“The Authority of the Resurrected Messiah to Finish the Old and Bring in the New”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Mark 11.11-12.12
Mark chapter 11. We have begun a new section in the book of Mark beginning in chapter 11. Mark is divided up into two sections. The last section of Mark began at the end of chapter 8 in verse 27. So we are in the last section of Mark. And chapter 11 begins the last week of Jesus’ life.
From chapter 8:27 to the end of chapter 10, the gospel of Mark focused on the way of the cross. We noted that phrase “on the road” or “on the way” that is translated in various ways. And that gave us kind of a picture of following Jesus on the road to Jerusalem, where he would be crucified. And the question as for the reader of Mark’s gospel in that section was, “Will you take up your cross like Jesus and follow him?” Will you follow him into Jerusalem? And in chapter 11 now, we are with him as he finally enters into Jerusalem. Two and half chapters have been leading up to this point, his entrance into Jerusalem.
The last half of the book of Mark that we are in is divided up into three sections. We are in now the second of those three sections beginning in chapter 11. Beginning in chapter 11 and running down through the end of chapter 13, we have Jesus’ ministry at the Temple. Chapter 11 through 13 of Mark is Jesus ministry at the Temple.
And at the end of chapter 13, Jesus predicts with no uncertain terms that the destruction of the Temple is coming. And of course Jesus prediction is fulfilled in A.D. 70 when the Romans destroy it.
As the Scripture reading indicated, I want to cover quite a bit of ground. All of Chapter 11 and the end of chapter 12:12 really is one section. And the reason that we know that is because of the way that one OT quotation is used, Psalm 118. Quotations from Psalm 118 begin and end this section of Mark. Let me show you that briefly. Look at Mark 11:9. The people are shouting and they are quoting Psalm 118:26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. And with the context of Mark 11, we will see that this is referring to him as the messianic King.
Now turn to Mark 12:10-11. Jesus asks the leaders of Israel if they haven’t read this Scripture and it is a quotation from the same Psalm, Psalm 118 in just a few verses earlier in that Mark 12:10-11 10 “‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone; 11 THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE Lord, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES’?”
And this same verse, found in Mark 12:10-11 is quoted by Peter in Acts chapter 4:11, where Peter ties in this chief cornerstone, the most important stone in a building…Peter comments on that cornerstone and declares it to be representative of Jesus. Jesus is proved to be the chief cornerstone through the resurrection. Jesus is the declared to be the chief cornerstone through the resurrection. So the passage begins with important references to Jesus being the messianic King from Psalm 118 and it ends with a reference to Jesus being the resurrected Messiah and both of these quotations are drawn from within just a few verses of each other in the same psalm, Psalm 118.
And so Jesus enters Jerusalem finally in chapter 11:1-11 and then in chapter 11:12-26 we have a story within a story. In verses 12-14, strangely, Jesus pronounces the barrenness of a fig tree. And then from verses 15-19 Jesus drives out those who are lovers of money in the Temple. He then quotes from Jeremiah chapter 7 in Mark 11:17. And we will see that this is a prediction of the destruction of the temple. And then beginning in verse 20, Mark returns to the story of the fig tree.
So sandwiched in the middle of the story of the fig tree is the story of Jesus driving out those in the Temple. And we will see that the cursing of the fig tree and Jesus driving out those in the Temple is one and the same. It is a passage that demonstrates that God’s economy is moving away from the Temple. Just like the fig tree, God’s program in the OT that has focused on the Temple has withered. God’s program has shifted to Jesus and the New Covenant principles as they are found in verses 22 to 26, where the focus is to have faith in God, faith and praying, as well as praying and forgiveness. Whereas the Temple was the focus for these things, now the focus is solely in God alone, faith in him, prayer to him, and forgiveness through Jesus.
Now, in chapter 11:27 Jesus’ authority is questioned as it related to his actions in the Temple. In other words, how can Jesus drive out those in the Temple and pronounce judgment as he did from Jeremiah 7? By what authority can he do this? At the end of the discussion, Jesus does not tell them by what authority he did this, in chapter 11:33. Nevertheless, in chapter 12:1-12, Jesus will explain by what authority he really can do these things.
