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Mark Chapter Eleven


I. Content of the Chapter


The Service of the Bondman the Savior in Jerusalem

A.   Who rode upon the colt into the city of Jerusalem (v.1-10);

B.   Who went out to Bethany to spend the night and cursed the fig tree the next day when they came back the city (v.11-14);

C.   Who purified the Holy Temple (v. 15-18);

D.   Who taught His disciples about faith and prayer through the matter of the fig tree that dried up in the morning of the third day (v.19-26);

E.   Who answered the Jewish leaders concerning the question about authority (v.27-33);


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Mark. 11:1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples;

YLT: “And when they come nigh to Jerusalem, to Bethphage, and Bethany, unto the mount of the Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,”

Meaning of Words: “Bethphage”: house of green (immature) figs;

Literal Meaning: “came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives,” “the Mount of Olives” sat on the east of Jerusalem; “Bethphage” was a village close to Bethany on the south of the Mount of Olive (see Matt. 21:17).

Spiritual Meaning: “Bethphage” means “the house of green figs” in the original. Figs symbolize the kingdom of Israel and the people of Israel (see Jer. 24:5). God hopes to gain a group of people on earth to satisfy Him as figs.

  Jerusalem was the capital of God’s elect. Of right, the Messiah should be welcomed and be respected by all the people in Jerusalem when He is coming to Jerusalem. However, according to the record in this chapter, when the Lord came to Jerusalem, though there was a group of the multitudes giving welcome and exalting the Messiah, their welcome was very superficial. What was worse, He was even rejected by the leaders of Judaism. These conditions were just like what the original meaning of “Bethphage” represented. The figs were still green ---- the Jews had not been ready for receiving the Messiah.


Mark. 11:2 and He said to them, "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.

YLT: “and saith to them, `Go away to the village that is over-against you, and immediately, entering into it, ye shall find a colt tied, on which no one of men hath sat, having loosed it, bring”

The Background: “donkey” is a docile animal. Before the general use of horses among the Jews in the old times, donkeys were used as the mount for the king (see Judg. 10:4, 12:14, 2Sam. 16:2). Since donkeys were not as powerful as horses, the Bible compared donkeys with horses to show the lowliness and meekness of the one who rode upon the donkey (see Zech. 9:9-10).

  “On which no one has sat”, the consecrated animal should be never used by men (see Num. 19:2; Deut 21:3; 1Sam. 6:7).

Literal Meaning: “go into the village opposite you”, it was recorded in the Book of Matthew that the Lord sent the disciples in Bethphage to the village opposite (see Matt.21:1-2), so the village opposite might refer to Bethany. The Lord Jesus and the disciples went out to Bethany that night (see v.11), and the donkey might be given back to the owner by the way.

“You will find a colt tied”, “colt” refers to the young and immature donkey.

Spiritual Meaning: here the colt has the following meanings:

1. “Colt” represents man in the world.

2. They were “tied” there, typifying that men in the world, without freedom, are tied by livelihood, family and work.

3. The place where they are tied is “the village opposite”, typifying that it is in the world.

4. The Lord asked the disciples to “loosen” them, typifying that the Lord sent His servants (believers) to deliver us from the world and sins. 

5. They “were brought to the Lord”, typifying that our being saved is that we are brought to the Lord.

6. The aim that the Lord saves us is that “the Lord has need of them” (see v.3), typifying that the Lord hopes that after we have been saved, we will dedicate ourselves to Him for His need.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    There is authority in the words of the Lord. Only those who have obtained the words of the Lord will be “loosened” and be delivered.

2)    The Lord could ride a colt “on which no one has sat”, and He could also deal with a man who has never obeyed Him. No matter how hard we are before the Lord, He can always do with us.

3)    The fruit devoted to the Lord is the first-fruit. The bull offered to God should never come yoke, and the colt given to the Lord should also be the one “on which no one has sat”. We should devote the best to the Lord for His need.

4)    The one who has been delivered has to be brought to the Lord (“bring them to me”) so that the Lord can use him.


