• Chad Werkhoven

Mark 11 Reading Guide

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Chapter Summary

  • v1-10 - Jesus enters Jerusalem in what is often referred to as the 'Triumphal Entry.'

  • Not surprisingly, the disciples sent ahead find things exactly as Jesus said they'd be.

  • The crowd shouts a word which was rich in meaning, but yet they probably didn't know how meaningful it was as they shouted to Jesus.

  • Hosanna is an Aramaic word meaning "Lord, save us!"

  • (Aramaic is a very similar language to Hebrew and was one of the common languages Jews spoke).

  • v12-14 - The little episode about the fig tree seems like a meaningless incident, and even makes it seem like Jesus is unreasonable, since it's not even close to the time of the year when figs should arrive. Read last year's DIG DEEPER post to understand that there's much more going on here than first meets the eye.

  • v15-18 - Jesus, disgusted by the fact that temple worship had become so commercialized, dramatically drives out the vendors.

  • It's interesting the way Mark describes this. He doesn't describe Jesus as fomenting a riot or even organizing a protest, rather he indicates that Jesus is 'teaching' (v17).

  • We also learn here that the Establishment (Pharisees & religious professionals) have decided that Jesus must be killed (v18).

  • Mark also tells us why they want Jesus dead:

  • The establishment feared Jesus.

  • They feared Jesus because "the whole crowd was amazed at His teaching (v18)." In other words, Jesus was making the Establishment irrelevant, and they weren't going down without a fight.

  • v19-25 - Upon passing the aforementioned fig tree, now withered, Jesus gives His disciples a brief lesson on prayer and faith.

  • Jesus makes two massive claims about those who pray faithfully:

  • That they could even command a mountain to jump into the sea;

  • That if they truly believe they've received what they prayed for, they will have it.

  • Don't worry if you've never successfully cast a mountain into the ocean or if you don't have everything you've ever prayed for.

  • We've seen how much Jesus spoke in parables, and that the technical word for that is parabolic teaching.

  • Jesus here is using a very similar technique called hyperbolic teaching, more commonly known as hyperbole: purposefully exaggerating for effect.

  • Hyperbole is one of Jesus' favorite rhetorical devices: Matt 7:3-5, Luke 14:26, John 19:25-27 are just a few examples.

  • How would you describe to a curious friend what Jesus means here if He's not literally instructing His followers to move mountains?

  • v26-33 - Jesus has come into the home turf of the Establishment riding like a king. He disrupted one of their main sources of revenue at the temple, and the crowd is on His side.

  • Understandably, the Establishment is angry. Now they want to know who gave Jesus the authority to do these things.

  • Jesus turns the tables on the trap they set for Him.

  • Notice what the Establishment fears the most: "They feared the people... (v32)."

  • If you're not properly fearing God, then you'll be fearing people in one way or another.


Figs were often used as a metaphor for Israel. Read Jeremiah 24:1-10 for an example.


Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:

  1. EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Bible: In this chapter’s account of Jesus in the temple, we read that He began driving out the buyers and sellers, and overturned the tables of the money-changers and the benches of those selling doves. This account also mentions one more thing Jesus did, besides reminding them about the true meaning of the temple. What was this other action that Jesus took? (See verse 16.)

  2. This cursing of the fig tree is the last miracle recorded in Mark before Jesus’ death. As you recall the other miracles you’ve seen in this book, what would you say are the reasons Jesus performed miracles?

Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament

Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, to whom we cry out for salvation - Hosanna!

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will faithfully bear the fruit you have promised to bear for God, so you're not full of empty promises like the fig tree.