And it is, as we will see from the quotation as we have it in verses 10 and 11…we will see that his authority to do these things of shifting God’s program from the Old Covenant and the Temple to the New Covenant of faith in God and prayer and forgiveness… He can make this shift because of his resurrection. His resurrection as we will see will prove that he has the authority to usher in the New Covenant.
He proclaims himself to be the messianic king who rides into Jerusalem to the Temple and he withers the program of that Temple as given in the Old Covenant and illustrated by the fig tree and he proclaims foundational principles of the New Covenant that he is ushering in… those of faith, and prayer, and forgiveness… And he proclaims that He has the authority to do this because he will be raised from the dead. So, I’d like to preach then on The Authority of the Resurrected Messiah to Finish the Old and Bring in the New
Jesus has the authority to wither away the Old Covenant and bring in the New Covenant because he is the resurrected Messiah. Our application this morning will come from vv.22-26: faith, prayer, and forgiveness. It’s pointless to preach those to people without the authority of the one who is bringing in these foundational principles.
And that’s why this passage begins and ends with the right of Jesus to be the one to call us to focus in on these things. Jesus is the Davidic King and Messiah and the beginning of our passage and at the end of our passage, He is the resurrected Lord. And so because of the authority of the one with whom we have to do, we can preach with authority faith in God, prayer, and forgiveness.
Jesus Offers Himself as the Messianic King (Mark 11:1-11)
First of all, Jesus offers himself to Jerusalem as the messianic King in chapter 11 verse 1. Jesus proclaims himself to be the messianic King to Jerusalem, God’s holy city, and to the Jews living in that city. If we were to take verses 1 to 11 by itself, we would end up confused as Bible readers. It’s really as this whole passage is taken together that we are able to form up the major points. The triumphal entry works together in unison with the cursing of the fig tree, which cannot be interpreted without Jesus driving out those in the Temple.
The Prophecy: Divine Omniscience Proves His Power (11:1-7)
And these first seven verses of the story are given over to help us understand that Jesus has precise, divine knowledge of the coming of events of the week. We see here His sovereignty over everything. All this time, beginning way back at the end of chapter 8 until now he has been “on the way” to Jerusalem and he’s leading out in front of the crowd…but that whole time, it’s not as if he doesn’t know what is about to happen at the end of this week. No, he is headed into Jerusalem with full divine omniscience about what is going to happen to him. And this first story proves it.
Let’s read about his omniscience in verses 1-7.
Mark 11:1-7 1 As they *approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, He *sent two of His disciples, 2 and *said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. 3 “If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ you say, ‘The Lord has need of it’; and immediately he will send it back here.” 4 They went away and found a colt tied at the door, outside in the street; and they *untied it. 5 Some of the bystanders were saying to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 They spoke to them just as Jesus had told them, and they gave them permission. 7 They *brought the colt to Jesus and put their coats on it; and He sat on it.
As you can see here, Jesus predicts exactly what is going to happen. He sends his disciples out to find a colt, which in that time and culture, was likely a young donkey. And he predicts that when they are asked about why they are doing this, that if they respond that “the Lord has need of it” then they will be able to proceed with the Lord’s instruction about bringing it back to him.
And that of course is exactly what happens. Jesus here has divine omniscience and this proves that all the while he was on the way to Jerusalem with his disciples …all that while, he knew exactly what he was coming for. He is coming to die for the sins of the world. And so this prediction proves that he is the One that the people describe him to be in verses 8-11. He is the Messiah.
The Procession: Divine Description of His Power (11:8-11)
And let me point out that when Jesus sits on this colt and rides on it entering into Jerusalem, when he does that in verse 11, he is fulfilling Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
So Jesus fulfills the prediction that the King of Israel, the Messiah, would come into Jerusalem mounted on a colt. Thus Jesus is here proclaiming himself to be the King of Israel.
And so there he is seated on that young donkey humble… The King of the universe, humble riding on a donkey and the people in the crowd are spreading out their coats v.8. Mark 11:8-10 8 And many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. 9 Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting: “Hosanna [i.e., Save, I pray!]! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE Lord; 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!”