Mark. 11:3 And if anyone says to you, "Why are you doing this?' say, "The Lord has need of it,' and immediately he will send it here."

YLT: “and if any one may say to you, Why do ye this? say ye that the lord hath need of it, and immediately he will send it hither.'”

Literal Meaning: “the Lord has need of them”, “the Lord” is the Lord Jesus Himself.

  “And immediately he will send them.” “He” is the master of the colt (see Luke. 19:33). “Immediately he will…”, it showed that the master has no hesitation to obey the Lord’s authority.

   Spiritual Meaning: we believers were under the master of the world and were bound by things of the world and sins. However, one day, when the mighty words of the Lord came upon us, we had been immediately delivered from the power of darkness and dedicated ourselves to the Lord for His need.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)      Once the master of the colt heard that the Lord had need of them, he answered it “immediately”. Once we believers hear the Lord’s words, we should obey it “immediately”.

2)      Since our physical body, intelligence, belongings are of the Lord, when the Lord has the need of them, we shall “immediately” devote them with joy.

3)      That the Lord’s disciples accomplished the work was only on account of the Lord’s words ---- “the Lord has need of them”. This work was apparently done by the disciples, but actually the Lord’s word had taken the responsibility of them. Likewise, when we serve the Lord today, no matter preaching the gospels or seeing the saints, it seems that it is we believers are doing the work. However, the work will truly be effective only if the Lord’s word takes the responsibility.


Mark. 11:4 So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it.

YLT: “And they went away, and found the colt tied at the door without, by the two ways, and they loose it,”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    We should trust and obey His words without any doubt.

2)    No matter what the Lord commands, as long as we obey it, it shall be as it was told.


Mark. 11:5 But some of those who stood there said to them, "What are you doing, loosing the colt?"

YLT: “and certain of those standing there said to them, `What do ye -- loosing the colt?'”


Mark. 11:6 And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go.

YLT: “and they said to them as Jesus commanded, and they suffered them.”

Meaning of Words: “let…go”: leave, remit, and forgive;

Enlightenment in the Word: “and they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded.” ---- What the Lord had said was the best answer (see Matt. 10:19-20).


Mark. 11:7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it.

YLT: “And they brought the colt unto Jesus, and did cast upon it their garments, and he sat upon it,”

Literal Meaning: “laid their clothes on them”, here they used clothes as saddles.

Spiritual Meaning: “clothes” symbolized our external beauty and conduct. The Lord sat on the cloths, showing that: 1) He was highly exalted and glorified; 2) men would personally experience His kingship through obedience; 3) we should walk with the purpose of the manifestation of His glory.


Mark. 11:8 And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

YLT: “and many did spread their garments in the way, and others were cutting down branches from the trees, and were strewing in the way.”

Literal Meaning: “a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road”, “a very great multitude”, since the Passover was coming, many people from various regions came to Jerusalem for the feast. “Spread their clothes on the road”, it was an act to show allegiance and respect to the king (see 2Kings. 9:13).

  “Others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.” ---- “Branches” refer to those branches with young leaves. In the old days, when the Jews showed their welcome to the king, they might pave the way with branches, burgeons, reeds and etc as a piece of carpet that men could walk on or lie down upon it.

Spiritual Meaning: the Lord sat on the colt and men spread clothes and branches of trees on the road. There were meanings as follows:

    1. Men (clothes), animals (colt) and plants (branches) are the representation of all things, showing that the Lord might have the first place in all things (Col. 1:18) and all things are under His feet (Eph. 1:22).

  2. Clothes represent men’s outward behaviors of righteousness (Rev. 19:8). Branches are the branches of palms (see John. 12:13), representing men’s inward joy (see Lev. 23:40) and the overcoming life (see Rev. 7:9). “Spreading…on the road”, it refers to the separation from earthly things. The whole sentence shows that believers, in life and behavior, shall manifest the difference between what is of earth and what is of the Lord.

