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Mark - Who is Christ?
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to MARK
PART 6 Jesus' Entry Into Jerusalem and His Last Works (Mark 10:46 - 12:44)

3. Jesus Curses the Fig Tree and Cleanses the Temple (Mark 11:11-19)

MARK 11:11-19
11 Jesus entered into the temple in Jerusalem. When he had looked around at everything, it being now evening, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. 12 The next day, when they had come out from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 Seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came to see if perhaps he might find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 Jesus told it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” and his disciples heard it. 15 They came to Jerusalem, and Jesus entered into the temple, and began to throw out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of those who sold the doves. 16 He would not allow anyone to carry a container through the temple. 17 He taught, saying to them, “Isn’t it written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations?’ But you have made it a den of robbers!” 18 The chief priests and the scribes heard it, and sought how they might destroy him. For they feared him, because all the multitude was astonished at his teaching. 19 When evening came, he went out of the city.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, he did not go up to the court of the palace to meet the rulers of the people, though he came as a King, but he went into the temple of God, the center of holiness, where he saw the multitudes who prayed without thought, and were interested in changing money to buy sacrificial animals. He did not observe repentance in the hearts, but heard the noise of the traders who had lost the sense of God’s presence. Jesus looked at the city, and into the eyes of the people, and read their sin, their abomination, their pride, their lusts, and their malice. Then he went sorrowfully out of the city of peace, which instead was filled with hatred and murder.

As the beautiful cedar tree symbolizes Lebanon, so the fig tree and the olive tree symbolize those of the old covenant. A peculiarity of the fig tree is that the fruit and leaves usually appear at the same time, with the fruit sometimes coming first. When Jesus passed by this particular tree he saw it covered with leaves, in which case it should have had ripened figs on it, although the time of ripe figs was in June. But there was not so much as one fig to be found on it. Therefore Christ punished that tree and took the blessing from it, that it might not bear fruit any longer.

Thus, we see that the old covenant has no power, for the Mosaic Law is unable to bear acceptable fruits to God. In fact, we find in the Old Testament, as in the fig tree, many leaves in books that are filled with statutes, judgments, laws, prayers, and rituals, but they are void of true repentance, eternal forgiveness, and the power of love.

Jerusalem was not the holy city indeed, for it did not receive Jesus, as it should. Therefore, destruction and condemnation began gradually.

As he came back to the city the next day, Jesus marked the beginning of his kingdom. He neither preached, nor healed, but came once again into the temple, and drove out the merchants, the moneychangers, and the noisy crowds from the courts and porches, to show that the nation’s reformation begins with religious reformation, and not with economic organization, public instigation, revolution, or sacrifice.

Christ wants also to cleanse your heart, change your mind, and sanctify your body. He is not pleased to see an evil spirit, hidden hatred, or love of money dwelling in you, but wants to dwell himself in you, that your body may become a temple of God filled with his Spirit.

It is the same with your church. Christ does not allow strange spirits to meet, but he wants all to become broken before his holiness, and the elders and the young to obey the claims of his gospel with sincere prayers, that he may dwell in you in groups and individually, and that you may become altogether the temple of God. Your pure walk and mutual love prove God’s presence in you.

PRAYER: O lord Jesus, we worship you for you are the true High Priest, the King who has power and authority, and the Lawgiver in whom is all wisdom and truth. We confess before you that our hearts are unclean before your glory. We think much, read, and write, but our good deeds are few, and you ask of us all the fruits of your Holy Spirit. Forgive our sins, and anoint us with your power, that we may become Christians who do your pleasure, spreading your love to our nation, that many may turn to you, and that you may dwell in those who are broken in heart, that we altogether be a holy temple of your presence with us. Amen.


  1. Why did Jesus cleanse the temple?


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