ON TO JERSALEM
Entry into Jerusalem (11: 1-11)
1. Roman authorities and the high priest do not take any action at this "entry" of Jesus with a huge crowd esp. at Passover time.
2. "Lord" is a resurrection title – Jesus seems to declare himself here (earlier Messianic secret)
3. "The colt" – how could Jesus know about this? The yoke has not yet been put on the animal and such an animal is slaughtered for sin (some sin). There is reference to a "red heifer" in Num 19:2 ® "upon which yoke ….." Deut 21:3 ® "never been worked ….. yoke……"
EXPLANATION: Understand the symbolism :
Zechariah 9:9 ® Jesus fulfils this prophecy
· "leafy branches" = Mk does not specify palms.
(Mt ® "branches from the trees)
(Lk ® Nil. Jn. Nil)
· "Hosanna …." = from Ps 118: 25-26
= meaning is "save please"
= here it is more a greeting of homage
Cursing of the fig tree (11: 12- 14)
· In Mk, first the cursing, then the "cleansing" and then the explanation of the cursing.
· Problematic: only miracle in Jerusalem, destroys property (cfr "pigs" in ch 5), Jesus' behaviour seems irrational and destructive.
· OT background is a series of passages about plants and their fruits: Is 1:30: "be … withers"
Ezekiel 17:9 – "uproot …. withers…."
Amos 2: 9 –
· Figs in Palestine are not ripe before June
· A symbolic story focussing on Israel's lack of readiness to accept Jesus or his message of the kingdom. Hence "may you stand condemned."
· The fig tree was a common OT image for Israel (Hos 9:10). Jesus' cursing of the fig tree would symbolically stand for his anger with the Jewish people (lace of belief and their acceptance of him)
· Story is also linked with the cleansing of the temple.
· The withered fig-tree is meant to symbolise the fruitless side of Jewish piety in Jesus' time.
Cleansing of the Temple (11: 15-19)
· The prophecy in Is 56:6-7
"make them (foreigners) joyful in my house of prayers…." The temple will be opened to foreigners.
· Jer 7:8 – 11 – "become a den of robbers …" (v-11)
· The money-changers gave out Jewish coins in exchange for Greek or Roman money
Explanation of the fig tree (11:20-26 )
· Mark drives home the point of prayer and faith
· Prayer + forgiveness
5 controversy stories + 1 parable
1. On whose authority 1:27 - 33
* 2. Parable of the tenants 12:1 – 12
3. Paying taxes to Caesar 12: 13-17
4. On the resurrection 12:18-27
5. The great commandment 12:28-34
6. On David's Son 12:35-37
1. On whose authority 11:27-33 (v/s Scribes ch. Priests and elders)
· The question was designed to trap Jesus into a public claim that his authority was from God thus laying the groundwork for a charge of blasphemy (cfr. 14:64)
· The prime movers of the plot against Jesus are the Chief Priests, Scribes, Elders.
· The reference is to Jesus' cleansing of the Temple.
· The dilemma: If they admitted the divine origin of JB's baptism they would leave to explain why they did no accept is/him.
If they denied the divine origin they would run the risk of opposition from the general public who believed JB to be a prophet from God.
2.PARABLE OF THE TENANTS (12:1 –12)
The parable is an allegory:
· Vineyard = Israel; owner = God
· Tenants = Israel's leaders, Son = Jesus
· Servants = prophets, others = Gentiles
· Punishment = destruction of the leadership seen in the destruction of the Temple
Difference in Mt and Lk
(21:33 – 46)
Mt= many servants
Mk = 1 servant, 1 servant, many
Lk = servants go one by one
Absentee landlords sent servants or rent collectors during the year
· "Vineyard" = Is 5:1-2
· hedge was to keep animals out
· winepress = for pressing the grapes into wine.
· tower = a place for watchmen/shelter
· Servants are given worse and worse treatment ® beating, wounding, shameful treatment, death.
· "stone" which the builders…." = Ps 118: 22-23
· corner-stone = holds the walls of the building together
Conclusion: The parable comments on the hostility of the Jewish leaders towards Jesus. The kingdom of God will now be open to non-Jesus (Gentiles).
3.PAYING TAXES TO CAESAR (12: 13-17) v/s Pharisees & Herodious
· Jesus goes on to challenge his audience to be as exact in serving God as they are in serving Caesar.
· Payment of tax was in Roman coinage and a reminder to the Jesus of their subjugation.
· The trap: If Jesus said its OK to pay taxes then he will be discredited among Jewish nationalists for collaboration with Rome.
If he says 'no' then he will be seen as a revolutionary and a danger to Rome.
