Jesus Displays His Authority {Mark 11}

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My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

By Becky Bramlett Austin

This chapter begins the last week of the earthly ministry of Jesus. Up until now, Jesus has kept a low profile about being the Messiah. But this week is different. This week Jesus shows himself publicly with humility and yet with such authority and boldness. 

His Entrance on a Donkey: Jesus makes his appearance with humility as He rides in on a borrowed and unbroken young donkey. What a contrast to the grand military processions the people of Rome were used to seeing. Jesus doesn't ride in on a majestic war horse but He rides in on a donkey, often thought of as a symbol of peace, and he fulfills prophecy: Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9 Jesus came in with work to accomplish, and determined purposes to fulfill. But did he meet the expectations of what the people wanted in a Messiah? I can’t help but wonder what happened to the crowds who cheered him, shouting “Hosannah, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Were these same people in the crowds who days later would shout “Crucify him”?

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree and Clears the Temple:

I searched the commentaries for the significance of the cursed fig tree and found it quite interesting that Jesus entered the temple the night before. He didn’t do anything but he just observed what was going on. We can be comforted that God observes the evil going on in this world too, and will address it in his desired time. The next morning he seeks fruit from a fig plant that to all appearances should have been a fruit producing plant because of it’s thriving abundance of green leaves. Jesus was disappointed to find no fruit and then he cursed it. The fig tree was symbolic of the Jewish church and priesthood which should have been producing fruit but was not. As he returns from the temple, the disciples observe that the once abundant plant has drastically shriveled from the roots up. The Jewish temple and priesthood would undergo a similar fate. It is quite a serious thing when God has been displeased and removed his blessings because he finds no fruit. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” John 15:5 What a great lesson for the churches of America to heed as well. We enjoy so many religious freedoms. Our churches today should be able to produce fruit in abundance but only if we keep Jesus as our focal point.

We are familiar with the bold display of righteous anger Jesus displayed when he returned to the Temple to clear it from the corruption that he had observed and which broke his heart. “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. (v 19). Again, a great lesson for the churches of America to be concerned about. Just what is the focus of our worship centers today? Have we strayed from the intent of God? Have we moved Him out of the picture? Have we put our own agendas into place? And what about our homes? Is God the center of our homes? Do we produce fruit in our homes? What would Jesus observe if he came to our home unannounced? Would he have to clean house? Would he find that his authority is honored in our homes? Hopefully, he would be pleased to find that our homes are a place of worship, a house of prayer, and produce abundant fruit because we abide in Him.

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