicated through his suffering and resurrection! He is cast aside by these builders, but now has become the cornerstone – chosen by the Father for the New Temple. Eph 2.21f teaches us that we, the believers, are this new temple. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
  2. Judgment awaits those who reject Christ. While Application point #1 is true, that patience will one day run out. And, for those who’ve rejected Christ, judgment awaits. I urge you today, if you’ve never received Christ as Lord, let today be the day.

Here’s the Gospel story in a nutshell. Let me illustrate it this way.

God’s Character

Offense of Sin

Sufficiency of Christ

Personal Response

Eternal Urgency

Life Transformation

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Mark 11:11-25

Title: Nothing But Leaves

Text: Mark 11.11-25

Introduction: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. At the time, he created all that was. Within his creation, he created a garden. He created a man and a woman and a placed them in the garden to tend it. He loved them and provided for them. The relationship they had with him was perfect. The fellowship they enjoyed in this relationship was perfect.

You know the story: He gave them one stipulation concerning the fruit produced from the garden. All was there to enjoy except the fruit from one tree. Well, they failed. Innocence was lost and fig leaves were sown together to cover their nakedness and shame. God came calling in the evening, but they had hidden themselves. Their former glory was gone. They stood there before God covered in shame and nothing but leaves.

Transition: In Mark 11.11-25 we find another story of innocence lost. As Adam and Eve had rebelled against God, so had Israel. Both he considered his children; Both he loved and provided and cared for; and both ended up in the same condition.

The flow of the story is quite natural, yet hard to understand. There are three stories in a row that are filled with controversy. Some folks would want you to think that the first story is about Jesus losing his cool and taking it out on a poor tree. The 2nd story follows suit and we find an upset Jesus throwing tables around and running people off from the temple. Finally, we see him telling the people that if they would just have faith in God, they would receive “whatever you ask in prayer”. Simply, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Wah-lah!

Nothing could be further from the truth! And because of this false doctrine, so many have missed what is being taught here.

For example: I found this in Strauss’ Exegetical Commentary of the NT on Mark: Bertrand Russell, in his essay “Why I Am Not a Christian,” singled out this passage for criticism: “This is a very curious story, because it was not the right time of year for figs, and you really could not blame the tree. I cannot myself feel that either in the matter of wisdom or in the matter of virtue Christ stands quite as high as some other people known to history.”

So, how can we begin to understand what is being taught here? Well, 1st, let us begin with looking for a common thread that runs through the greater story line. I believe that common thread is the temple. We see it in v 11, 15, 23, and 27. So the key to this passage is the temple. If we will not isolate each story, but rather view them as one narrative, we will find some context to help us better understand Mark’s goal here.

So, let’s put our theory to the test. Just because a word is popular or appears multiple times in the text doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the focus or the theme. We have a fig tree in this 1st section. Have we ever seen a fig tree or figs in general used in a story or a parable or an analogy in other places in Scripture? The answer is simply: yes. And when we do, we understand it to represent Israel.

So with this in mind, let’s outline this as point #1:

I.     Jesus makes an example out of the fruitless fig tree. (11-14)

exp.: He simply uses it as an example of Israel. Let’s not look at this through our 21st Century lenses, but rather, try to see and understand as they would.

  1. The culture: the fig tree had two seasons; an early and a late; the late season was harvest. The figs were ripe and plump at that time. The early season was in the spring. The figs were not as plump and ripe, but did produce a blossom that was edible and sweet. Isaiah refers to this in 28.4: The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim will be trodden underfoot; 4 and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley, will be like a first-ripe fig before the summer: when someone sees it, he swallows it as soon as it is in his hand.: Hosea 9.10; Micah 7.1; Nahum 3.12;
  2. The language: in Gk, there is no right order to the words. You identify the subject and verb by their endings and prefixes. The most important word in the sentence is usually the first word. When translating this sentence, I think it is best understood with a simple relocation of words. Look at v 13: 13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it, for it was not the season for figs. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves. Here is a tree that shouldn’t have leaves because it is too early in the season; however, it does! And this tree, in producing big beautiful leaves, has no fruit; when at this time, there should be these big green leaves, green blossoms along with the leaves.
  3. The analogy: The fig tree is analogous of the Israel, it’s Temple and it’s leadership; this will become apparent as the story plays out. For now, see it this way: Jesus sees a tree that should have some fruit. He gets there and sees this big, beautiful tree, but no fruit. And he thinks to himself: Man, that is so like Israel! This big tree becomes teeny, tine when seen in the shadow of the great temple next to it. And that’s where we want to place our focus.
  4. The curse: You might call this foreshadowing. His curse is passing judgment up on Israel. Again, this will become clearer as we make our way through the story.

t.s.: The disciples don’t know this yet. They are witnesses to what has just happened, but they don’t see the bigger picture yet.