· Since the coins in which the tax is to be paid are Roman coins and belong to the Emperor, paying the tax is simply a matter of giving back to the Emperor what already belonged to him.
· "things of God" = a spiritual challenge to meet one's obligations to God as conscientiously as one meets obligations to the State.
4. ON THE RESURRECTION (12:18-27) v/s. Sadducees
· Sadducees did not believe in the Resurrection because of the silence of the Pentatauch on this.
· They quote Deut 25: 5-10 = marrying the husband's brother if he died
· Jesus uses this occasion ("trap") to speak about resurrected life.
· He uses Ex 3:6,15 – 16 = "god of the living." God's power can overcome death and give life.
· The angelic character of the resurrected is explained by Jesus.
5. The Great Commandment (12:28 –34) controversy v/s a scribe
· Jesus' answer combines 2 OT quotations Deut 6: 4-5 ® "the Shema" (which a Jew had to say twice a day) & Lev. 19:18 ® "love your neighbour……"
· The Scribe has a lack of hostility and is complimented by Jesus in the end. His attitude and sincere desire to learn make the incident into a learning exercise rather than controversy.
· "holocausts and sacrifices" cfr. Hos 6:6, 1Sam 15:22
6. David's son = 12:35 - 37
· a complicated argument on Ps 110:1 – Lord … lord. The title "son of David" does not exhaustively define the Messiah.
· Jesus is something more. He is Lord (Kyrios) and much greater than David – he is GOD.
· Lord (God) said to "my Lord" is someone different from and superior to David i.e. Jesus. Jesus is more than "son of David"
Attack on the Scribes: (12: 28-40)
· The hypocritical scribes are the opposite of what Jesus wants his disciples to be.
· Jesus warns the Scribes about their search for honour and prestige (12:38-39) and robbing widows under the pretence of piety .
· Scribes were the interpreters of the law.
· They could serve as trustees of a widow's estate
· A common way of receiving their fee was a share in the estate. Perhaps they raised their fees in certain situations (against Ex 22:21 )
These lawyers will receive a stiff condemnation at the last judgement which is the highest court of all.
The Widow's Mite: 12:41 – 44.
· The woman is contrasted v/s the greedy scribes.
· "2 copper coins" were the smallest coins in circulation at that time.
· The widow makes a real sacrifice to support the temple whereas the rich simply gave out of their surplus.
· The end of the story signifies total dependence on God. The widow is part of the "anawim "
Jesus' final discourse: (13:1-37) Division:
a) destruction of the Temple (13:2)
b) future events (13: 5-13)
c) the great tribulation (13:14 – 23)
d) the triumph of the Son of Man (13:24-27)
e) exhortation to confidence and vigilance (13:28-37)
a) In predicting the destruction of the Temple, Jesus stood in the Tradition of the OT prophets.
Mic 3:12 –
Jer 26: 18 –
· Temple destroyed in AD 70 by the Romans.
b) Jesus' message is one of patient endurance in the face of cosmic upheavals and persecutions. "wait-and-see the coming of God's kingdom"
· Early Christians leaders and teachers may have claimed to be reincarnations of Jesus. They claimed to be Jesus come back from the right hand of God cfr. 13: 21-23
The coming of the KOG will be preceded by wars, uprisings, earthquakes, famines – these are all part of the divine plan. The example used is of a woman giving birth.
· From world events the focus shifts to the fate of the disciples – they will suffer persecution. They will encounter opposition from Jews and Gentiles
· "brother will betray brother ….." (within the family too)
c) "desolating sacrilege" = abomination of desolation cfr. Dan 9;27,11:31, 12:11 1Macc 1:54, 59
Antiochus IV Epiphanes erected an altar in the Temple and slaughtered unclean animals on it. Later, put his own statue (in 168 BC)
· Later Emperor Caligula will do the same.
v-19 // Dan 12:1 – "time of trouble ….
· God has established a time schedule for the coming of the kingdom (Dan 12:7)
d) Cosmic portents/signs are taken from the OT:
Is 13:10, Ezek 32:7, Amos 8:9, Joel 2:10, 31
i.e. all creation will signal his coming.
"clouds"- Dan 7:13 – applied to Jesus
· The gathering of the elect will take place.
2 parables ............the fig tree
man going on a journey
3 sayings (13:30, 13:31, 13:32)
Catch phrases = these things (29), pass away (30), watch (33), gate (29)
"heaven & earth will pass away" = Os 51:6, 40:8
· The door-keeper must be ready for the master's return (v-34). Since the exact time is not known, constant vigilance is required .