Fulfilling Old Testament Prophecies
Review 10:46-52 Faith of the blind man. Last miracle (positive) recorded in Mark. First time Jesus is called by the messianic title Son of David not Jesus of Nazareth. Bartimaeus would not be quiet. He had faith, he had no doubt heard of Jesus and made the connection somehow that Jesus was the Son of David. Why did Jesus ask him what he wanted? Jesus wanted him to express his faith by communicating his need. Mark gives us the blind man’s generic reply Rabbi I want to see. The more literal gives us Rabboni, I want to see again. Rabboni meaning My Lord, My Teacher. And he followed Jesus along the road.
11:12-14 Cursing the Fig Tree – Day 2. It was common for fig trees to produce an early small fruit during the month of March. Thus what follows is a living parable. Jesus expected the fig tree to have some early fruit and it did not. Jesus’ words to the fig tree are similar to those of the Lord through Jeremiah 8:13. The cursing of the fig tree points to the fate of Jerusalem and the temple. Jesus is giving a dramatization of the end of the temple for as the temple was spiritually deceptive, in like manner the leafy fig tree was also with its false promise of fruit. With all the commerce within the temple it had become a place for robbers or outlaws as we will see in a few verses (11:17). Thus the cursing of the fig tree was symbolic of God’s coming judgment on the temple.
11:15-19 Clearing the Temple. The clearing of the temple was a specific reprimand of the chief priests and teachers of the law condemning their religious exploitation, especially when Jesus quoted from Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11 in verse 17. The quote from Jeremiah would be particularly stinging as it comes from a time when the people’s lives were in complete contradiction to empty worship they offered. While the chief priests and teachers of the law fumed and raged in anger and wanted Him dead they let Him continue preaching and healing as they were afraid of the people. So, as Matthew notes the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple and He healed them 21:14 throughout the rest of the day. Of interest is the market place in the temple was in the area set aside for Gentiles who had become proselytes to Judaism.
11:20-26 The Fig Tree Lesson Completed. Day 3 begins. Note Jesus’ initial reply to Peter and the disciples Have faith in God as God is to be the object and the center of their faith, not His miracles. The expression on the removing of mountains was a common rabbinical figure of speech suggesting doing what was impossible. This is not a Name it and Claim it, but an admonishment to love, to forgive. Avoid the incredible arrogance of thinking you do not have to consider God’s will when you come to Him in prayer. James 4:2c-3 addresses this directly as well You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. Paul emphasized what Jesus told them in 1 Corinthians 13:2 when he said if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. Bottom line, answered prayer is dependent on forgiveness.
11:27-33 The Servants Authority. By whose authority? They did not believe John was a prophet, but dared not to say so. Nor could they admit John’s baptism was from heaven because then Jesus would ask the painful question on why they did not repent and get baptized by John as a sign of their repentance? In their none-answer they unwittingly disqualified themselves from being religious authorities…leading Jesus to the parables in the next chapter.
So do we put our faith in God and seek His will or are we merely listening to the Word, but not putting it into practice as those in Ezekiel 33:30-32 “As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.