II.    The Cleansing of the Temple isn’t really a cleansing at all. It is instead a warning of the coming Judgment (15-19)

exp.: rd v 17; there are two main OT passages Jesus is drawing from in this verse; Isaiah 56.6-8 and Jeremiah 7.1-15; Claudia, in Easyworship there is a place to bring up these Scriptures. Isaiah 56.6-8

“And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,

to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,

and to be his servants,

everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,

and holds fast my covenant—

these I will bring to my holy mountain,

and make them joyful in my house of prayer;

their burnt offerings and their sacrifices

will be accepted on my altar;

for my house shall be called a house of prayer

for all peoples.”

The Lord God,

who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,

“I will gather yet others to him

besides those already gathered.”

  1. Jesus is passing judgment against Israel for their lack of evangelism toward the Gentiles.

Prior to this event, the market for Temple activities was on the Mount of Olives. As recently as 30 AD, which is the year some say Christ died, the religious leaders moved the market into the Court of Gentiles. Gentiles could convert to Judaism, but they could never enter the Temple. Jewish women could go further into the Court of Women. Jewish men could go even further into the Court of Men. Only the priest could enter in the Court of the Priests where all of the activity was. The men could see and the women could struggle to see, but Gentiles stayed outside. And that was never God’s plan. Cf.: Numbers 15.14-16; Leviticus 22.18-25; here is what is so amazing about this: The Jews never did this and they found themselves scattered to the nations in Exile. Then, after the return of the exile, there was an international witness for them to tell of God’s great mercy. And Jesus is telling them that they failed in this, too.

  1. Jesus is passing judgment against Israel for thinking that they were saved simply because they were Jews.

Turn to Jeremiah 7.1-14; Jesus, by making reference to this passage, is clearly telling us what he is doing. By casting them out, just as Jeremiah said he would, Jesus is identifying who he is as Messiah and passing judgment on Israel for her failure. Her failure is that her religion became her focus and identity.

Here is Mark’s point: We find that the fig tree becomes analogous to the Temple in that: The temple was no longer functioning as God had intended by being a house of prayer for all nations; in other words, it was this big, beautiful tree filled with leaves, but produced no fruit;

Application for us: Warning: there is more to this ‘religion’ thing than just form and function! The prime motive in this place called the temple is the glory of God. It is the difference between a heart that has a passion for God and a people who gather to honor God only with their lips and they want a big, beautiful, comfortable place to do it.

t.s.: the fig tree is an analogy of Israel and her failure and the curse Jesus places on it is the judgment of God against her for her failure.

III.   What were they to do about Israel’s failure and the judgment of God upon her? Jesus Calls them to Faith, Prayer and Forgiveness (20-25)

exp.: My first thought is of the misuse of this passage and others like it. Many preachers take v 24 and isolate it from the context. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. A false teaching presents a false hope and leaves people believing God is either not there at all or he is aloof and uncaring. So how do we frame our context? To begin with, I want to point you to one word that really helps us narrow our focus in on the context: it is the demonstrative pronoun found in v 23: this.

  1. This mountain: The temple mount; so, the prayer requests presented to God should deal with the temple in particular. This will be huge for the men standing there. Within another 30-40 years, this temple will be destroyed. Jesus is telling them how to pray.
  2. Have faith in God. in v 22; a literal understanding of this would be: you have the faithfulness of God. In other words, it isn’t your faith that accomplishes this, but it is God’s faithfulness to fulfill all that he has planned. Yes, we must have faith and many times we’re commanded to do so. But I think what Jesus is saying here is that the agent of faith is God. It isn’t us. He is faithful. And from that, we’re commanded to trust him. Read it this way: Wow! Check this out Jesus! The tree you cursed yesterday is withered down to the root! How can this be? Jesus then replies: you have the faithfulness of God. Really, when you think about it – that is the only explanation we need. That is why we pray according to the will of God. Not my will be done, but your will be done. That’s why you don’t pray whatever you want and it’ll be done for you.

app.: Your prayer life will be dramatically improved and become all the more powerful if you’ll add context to your prayers. Stop praying for God to feed your flesh here on earth and begin praying for God’s will to be accomplished in your life.

