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LDS New Testament Notes 05: Mark 11:1–16:20

LDS New Testament Notes 05: Mark 11:1–16:20

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Published by: Mike Parker on Oct 07, 2010
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New TestamentWeek 5: Mark 11:1–16:20
Introduction.a)The last six chapters of Mark focus exclusively on the final week of Jesus’ life, from histriumphal entry on Palm Sunday (11:1–11) to the discovery of his empty tomb onResurrection Sunday (16:1–8). b)My lesson outline presumes that you are already familiar with the basic chain of eventsleading up to the crucifixion and resurrection. I won’t be giving a detailed account of theevents; instead I’ll be focusing on what Mark has to say about some of the events. We’llalso be comparing and contrasting what Matthew and Luke had to say.
If we’re reading solely from Mark’s gospel, this is the first time Jesus has set foot inJerusalem since he began his ministry.a)John has Jesus making multiple trips to Jerusalem, which is where get the idea thatJesus’ ministry lasted three years. But if we read only the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus’ministry appears to last less than a year.
 b)But even though his ministry has been confined largely to the area around Galilee, he’sclearly known in Jerusalem, because he’s hailed by many people as a messiah.
3)Mark 11:1–11
. Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.a)It may seem strange to us that the bystanders just let Jesus’ disciples take the colt, but it was a common custom anciently to allow the use of animals for service to an importantfigure.i)The KJV translation “and straightway he will send him hither” (11:3b) is difficult tofollow. It means that Jesus will return the animal immediately when he’s done withit. The bystanders take him at his word. b)Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on the colt has many ties to Old Testament customs, psalms,and prophecies:i)In the days of Kings David and Solomon, a new king would ride on a mule to theplace where he would be anointed by the high priest. The people would follow him,playing music and celebrating. (1 Kings 1:38–40.)ii)When Elisha anointed Jehu king to overthrow the wicked king Ahab, the king’sofficers took their cloaks and spread them on the steps in front of him (2 Kings 9:13[1–13]).iii)When the Maccabean army retook Jerusalem from the Syrian Greek occupiers in 141
., “the Jews entered [the city] with praise and palm branches…because a greatarmy had been crushed and removed from Israel” (1 Maccabees 13:51). The palm branches symbolized victory and independence (2 Maccabees 10:7).iv)The people hailing Jesus shouted a psalm of thanksgiving: “Hosanna! Blessed is theone who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9 = Psalm 118:25–26).
The Synoptic Gospels make no mention of Jesus celebrating the Passover (the Feast of Unleavened Bread), except duringthe final week of his life (Matthew 26:2, 17–19; Mark 14:1, 12–16; Luke 22:1, 7–13). John mentions Jesus celebrating thePassover three times (John 2:13; 6:4; 11:55), indicating a ministry greater than two and less than three years long.
© 2010, Mike ParkerFor personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion ClassNew Testament: Mark 11:116:20Week 5, Page 2
is a Hebrew word that means, “O Lord, save us.” It’s a call to the Lord,the King, to reign and prosper while protecting his people. v)The entire episode is a fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah:
KJV Zechariah 9:910NRSV Zechariah 9:910
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout,O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy Kingcometh unto thee: he is just, and havingsalvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass,and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!Lo, your king comes to you;triumphant and victorious is he,humble and riding on a donkey,on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
And I will cut off the chariot fromEphraim, and the horse from Jerusalem,and the battle bow shall be cut off: and heshall speak peace unto the heathen: andhis dominion shall be from sea even to sea,and from the river even to the ends of theearth.
He will cut off the chariot from Ephraimand the warhorse from Jerusalem;and the battle-bow shall be cut off,and he shall command peace to thenations;his dominion shall be from sea to sea,and from the River
to the ends of theearth.