In verse 10, the people are saying, that in Jesus’ coming is also the coming of the kingdom of David. Thus, the people are proclaiming him to be the Messiah. Jesus proclaims himself to be the King of Israel mounted on a donkey and the people proclaim him to be the one who would come as David’s son, the Messiah. As we’ve seen, the Messiah was to be the son of David. And here is the people’s pronouncement that Jesus is that Messiah.
Now, of special significance is verse nine, when the people quote from Psalm 118. What’s fascinating, is that the people quote from the final Psalm of a series of psalms that were traditionally sung to celebrate the Passover. So here the people are and they are quoting from this psalm in light of the celebration of the Passover which is to come at the end of the week. Remember on the night in which Jesus was betrayed, Jesus celebrated the Passover with the disciples.
And in the Passover, multitudes of lambs are slain, which of course, could never take away sin. But here comes the humble Messiah and he himself would be, in that very week before the Passover ends… he himself would be the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world. He is fulfilling the very Passover about which Psalm 118 is sung.
And so Jesus enters into Jerusalem verse 11. He has been approaching Jerusalem up to this point but now he actually enters into Jerusalem and it says there that he comes into the Temple…. And now, for all of 2 and a half chapters, we have had this climaxing that they are on their way to Jerusalem, they are “on the road,” to Jerusalem and they are “on a journey” to Jerusalem, and we have from the end of chapter 8 until the end of chapter 10 a focus on this path toward Jerusalem and now is the climactic moment in verse 11 when Jesus enters Jerusalem and he comes to the Temple and….Nothing! Deafening silence. WHAT? There is no coronation, there is no recognition, nobody sets him on a throne…verse 11 says that Jesus just comes to the Temple takes a peek around at everything and then he leaves because it was already late.
What’s the point? This is the climax of all of these chapters telling us that we, with Jesus, are “on the way” to Jerusalem… And we are, as it were, dropped off the face of the cliff when there is no coronation, no setting up of Jesus on the throne. This is all to set us up for Jesus complete rejection at the cross. That day when Jesus proclaims himself to be the humble Messiah on that colt fulfilling Zechariah 9:9 and the people pronounce him to be the messianic King, then He goes to the Temple as the Lord of that temple…but no one even recognizes him.
And the whole point of the passage, besides proof of Jesus messianic authority through his divine omniscience and fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9 and the people’s pronouncement of Jesus being the Davidic King, besides all of this, the point is to show that Jesus has no recognition or coronation among the people for whom he has arrived. And in fact he is about to be rejected and killed.
TRANS: But indeed Jesus does have messianic authority. He is the King of Israel and the Davidic King. But they do not recognize him. It will take resurrection for them to recognize him and Jesus will give the resurrection as proof for them but he does indeed already have that messianic authority and he is the King of Israel and the Davidic King. He will do that at the end of our passage in chapter 12. But first, Jesus will proclaim in chapter 11:12-26 that he has the authority of judgment and the New Covenant. He has the authority to finish the Old Covenant and to bring in the New Covenant. And that is the point in verses 12-26. Jesus has the authority to end the Old Covenant in judgment and to bring in the New Covenant.
Jesus Proclaims Authority to End the Old Covenant in Judgment and Bring in New Covenant Principles on Relating to God (Mark 11:12-26)
So we will see in verses 12-26 Jesus’ prediction of judgment on the Temple and how that interrelates with the ending of the Old Covenant and the bringing in of the New Covenant. In verses 12-21, Jesus finishes Old Covenant practices. He does that in order to bring in New Covenant principles, as they are found in verses 20 to 26.
Jesus Withers Away Old Covenant Practice (11:12-21)
That previous story of the triumphal entry concluded the Sunday of the passion week of Christ and now we’re on to Monday when it says, verse 12, “on the next day.”
And here we have the rather strange story of the cursing of this victory. Mark 11:12-14 12 On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. 13 Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening.
Now, I want to prove here that the cursing of the fig tree as well as Jesus driving out of those in the Temple in the next story in verses 15-19 is one and the same. What I mean by that is that the cursing of the fig tree and its withering is an illustration of Jesus driving out of those in the Temple as well as what he taught in the Temple. I want to prove that these two stories are really talking about the same thing.
First of all, the fig tree is often used as a symbol for Israel, and not only that, it is used as a symbol for the judgment of Israel. For example, Isaiah 34:4 And all the host of heaven will wear away, And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; All their hosts will also wither away As a leaf withers from the vine, Or as one withers from the fig tree.
