Guest Post: Mark Eleven by Karissa Long

Each week throughout the ReMarkAble series at First Baptist Church, we will have a guest post from various pastors, church planters, missionaries, professors, bloggers, etc. I will always post them on Tuesdays. This week, Karissa Long has provided her reflections on Mark's eleventh chapter.

Karissa received her Bachelor’s degree in ESL Education and Bible from the University of Northwestern Saint Paul.  She and her husband Matt (along with their 2 year old son Ty) recently completed training with New Tribes Mission.  They are currently raising support in hopes to be tribal church planters in Papua New Guinea among a tribe that has never heard the gospel.

What does this chapter tell us about who Jesus is?

(v.1-11)  The first thing we see about Jesus is that He is the Messiah, because He fulfills yet another prophecy from the Old Testament.  Zechariah 9:9b says, “See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”  Jesus rode in being praised as king, which He is, but he also chose to ride in on a lowly donkey, showing His humility.

(v.15-18- clearing the temple)  The next thing we see about Jesus is that He cared more about what God’s Word said than trying not to offend anyone.  Many people paint Jesus as merely a meek and mild man who taught lots of nice morals.  Many people think that Christians are simply called to be nice.  However, we are called to so much more than being “nice”—we are called to love, and part of love is having the courage to confront our fellow believers on their sin.  Now, this isn’t just a license to speak our minds and offend, rather it is a model of taking Scripture seriously.  Jesus defended His actions with Scripture, quoting Isaiah 56:7, that God’s house is to be a house of prayer for all nations.  Jesus cared more about what God’s Word says than what people would think.

What does this chapter tell us about what it means to follow Jesus?

 (v.1-11)  How can it be that in just one week, people went from praising Jesus to wanting Him crucified?  I believe that part of the reason is that they came to Jesus with their expectations of what He would do for them (they expected Him to defeat Rome and re-establish the Jewish kingdom on Earth), rather than asking what His will was and what He expected of them, as a follower of Jesus should.

(v.22-26) Jesus tells his disciples that through God, they have the power to move mountains.  As Jesus’ followers, we can expect much affirmatively answered prayer.  I think we often pray not really expecting God to answer.  However, praying and receiving what we have asked should be a normal occurrence in the Christian life.  There are two conditions given here- we have to have faith that God can and will do it, and we need to come to God having forgiven others.  1 John 5:14 adds an additional condition that says that what we ask must be in accordance with His will.  This explains why sometimes we ask with the right heart, but God still chooses to say no, because of His sovereign plan.

What in particular stands out to you from this chapter in Mark?

(v.12-22) The cursing of the fig tree is to me the most confusing part of this passage, especially because it says, “it was not the season for figs.”  So why would Jesus curse the tree for not having figs?  According to MacArthur’s study Bible, figs and leaves usually appeared on a tree around the same time.  So, the amount of leaves on the tree would lead one to believe that it was full of fruit, but it wasn’t.  This could be a representation of people who have the appearance of godliness on the outside, but they don’t bear any spiritual fruit.

Questions for application:

  • How can you better live like Jesus by serving others humbly today?

  • Is there a close friend of yours who is a believer with sin in their life they are not dealing with?  Can you love them enough to talk with them about it?

  • Are you coming to Jesus merely for what He can give to you?

  • How much time do you spend in prayer?  Do you really believe God answers prayer?

  • Do you spend more time trying to look spiritual to others, or asking God to change you from the inside?