  3. Believers shall magnify Christ by their beings and works, thus the world will be made known Christ’s being and works.

Enlightenment in the Word: the faithful servant the Lord Jesus obeyed unto death, so He faced Jerusalem ---- where He gave His life and went ahead without any fear, so God proved Him by the welcome of all things. Likewise, all those who do not flee from the cross and obey unto death will enjoy the welcome of all things with Christ that day (see Rom. 8:18-19).


Mark. 11:9 Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna! "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!'

YLT: “And those going before and those following were crying out, saying, `Hosanna! blessed he who is coming in the name of the Lord;”

Literal Meaning: “hosanna” means “beseeching for salvation immediately” (see Ps. 118:15). The word can be used as praise and contains the meaning that “you are mighty and only you are worthy”. The multitudes rejoiced and sang praise, because they thought Jesus, the savior of their nation, came to reign and lead the Jews to resist the domination of the Roman Empire and establish the kingdom of the Messiah.

    “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD”. ---- This song of praise was the blessing to the pilgrims (see Ps. 118:26). Here the multitudes mentioned it and the praise for the Messiah together and therefore “He who comes in the name of the LORD” was the coming Messiah, i.e. Jesus who appeared before them.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    When the Lord sat on the colt (v.7), the multitudes spread clothes on the road (v.8) and then the multitudes praised Him. In like manner, when we fully obey the Lord, the Lord will be highly exalted above all and become the center of praise.

2)    When the glorious Lord appears to us, we can’t refrain from rejoicing and singing praise.


Mark. 11:10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David That comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"

YLT: “blessed is the coming reign, in the name of the Lord, of our father David; Hosanna in the highest.'”

Literal Meaning: “the kingdom of our father David That comes”, it refers to the kingdom of the Messiah.

“Hosanna in the highest!” ---- It means that: 1) since the Messiah comes, glory shall be given to God who is in the highest; 2) may the angels and the hosts of heaven (see Ps. 148:1-2) also sing “Hosanna” loudly in heaven.


Mark. 11:11 And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.

YLT: “And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple, and having looked round on all things, it being now evening, he went forth to Bethany with the twelve.”

Literal Meaning: “He went out of the city of Bethany”, “Bethany” was a small village at the southern foot of the Olive Mount, outside of the city of Jerusalem. There was the family of Martha, Mary and Lazarus (see John. 11:1-5, 18) and the family of Simon the leper (see Matt. 26:6) in whose house Mary did a good work (see 14:3-6, John. 12:3).

Spiritual Meaning: the city of Jerusalem typifies the Christian organization which has fallen and deteriorated as well as the so-called church. They have a name that they live, and are dead (Rev. 3:1). The Lord couldn’t have rest there and left them and went out of the city to find another place of rest.

  “Bethany” means “the house of figs”. Figs symbolize the fruit of life, and life is the spiritual reality. There was spiritual reality in Bethany and the Lord found rest there. It was no wonder that the Lord Jesus went out to Bethany and dwelled there every night during His last weak in the world (see v.19; Luke. 21:37).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    A normal church should be full of life (Lazarus), love (Mary) and service (Martha) so that the Lord will have rest.

2)    Christ only dwells in our hearts by our faith and love (see Eph. 3:17).


Mark. 11:12 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry.

YLT: “And on the morrow, they having come forth from Bethany, he hungered,”

Spiritual Meaning: “He was hungry”, it symbolized that the Lord was unsatisfied.


Mark. 11:13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.

YLT: “and having seen a fig-tree afar off having leaves, he came, if perhaps he shall find anything in it, and having come to it, he found nothing except leaves, for it was not a time of figs,”

The Background: the fig tree normally begins to bear fruit in February according to the solar calendar and then sprouts and comes into leaves. It will be full of dense green leaves in April and May, with every fruit under every leaf. Most of the fruit shall not be ripe until June, and yet some of it may be precocious. According to the time in this chapter, it was close to the Passover (see 14:1) ---- the period round about March and April according to the solar calendar. Therefore, it was unreasonable that the fig free had nothing but leaves.