In our story this morning, the temple had become an object for the people. It no longer brought glory to God. Ladies and gentlemen, people don’t look at your facilities and stand in awe of God. They look at your facilities and stand in awe of your facilities.

Reflection: I wonder how many people passed that same fig tree and wondered aloud at the beautiful leaves on that tree. I’m guessing there were more people who saw the tree and thought of some small piece of fruit to enjoy – only to be disappointed to not find any.

ill.: I love trees. They bring so much beauty to a place. But in the time of Jesus, trees were not simply used for aesthetics; they served a purpose. Trees produced fruit, which was used by the people. No fruit, no purpose. If there was no fruit it was taking up the space of a tree that could produce fruit. Cut it down and put in a fruit-producing tree. Jesus even uses this exact explanation as a parable in Luke 13.

app.: So, let me land this plane: the temple had become a fruitless, leafy tree! And Jesus is passing judgment against Israel because of it.

t.s.: This is the stuff of nightmares (i.e.: being covered in beautiful leaves and producing no fruit).

Conclusion: So, how does this apply to us?

As a church and as believers we’ve been called to produce fruit:

  1. In keeping with repentance.
  2. The fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
  3. The fruit of other believers: How are you doing in this? As for me, not so good. I’m assuming by the state of our baptismal, that your attempts at producing the fruit of other believers is not so good either. Either one, you’re not attempting or, two, your attempts are failing. I hope to change that. (Invitation to CWT; we’ll meet every Sunday night for six weeks in 2 cycles). Sunday nights from 5-7 pm. Would you pray about joining us.

 

  1. We must be regularly producing fruit.
  2. In this pursuit, our focus must be the Glory of God. Paul David Tripp: If in your heart you have abandoned God’s glory, then with your life you will always forsake his plan. If this place is anything more than just a place we meet for worship and discipleship…then we’d better sell it and move out!
    1. Our focus and identity must never be found in this facility. Who we are and what we do must be found in Christ and Christ alone! This place is just where we meet.
    2. I don’t think buying and selling is inherently wrong. Their practice of buying and selling animals was set up by God, but they perverted it! The Temple had become a place of commerce and not a place of worship. But if this place becomes the end in itself, and not a launching pad for evangelism, then we are in danger of becoming a big, beautiful, leafy, but fruitless tree.

Pray: Oh, God…make us fruitful. Give us souls. I’ve prayed before for 100 souls here. In 2017, give us 100 souls. Oh, God, forgive me for that… Forgive me for limiting you to only 100 souls. Oh Holy Father, will you start with just one… give me one soul to count as fruit. Let us as Calvary see that 1st piece of fruit on the vine. Please, I beg you, don’t let us be like that fig tree. We don’t Jesus to talk to us like he did that tree.

 

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Mark 11:1-11

Title: The Bigger Picture

Text: Mark 11.1-11

Introduction: It has been a while since we last looked at Mark, so let me begin with a little reminder of our outline. Mark is set up in three movements. Chapter 11, verse 1 begins the 3rd movement. In part one, the early ministry of Christ was covered (1.1-8.21). From 8.22 to now the topic has focused in on Christ making his way to Jerusalem. He has been very forthright with his disciples in these chapters about his purpose and intent. Listen to 10.33-34 – “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. 34 And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” Here in Chapter 11 Jesus arrives at Jerusalem. Verse 1 begins, Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives…so Jesus has arrived.

I think back to the experience of the transfiguration on the mountain with his three closest disciples. He spoke with Elijah and Moses. We don’t know what was said, but it got the job done. That picture, of Christ up there on the mountain with those two superheroes of the faith, shows us God’s Son – beloved of the Father and worthy of our obedience. “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” He is the promised one – the Messiah of God. Peter even recognized and confessed it.