(1)This is a song celebrating the arrival of the king in Jerusalem (cf. Psalm 72). Thechoice of the mount—a donkey instead of a war-horse—indicates he has peacefulintentions.(2)The verse 10 anticipates a peaceful kingdom that covers the entire earth,something that was not fulfilled at this time (although the multitude who came tosee Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem certainly expected it to).c)Clearly the people who came to honor Jesus as he entered the city saw him as theMessiah and successor to the throne of David, and expected him to fulfill Old Testamentprophecies by overthrowing the Roman occupation and establishing an independentnation of Israel.i)But Jesus wasn’t here to save his people militarily—he came to save them spiritually,something even his own disciples didn’t understand until after his resurrection.
In the three days between his entry into Jerusalem and the Last Supper, Jesus taught andhad interactions with other people. We’re going to cover most these events over the courseof our study of all four gospels. In this lesson, we’ll cover three stories:a)
Mark 11:12–14
. The cursing of the fig tree.i)I mentioned this story back in lesson 3 as an example of the “passionate Jesus” oMark. On the surface Jesus’ actions seem harsh and arbitrary, but what he didactually has a symbolic meaning:
(1)The prophet Jeremiah frequently used figs and fig trees to symbolize the peopleof Israel.
 He compared the corrupt and disobedient people of Judah to a fig treethat grew no figs (Jeremiah 8:13).
The phrase “riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” is a Hebrew parallelism; a single animal is meant here.Matthew (21:5–7) misunderstood this and assumed two animals were meant.
The reference is to the Euphrates River in northern Syria.
In addition to the direct meaning given here, Jesus also used the cursed fig tree as an object lesson in faith; see Mark 11:20–25 (verse 26 is not in the oldest and best Greek manuscripts; it’s probably a scribal addition based on Matthew 6:15).
See Jeremiah 5:17; 8:13; 24:1–10; 29:17.
© 2010, Mike ParkerFor personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion ClassNew Testament: Mark 11:116:20Week 5, Page 3
(2)Jesus’ cursing of the fig tree is representative of cursing of the people—or morelikely the
—of Israel, who have rejected the covenant and failed torecognize their King. They have borne no fruit and are now cursed. b)
Mark 12:1–12
. The parable of the wicked husbandmen.i)This parable has a connection to the cursing of the fig tree (Mark 11:12–14, above).ii)In this parable, a landowner leases his vineyard to tenants (KJV “husbandmen”), but when the owner sends a slave to collect his portion of the fruit as rent, the tenants beat the slave and send him away empty-handed. Several other slaves are beaten orkilled, and when the owner finally sends his own son, the tenants kill him. The ownerthen destroys the tenants and gives the vineyard to others.iii)After the parable Jesus quotes Psalm 118:22–23: The stone that the builders of ahouse rejected ends up becoming the chief cornerstone.(1)The stone, of course, represents Christ,
 as does the son in the parable.iv)After Mark 12:11, insert Matthew 21:43–44, where Jesus interprets the parable. v)Contrast the reaction of the Pharisees with Mark 4:11–12: These people understandthe parable, but not to salvation.
Mark 12:28–34
. Jesus on the greatest commandment.i)A scribe approaches Jesus and asks him which is the first, or greatest,commandment.ii)Jesus responds by first quoting Deuteronomy 6:4–5, the opening passage from the
.(1)The Shema is the very heart of Jewish confession and faith. Twice each day,observant Jews to this day recite the Shema in prayer, beginning with these words: “
 Shema Yisrael Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echad 
” (“Hear, o Israel, theLord our God, the Lord is One”).(a)The word
is Hebrew for “hear,” the first word in the passage.(b)This is an affirmation that Jehovah was the sole object of their devotion(Deuteronomy 6:5, 14), as well as his superiority to all other gods andtherefore the only one worthy of their worship (Deuteronomy 7:9; 10:17).
(2)Jesus’ response, then, would not have been surprising—in fact, the Jewish people who heard him would certainly have responded, “of course!”iii)Jesus then goes on to quote Leviticus 19:18, elevating that passage to the level of thesecond great commandment.iv)The other Synoptic writers have some interesting differences from Mark’s version of this story:(1)Unlike Matthew (22:35) and Luke (10:25), the scribe is favorable to Jesus (hedoesn’t “test” him)
Compare 1 Corinthians 10:4; Helaman 5:12.
See lesson 3, page7;
See notes to Old Testament lesson 11, pages 5–7;
© 2010, Mike ParkerFor personal use only. Not a Church publication.

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