Literal Meaning: “seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves”, the fig tree is the typology of the kingdom of Israel (see Jer. 24:5, Hos. 9:10). The Jews were righteous in their own eyes, proud and considered them above all nations and despised others. Therefore, they were a fig tree by the road.

Spiritual Meaning: God planted the Israel like planting a fig tree, in the hope of satisfying His needs. When the Lord Jesus came among the Israel (returned to the city), He came with the need of God (hungry) and found the fruit of life in them. However, they found nothing, but some outward appearance and ceremonies of worshiping God (“but leaves”).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Today, many believers just like the Israel, only have the form of piety and do not have the power of it (2Tim. 3:5) ---- have nothing but leaves ---- this makes the Lord unsatisfied.

2)    If we only pay attention to the reasons but ignore the spiritual word, we may be Christians have leaves but no fruit in the sight of the Lord.

3)    The Lord who came to be the practical provision as well as the fig tree that looks impressive but worthless is a strong comparison.


Mark. 11:14 In response Jesus said to it, "Let no one eat fruit from you ever again." And His disciples heard it.

YLT: “and Jesus answering said to it, `No more from thee -- to the age -- may any eat fruit;' and his disciples were hearing.”

Spiritual Meaning: “let no fruit grow on you ever again,” it predicted that the people of Israel would be rejected. Someone says that, all the signs that Jesus had done in His life had manifested His love. Only this time He showed His anger ---- the anger that was done in a tree instead of a man. Therefore, the Lord was merciful in His anger and He warned them with the type.

    The words of the Lord had been really fulfilled in history. In A. D. 70, the city of Jerusalem was destroyed and then the people of Israel were scattered to different parts of the world captive until the 20 century. When the end of the world was coming, the kingdom of Israel restored just like the situation that the branch of fig tree is tender and puts forth leaves (see 13:28) and there is still no fruit (only a tiny minority of the Jews are Christians today).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    If believers do not bear fruit, they will be taken away, cast out and dried up (John. 15:2, 6).

2)    The value of the existence of all things is to satisfy and please the Lord of all. Otherwise, there is no need for them to live.

3)    The fruit that we can give the Lord is the statue of Christ in us. May the Lord continue do the work of increasing “Christ” in us, lest we should be rejected.


Mark. 11:15 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.

YLT: “And they come to Jerusalem, and Jesus having gone into the temple, began to cast forth those selling and buying in the temple, and the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those selling the doves, he overthrew,”

The Background: at that time, businessmen were allowed by the priests in the Holy Temple to do business in the outer court of the Gentiles and sell oxen, sheep and doves which would be used in the offering and sacrifices. In addition, since the Holy Temple did not collect Greek or Roman coins, the Jews had to use the appointed Hebrew coins (see Ex 30:13-15) when they paid the tax of the temple and tribute and offered their offerings. Therefore, there were money changers who brought convenience to those foreign pilgrims. It seemed apparently right about these commercial conducts, but they actually carried critical crises as below: (a) the buying and selling in the areas of the Holy Temple would defile the divine places. (b) The right of worshipping God of the Gentiles would be deprived of when the business occupied the outer court of the Gentiles. (c) The priests colluded with the businessmen ---- the priests supplied much convenience to the businessmen (e.g. the priests had only loose and careless check of the sacrifices, and even the sacrifices with blemish were regarded as qualified ones), and the business profited in high price ---- and then, the priests and the businessmen divided the extortionate profits.

Literal Meaning: “He drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple.” ---- “Temple” is “the sacred place” in the original. It refers to the temple itself, its surroundings, and the whole area of the yards; “in the temple”: the yard of the Holy Temple was open to the Gentiles.

  “The seats of those who sold doves” “doves” are used to sacrifice for the poor (see Lev. 12:8, 14:22, 15:14, 29).