And now, after walking up that long hill from Jericho to Jerusalem, Jesus has only days to live. In less than a week, he will be dead. He will be crucified on a cross and the dreams of the disciples and those who followed him will be crushed. Peter will weep over his failure. The disciples will scatter like fish at the site of a shark. Jesus will be hung between two thieves and breathe his last. Two secret admirers will come and take his body. They will hastily prepare it for burial and they will bury his body in one of their tombs.

Surely this isn’t on their minds. But, it must be on his. This section is called the Messiah’s Suffering. Mainly, because he won’t just die for the sins of man – He will be punished and suffer greatly in our stead. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God…

This passage is another miraculous event and it is just another day. It begins with

  1. Instructions for some of the unnamed disciples as they prepare to enter Jerusalem. It moves to …
  2. The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem with a parade of admirers and those hopeful that the King has now arrived.
  3. And it will conclude a very anti-climactic scene: Jesus, walking around the Temple grounds and it being basically empty, because the hour was late and the crowds had dissipated. This anti-climactic scene will be the calm before the storm.

Let’s look a little closer to these three parts of the opening scene – 1st at

I.     The Instructions (1-6)

exp.: this 1st phrase tells us that he has arrived; remember, he’s been on the way to Jerusalem for some time. The phrase has been used as a reminder of the task at hand. Rd v 1b; Jesus sent; the Gk word for which we get Apostle; they were commissioned with a task; rd v 2;

  • Enter into a specific village – probably Bethphage or Bethany, but it doesn’t really matter;
  • At that entrance, there is a specific foal; this word is generally used with horses; however, it was common to use that title for donkeys and other animals. It is the same in English. We use words for certain animals interchangeably. We know this is the foal of a donkey because the other gospels are specific in their terminology. But there is more: Mark doesn’t say this, but his readers in the 1st century know some things we don’t. More on that in a moment. Notice the specifics from the Messiah here – not just a colt, but one that has never been ridden – on which no man has ever sat. More on that in a moment.
  • Untie it
  • Bring it

Now, that would have been pretty cool if that were all that happened. Jesus would have told them this. They would have found it that way. Period. But there is more. Rd v 3;

  • See that 1st word if? Often times in English, if is used to show potential or that something is possible (If it rains, you might want to have your umbrella with you). However, this is a bit different. This word in the original language shows us that something is probably going to happen – not that it might, but rather you should expect it. In other words, you should expect someone to ask you what you’re doing. Simply tell them: ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’ ”

The question often arises, who is ‘Lord? in this sentence: God, Jesus or the owner? Lord, can also mean master or sir. Well, Luke clues us in that the person here who speaks is indeed the owner – so it is’t them. It must be in reference to the Lord, Jesus.

Rd v 4; No surprises here; rd v 5-6; again, no surprises; things go as Jesus told them.

app.: So the guys complete the mission they’re sent on and they bring the colt back to their Master.

t.s.: He is now going to ride this beast of burden (little fellow as he is) into the city; This scene is most famously called:

II.    The Triumphal Entry (7-10)

exp.: rd v 7-10; Why did they do this? Why this reaction? Well, for Mark’s readers, they recognize something amazing is happening! Note the allusions to Christ’s Kingship.

  • This is the fulfillment of the promise, the prophecy in Zechariah. Zechariah 9.9 – Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. They’ve been watching and waiting for this moment. Mark wants us, his readers to identify that this man on this donkey is indeed the promised Messiah of God.
  • 2ndly, we saw it in relation to Solomon. When it looked like an older brother was trying to make himself king, David ordered Solomon to be taken and anointed as King and to ride his mule with people shouting praise. That of course, was before the prophecy in Zechariah, but it casts a light – so to speak – upon our story and gives us flavor for what this King of Israel will do. Solomon is the son of David. Jesus is the Son of David. The anointing, by the way, will come in 14.3.
  • There is another allusion here from the OT. Maybe. I’m not sure, but it looks that way. Genesis. 49.9:

                     9         Judah is a lion’s cub;

from the prey, my son, you have gone up.

                        He stooped down; he crouched as a lion

and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?

