The Way - Day 102 (Mark 11)

Daily Reading:
Mark 11
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
In Mark 11:25 Jesus calls for forgiveness if one holds unforgiveness in their hearts in prayer a) Once a month, b) Once a year, or c) every prayer?  Does this truth hold for you?  How can you work this more faithfully into your prayer life today?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 34:8
OPTION 2: Proverbs 15:1-2
OPTION 3: Matthew 5:43-44
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Mark 11 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Mark 11:1-11, 15-19
As Jesus and His disciples near Jerusalem, He commands them to "Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it" (11:2). The disciples go out to find a colt and bring it back to Jesus (11:4-6). When they return with the colt, they "threw their clothes on it and He sat on it. And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road" (11:7-8). Spreading their clothes on the street was customary for greeting a new king and placing palm branches on it was an act of celebration for the coming king. The actions of the people in this instance was not just the welcoming of any king, but the promised Messiah who cast out demons, healed the sick, and brought to life the dead. The crowd cried out, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" Their shouts indicated that they believed Jesus was the One sent from God who would establish the kingdom promised to David's Son.

Jesus finally arrives in Jerusalem where He enters the temple and "began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and seats of those who sold doves. And He would not allow anyone to carry wares [containers filled with products to sell] through the temple" (11:15-16). Jesus then rebuked them for using a place of worship as a "den of thieves" (11:17). The money changers were in the temple "court to exchange Greek and Roman coins for Jewish or Tyrian coins which pilgrims had to use for the annual half-shekel payment for temple religious services. A fee as high as 10 or 12 percent was assessed for this exchange service" (MacArthur Study Bible, p.1486). The temple had become a place of profit instead of providing a refuge for worship and praise to God. Jesus demanded that these actions cease so the temple could return to its rightful use. The scribes and Pharisees witnessed Jesus actions so from that time forward they devised a plan to put Him to death. The actions of Jesus in the temple should really challenge us about the reverence and respect which is due to God alone. Jesus was calling for a radical cleansing of those whose hearts were far from Him. Our approach to God in worship is very important and any obstacles which distract must be confessed and forsaken.

Mark 11:12-14, 20-33
As Jesus and His disciples went outside the city of Bethany, Jesus was hungry and desired something to eat (11:12). He sees a fig tree in the distance so He approaches it only to find no fruit (11:13). From every appearance, this tree should have had fruit but its leaves gave a false impression. Jesus reacts to this disappointing finding and says, "Let no one eat fruit from you ever again" (11:14). Even though it was not the "season for figs" the tree should have been bearing some fruit - the season was only a month away. This situation goes a little deeper than just fig trees. In the Old Testament, fig trees were often symbolic of the nation of Israel. He may have been using this tree as an illustration of Israel's failure to obey God although they attempted to appear as if they loved Him.

The next morning as the disciples passed by the fig tree they noticed it had dried up (11:20), so Peter points this out to Jesus (11:21) who then uses their observation to teach a lesson about faith in God (11:22). He says, "whoever says to this mountain, 'be removed and be cast into the sea' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says" (11:23). I am assuming that the disciples did not understand Jesus' words as literal (i.e. they could really move mountains) otherwise we would have some type of manifestation of this miracle. However, Jesus was instructing them that faith in God alone will enable them to see Him do many wonderful works; in other words, God's power is accessible to those who evidence full dependence on God. Jesus goes on to say, "whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them" (11:24). They key here is that faith cannot be in self or other things. Our trust must be in God's ability to make the impossible happen and through us He will accomplish great things. Jesus is not speaking of selfish requests, but asking for those things which really count for His glory.

Dear God, may I be a person of faith who trusts You to do the impossible. As a result of my faith in You, may You receive the honor and glory which You deserve.