Spiritual Meaning: God’s temple was the place where God inhabits (Eph. 2:21-22), but there were a group of people who bought and sold in the temple and held gain to be piety (1Tim. 6:5). That the Lord Jesus cleansed the Holy Temple shows that God cannot have rest in this kind of temple.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    When we are willing to let the Lord reign in our hearts, all the dirtiness, adulteration and sins in our hearts will be cleansed by Him. 

2)    The Lord dislikes us to make money (exchange money) through any spiritual thing or quench the spirit (sell the doves) and so on.


Mark. 11:16 And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple.

YLT: “and he did not suffer that any might bear a vessel through the temple,”

Literal Meaning: only the Book of Mark recorded this detail. Probably the yard of the Holy Temple was regarded by the common people as the main thoroughfare ---- a shortcut between the city of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olive.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Believers can not only held gain to be piety (1Tim. 5:5), nor seek their own gains through making use of the church.

2)    In the church of God, men’s works and the boast of works are both forbidden.


Mark. 11:17 Then He taught, saying to them, "Is it not written, "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a "den of thieves."'

YLT: “and he was teaching, saying to them, `Hath it not been written -- My house a house of prayer shall be called for all the nations, and ye did make it a den of robbers?'”

Meaning of Words: “den of thieves”: the lair of robbers;

Literal Meaning: this verse puts the verses in the Book of Isaiah (56:7) and that in the Book of Jeremiah (7:11) together.

  This was the second time for the Lord to cleanse the Holy Temple. When the Lord started to work, He had once cleansed the temple (see John. 2:13-17). Here when the Lord had almost finished His work, he did it again. The first time, He called the temple as “My Father’s house” (John. 2:16) because He cleansed the temple on the status of the Son of God. Here He called the temple “My house” because He is the Son of David ---- He cleansed the temple on the status of the Messiah.

  “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'?” ---- “A house of prayer for all nations”, it prophesied that the salvation would be preached all over the world. The gentile believers could also worship God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    God saves us to be His “temple” (see Heb. 3:6, “the house of God” is “the temple of God” in the original) and His dwelling place.

2)    “A house of prayer” is the place where men have fellowship with and work with God and glorify God. “A den of thieves” is the place where men usurp the benefits of God and make it heavily polluted that God has no rest there.

3)    The church and the spirit in us should be the house of prayer. But if Christ is not allowed to dwell there (see Eph. 3:17), they may become dens of thieves.

4)    Since we believers have become the spiritual temple of the Lord, we should not let the worldly possessions be filled in that become the den of thieves. We should often pray to the Lord and have fellowship with the Lord.

5)    Personal prayer is very important. However, for many times, the prayer of the church is much more powerful than personal prayer. Therefore we should always pray with other believers.


Mark. 11:18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching.

YLT: “And the scribes and the chief priests heard, and they were seeking how they shall destroy him, for they were afraid of him, because all the multitude was astonished at his teaching;”

Literal Meaning: “heard it and sought how they might destroy Him”, the reasons for the Jewish leaders who wanted to destroy Jesus might be that: (a) the Lord rebuked them that they had changed the Holy Temple to the den of thieves (v.17). (b) The Lord said He was equal to the Father (John 10:33). (c) He had violated the Sabbath (Matt. 12:10-14). (d) He had made Lazarus be raised (John 11:47, 53).

Spiritual Meaning: “the priests and scribes” represent religious leaders.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The Holy Temple at that time had become the den of thieves, but the Jewish leaders did not care for it. When the Lord Jesus came to cleanse it, they even tried to destroy Him. The religionists only sought godly appearance in order to hold gain. They rejected the spiritual reality lest their sins should be exposed.

2)    The nominal leaders of Christianity remain some religious customs but reject truth and attempt to destroy the truth.


Mark. 11:19 When evening had come, He went out of the city.

YLT: “and when evening came, he was going forth without the city.”

Literal Meaning: the Lord Jesus went to Bethany to spend the night when evening had come (see v.11).


Mark. 11:20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.