                10      The scepter shall not depart from Judah,

nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,

                        until tribute comes to him;

and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

                11      Binding his foal to the vine

and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,

                        he has washed his garments in wine

and his vesture in the blood of grapes.

  • One more: there is an ancient practice known as angaria (an-gar-ee-uh). This is the power a king has to take from his people what he needs, when he needs it. Samuel warned the people of Israel when they asked for a king: 10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves.” Is this an allusion to Christ’s Kingly Authority? I don’t know for sure, but it is something to think of.

app.: Here’s where I’m going with this: Mark wants us to see that Christ is the promised, coming King. There is no need for the Messianic Secret anymore. The secret is out. He da man! Not only do Mark’s readers discern this, but the people in the story do, too. Throwing out their palm branches and their coats – giving Jesus the red carpet treatment – celebrating Christ coming – the King has arrived! No wonder the religious leaders get so upset with Jesus.

exp.: What a day it was! The people gather and create this – parade, this fanfare for the one they think is coming into Jerusalem to be King. He is, but not like they’re expecting.

I wonder what it was it was like for the disciples as they walked along the parade route with Jesus on the colt. The Scripture says that there were people in front of him and people behind him. rd v 9a; I wonder how the disciples are taking this all in as the people shout (rd v 9b-10); Hosanna! Translated it reads Save, we pray! Truer words were never spoken! He saves! By this time in history, Hosanna had become a common shout of praise. But the rest of this verse cries out that they knew! Here is the Son of David…echoing Blind Bartimaeus’ cry at the end of chapter 10.

Transition: Things have gone as planned – just as Jesus and the prophets have foretold. But look what happens in v 11; I call this part:

III.   The Calm Before the Storm (11)

exp.: rd v 11; what? All that and he just walks around looking at the Temple area like some tourist? What did he come to do? Wasn’t he supposed to start…doing something? The other Gospels jump right into the questioning by the religious leaders and throwing out the moneychangers. There is the turning over of the tables and making a whip and cracking it like Indiana Jones. No! None of that! He just walks around, taking it all in. The implication here is that it is late and the people have all retreated to their homes and places of lodging.

ill.: Most people come here to church and there are folks here. It is rare that they come and find this place empty. It is odd, when we’ve been in this place and so much has been going on, and everyone leaves. There is only silence and presence of items demonstrating that people were here and now they’re not. It is quiet; peaceful, yet lonely. No, Jesus isn’t some spectator or tourist. He’s been here before. No, this is a special moment.

ill.: If Jesus had walked the 18 or so miles uphill to Jerusalem from Jericho, the hour would indeed be late. J.T France, as quoted in the Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament of Mark: What happens in the morning will not be a spontaneous act of outrage, but a planned demonstration.

app.: it is quiet, but it is the calm before the storm. I picture the unkept and untidy rooms and halls of a place that had just hours before been packed with people and activity. There is nothing left except the wind that blows gently and turns over some unwanted, discarded trash. Maybe there is a Levite or two finishing up their cleaning and preparation for the morrow. But in this place, there is silence. I assume it is a time of contemplation and thought.

t.s.: This short passage is so like life.

Conclusion: We walk with the Master and he summons us to his service. He knows all about what we’re doing and what he is doing through us – even if we don’t see it. In the midst of our service there is so much uncertainty – so much we know nothing about. And yet, we serve. We give. Unknown to us is the big story – the bigger picture. There are times of work – times of celebration – and times of calm, peaceful existence. And through it all, God is at work. In our story here, God is bringing the work of Salvation to a close. In just a few days Jesus will say: it is finished. He will exhale and surrender his body to death.

Application: I’m not sure where you are at this point in life. For GLYW folks, the day is probably just a moment to breathe. Last night you probably experienced the lull of the crowd dissipating into the night and the remnants of the papers and trash left behind. Maybe you’re in awe of what God has done. Maybe, this morning, there are folks here who are in work mode – you’re deeply involved in a ministry task. Maybe you’re by chance, celebrating success. The crowds have been cheering and life appears to be absolutely wonderful.

Wherever you are, don’t miss what Mark is teaching us. The place you find yourself is but a dot on the line of time. There is a bigger story line unfolding just out of sight. God is at work bringing Glory to Himself.

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