YLT: “And in the morning, passing by, they saw the fig-tree having been dried up from the roots,”

Literal Meaning: it was recorded in the Book of Matthew that the fig-tree was “immediately” dried up (see Matt. 21:19). The word “immediately” indicated it happened “very soon”. A tree was dries up within 24 hours, and it could be described as “immediately”. Therefore, there is no contradiction between the two books.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The fulfillment of the Lord’s word does not need too much time.

2)    All the corruptible things shall be exposed in short time.


Mark. 11:21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away."

YLT: “and Peter having remembered saith to him, `Rabbi, lo, the fig-tree that thou didst curse is dried up.'”

Literal Meaning: Peter told the Lord the fact that the fig tree had withered away with the purpose of ask Him why it dried so quickly (see Matt. 21:20).


Mark. 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God.

YLT: “And Jesus answering saith to them, `Have faith of God;”

Literal Meaning: “have faith in God”, that the fig tree had withered away was on account of the Lord’s word. However, the Lord did not say: “have faith in My word”, but said: “have faith in God”, showing that there was God’s power in His word or that God’s power was in His word.

Enlightenment in the Word: believers who speak in faith shall also manifest the power of God.


Mark. 11:23 For assuredly, I say to you, 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.

YLT: “for verily I say to you, that whoever may say to this mount, Be taken up, and be cast into the sea, and may not doubt in his heart, but may believe that the things that he saith do come to pass, it shall be to him whatever he may say.”

Literal Meaning: be removed and be cast into the sea”, “be removed and be cast”, the passive voice shows that the mountain’s being removed and being cast is neither its spontaneous movement nor out of men’s power, but God’s work.

“But believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says”, “will be done”, it is the fact in men’s faith; “will have”, it is the fact accomplished by God for men. The fact in faith is before the fact in reality.

Spiritual Meaning: “this mount”, it refers to the obstacles and difficulties blocking the way of believers and seeming to be too large to be removed.

    “Be removed and be cast into the sea”, removing the mount and casting it into the sea means that one shall overcome large and obstinate difficulties.

  These words of the Lord Jesus concerning faith were the answer to Peter’s problem with the dries fig tree, and included profound spiritual meaning. It is a sign of removing the mount and casting it into the sea, which can not be done by men, but God only. However, if we want to move God’s finger to remove the mount for us, we have to firstly “meet” His requirements. “Faith” is the only thing by which we can satisfy God. The Jews wanted to please God by the law (leaves) and consequently they were rejected by God. We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand (Rom. 5:2) and therefore faith is the “fruit” which satisfies God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Any trouble that is difficult to be solved by men can be solved by God.

2)    As long as we can move God’s finger, we shall not worry we can not move the large mountain. Faith enables us to move God’s finger.

3)    No matter how difficult the trouble is, as long as one has faith, he will overcome it.

4)    Sometimes we need to speak to the difficulty directly and refuse and rebuke the difficulty by faith.

5)    Let not the double minded man think that he shall receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-7).


Mark. 11:24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

YLT: “Because of this I say to you, all whatever -- praying -- ye do ask, believe that ye receive, and it shall be to you.”

Literal Meaning:believe that you receive them, and you will have them”, “receive” means you have already received; “will have” shows that you will have in the future. One has received in faith, and then will receive in the real fact. Faith, surpassing the time, can see things in future.

Spiritual Meaning: this verse shows that the sign of removing the mount and casting it into the sea is done by God. If man prays in faith, he will be answered by God who will remove the mountain and cast it into the sea. If man satisfies God by “faith”, God will reward men and men will “receive”.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    In the experience of believers’ prayers, it is “to believe that we receive them, and we will have them”. One must have “faith” inside first, and then enjoy the fulfillment in fact.

2)    Prayer is that men entreat for God. And prayer in faith is the prerequisite of being answered by God. Men draw God’s promise through faith.

3)    God will do great things if men trust Him without doubt. Prayer cannot be fulfilled without faith. God does things according to our capacity and how much we have been prepared.

4)    The fault of we believers is to believe we “will have” though we have not “received”. To believe “we receive” is different from believing “we will have”. That latter is to believe our prayer has been answered, and the latter is to believe our prayer will be answered by God.

5)    All those who believe “they receive them” will “have them”. However, those who only believe “they will have” sometimes have not received.

6)    Prayer shall be done by believers. And prayers that shall be answered are what God will do. We should do what we have to do ---- to pray in faith, and God will not refuse what He has to do ---- to make us receive.


Mark. 11:25 "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.

YLT:`And whenever ye may stand praying, forgive, if ye have anything against any one, that your Father also who is in the heavens may forgive you your trespasses;”

The Background: “And whenever you stand praying”, in the old times, the Jews prayed in the gesture of “standing” (see Luke 18:11, 13).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Even though we have upright intention to pray, our deeds are still unworthy of God, so we should pray for being forgiven by God and come to pray with boldness before God (Heb. 4:16) that our prayers shall be answered.

2)    If we want to be forgiven by God, we must firstly forgive others. Only through forgiving others, we are worthy of asking God to answer our prayers.


Mark. 11:26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."

YLT: “and, if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in the heavens forgive your trespasses.'”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    For judgment without mercy to him that has shown no mercy (James 2:13).

2)    Believers should neither criticize nor condemn others randomly. Your attitude toward others decides God’s attitude toward you.

3)    If we are unwilling to forgive those who sin against us, our prayers will neither be smooth nor be answered by God.


Mark. 11:27 Then they came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to Him.

YLT: “And they come again to Jerusalem, and in the temple, as he is walking, there come unto him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders,”

Literal Meaning: “the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him.” ---- “The chief priests”, “the elders” and “the scribes” (See v.15) constituted the three kinds of members of Judaic council.

Spiritual Meaning: “the chief priests and the scribes and the elders of the people”, they typified the earthly, fleshly and traditional authority.


Mark. 11:28 And they said to Him, "By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority to do these things?"

YLT: “and they say to him, `By what authority dost thou these things? and who gave thee this authority that these things thou mayest do?'”

Literal Meaning: “by what authority are You doing these things?” ---- “These things”, it referred to the Lord’s acts after He rode the colt into Jerusalem, especially He cleansed the temple (see v.15-17).

    They questioned the Lord that by what authority He cleansed the Holy Temple, which showed that they did not know the Lord or respect Him and contrarily withstood Him.


Mark. 11:29 But Jesus answered and said to them, "I also will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things:

YLT: “And Jesus answering said to them, `I will question you -- I also -- one word; and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things;”

Literal Meaning: to those who had hardened their hearts and did not know the Lord intentionally, the Lord did not answer their question directly and contrarily asked them a question in reply to put them to silence.

Enlightenment in the Word: when men ask what they should not ask, believers should imitate the Lord and ask in reply so as to help us out of a predicament.


Mark. 11:30 The baptism of John--was it from heaven or from men? Answer Me."

YLT: “the baptism of John -- from heaven was it? or from men? answer me.'”

Literal Meaning: “the baptism of John--was it from heaven or from men?” ---- “From heaven”: from God; the Jews usually referred to the heaven as God


  The Lord meant that where the authority of John the Baptism came from was also the place that His authority was from. If those who opposed Him could answer where the authority of John the Baptist was from, they would naturally know where His authority was from. Jesus asked it in return because if they confessed that John the Baptist was sent by God, they had to receive his testimony for Jesus (see 1:7-8). Therefore they would surely know that the authority of Jesus is from God.

Spiritual Meaning: “the baptism of John” is to bury those who have repented (see 1:4-5), i.e. to put the old man into death. The Lord Jesus asked this question with the aim of making them confess that it is of God. He also implied that the true authority of God was from death and resurrection, otherwise, it is only authority of men.

Enlightenment in the Word: the true spiritual authority rests with God Himself ---- “from heaven”, not with men’s tradition or arrangement ---- “from men”.


Mark. 11:31 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "If we say, "From heaven,' He will say, "Why then did you not believe him?'

YLT: “And they were reasoning with themselves, saying, `If we may say, From heaven, he will say, Wherefore, then, did ye not believe him?”

Literal Meaning: if they answered the baptism of John came from the heaven, they had just condemned themselves, for they did not believe Him.


Mark. 11:32 But if we say, "From men"'--they feared the people, for all counted John to have been a prophet indeed.

YLT: “But if we may say, From men,' -- they were fearing the people, for all were holding John that he was indeed a prophet;”

Literal Meaning: they could not say directly that the baptism of John was from men, for it would offend the people.

Enlightenment in the Word: “not believing” (v.31) and “fearing the people” were the two characteristics of religionists.


Mark. 11:33 So they answered and said to Jesus, "We do not know." And Jesus answered and said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."

YLT: “and answering they say to Jesus, `We have not known;' and Jesus answering saith to them, `Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.'”

Literal Meaning: the Lord did not say that “I do not know” but “neither will I tell you”. The chief priests and the elders of the people were fully aware of the answer, but pleaded that they did not know. It was lying. The Lord knew it and He “did not tell them”. It was true.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    If our hearts are not upright, the Lord cannot speak to us. And we cannot receive word from the Lord.

2)    Today men may answer the Lord’s questions perfunctorily. However, all of us shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ and each of us shall give account of himself to God (Rom. 14:10-12).


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


The Comparisons of Two Kinds of Men

A.   The First Comparison ---- Whether They Respected the Authority of the Lord:

1.    One group of people magnified the Lord (v.1-10).

2.    But the other group queried His authority (v.27-33).

B.   The Second Comparison ---- Whether They Could Afford the Dwelling Place for the Lord:

1.    One group of people who had the appearance of temple but lacked the reality of it could not let Him stay (v.15-18).

2.    But the other group gave the Lord a dwelling place of rest (v.11, 19).

C.   The Third Comparison ---- Whether They Could Make the Lord Have enjoyment:

1.    One group of people only had the appearance of trees without fruit (v.12-14).

2.    But the other group satisfied God by faith (v.22-26).


The Descriptions of the Servant the Bondman

A.   His Glory:

1.    Jesus went into the city of Jerusalem, riding upon the colt (v.1-7).

2.    Some people laid their clothes on the donkey and colt (v.7).

3.    Some people spread their clothes and branches of trees on the road (v.8).

4.    The multitudes cried out, saying “Hosanna!” (v.9-10).

B.   His Work:

1.    He looked around the Holy Temple (v.11a).

2.    He cleansed the Holy Temple (v.15-17).

3.    He taught the multitudes (v.18b).

C.   His Authority:

1.    He cursed the fig tree which did not bear fruit (v.12-14).

2.    If one prays with faith, he is able to use this authority (v.20-26).

D.   His Wisdom:

1.    Religious believers queried Jesus that by what authority He did these things (v.27-28).

2.    Jesus asked in reply and put them to silence (v.29-33).


The Religionist Lacked the Spiritual Reality

A.   The Temple is the Reality of the City:

1.    The city of Jerusalem had warm welcome in appearance towards the Lord (v.7-10).

2.    However, the temple of God became the den of thieves (v.15-17).

B.   Fruit is the Reality of Tree:

1.    There were only leaves on the fig tree (v.13).

2.    However, the fruits cannot be found on it and it cannot satisfy the Lord’s hunger (v.13).

C.   Faith is the Reality of Authority:

1.    The religionist paid attention to doing things by what authority (v.27-28).

2.    They did not believe the authority from heaven (v.31).


One Shall Have Faith in God

A.   For He has power ---- He is omnipotent (v.20-24);

B.   For He has grace ---- He gives all (v.20-24);

C.   For He has mercy ---- He loves all (v.25-26);

D.   For He has authority ---- He reigns all (v.27-28);

E.   For He has wisdom ---- He omniscient (v.30-33);


The Condition that Prayers Will Be Answered

A.   To God ---- ask in faith (v.23-24).

B.   To men ---- one shall forgive the trespasses of others (v.25-26).


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Mary Zhou