The fig tree is used therefore to refer to the judgment upon Israel. And when Jesus comes into the Temple, and says what he does in Mark 11:17, what we will see there is that Jesus is pronouncing judgment upon Israel and the Temple. And that of course will have fulfillment 40 years from now in A.D. 70. So the cursing of the fig tree, a symbol of Israel, is a pronouncement of judgment on Israel.
The second reason for understanding the fig tree as an illustration of the judgment of Jesus in the Temple, as well as the finishing of the Old Covenant, is how Mark ties in the two stories with his words. Notice the end of verse 14 where Mark notes that” Jesus’ disciples were listening.” This is the exact same terminology when Mark notes that the chief priests and scribes verse 18, that they “heard this.” Just like the disciples were listening to Jesus pronounce judgment on the fig tree, which is a symbol for the judgment of Israel, so also in verse 17 the chief priests and the scribes heard Jesus proclaiming judgment upon the Temple and Israel. Both the disciples in v.14 as well as the leaders of Israel in v. 17… Both of them heard Jesus pronounce judgment upon Israel. The disciples heard judgment upon Israel when Jesus cursed the fig tree and the chief priests and the scribes heard Jesus pronounce judgment upon Israel when he quotes in verse 17 from Jeremiah 7, as we will see.
And the point of all of this is that just as Jesus judges and withers the fig tree, so also will Jesus judge and wither away and dry up the Old Covenant practices that were centered on the Temple. In A.D. 70 the Romans will come in and destroy the Temple and it has never been rebuilt since. And that is precisely because Jesus has the messianic authority to do away with and to finish and to wither up the Old Covenant practices for the sake of New Covenant principles.
So now, after the cursing of the fig tree, they once again come to Jerusalem and enter the Temple in verse 15.
Mark 11:15-18 15 Then they *came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; 16 and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. 17 And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS’? But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” 18 The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching.
Thus Jesus pronounces judgment upon the nation of Israel and upon the Temple. The reason why we know that again is because of what Jesus says in verse 17. Here, Jesus quotes from Isa. 56:7, the “prayer of all nations” as well as Jeremiah chapter 7, end of v17 there, “robber’s den” or a robber’s hideout. How does Jeremiah 7 prove that this is a prediction of judgment?
First, Jeremiah chapter 7 is Jeremiah’s sermon in the Temple. Do you see the tie? Jesus as well is in the Temple and he is quoting from Jeremiah’s sermon when Jeremiah was in the Temple. And in Jeremiah’s day and in that Temple, which was the first Temple, Solomon’s Temple. Jesus is in the Second Temple … In Jeremiah’s Temple sermon, Jeremiah was pronouncing the judgment to come when the Jews would go away into the Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C. .
So Jeremiah 7 is not only a sermon, and not only is it in the Temple, but Jeremiah chapter 7 is also a sermon about the punishment of false religion. And Jeremiah is saying in chapter 7 that just like the tabernacle, which before Jeremiah’s day was housed in the city of Shiloh…just like the tabernacle was destroyed and then God brought in the First Temple to house His worship, Jeremiah says that so also will Jerusalem and the First Temple be destroyed. That’s what Jeremiah was saying.
And so when Jesus quotes this Jesus is saying the same thing. Just like the first Temple was destroyed in 586 B.C., so also will this Second Temple that Jesus is standing in be destroyed. And Jesus is implying therefore as well, that something new is coming.
Jesus is condemning false religion, and in His overturning of those money tables, he’s focusing in on how money can be a cause of judgment upon His people. But the big point here is broader than that and has reference to the withering up of the Old Covenant and that this Temple worship is about to end and also has reference to the coming of the New Covenant. It’s about withering up and finishing the Old Covenant and its practices and the bringing in of the New. The Old has withered away verses 20 and 21. The Lord has come to his Temple and He is pronouncing it desolate.
TRANS: And so it’s time for something New. Soon, God’s people will not live their lives centered on a physical Temple, so they will need words from Jesus upon which to center their lives. What is the practice and heart of a New Covenant believer? And it is to this that Jesus draws our attention in vv.22-26: the bringing in of New Covenant principles on approaching God. Verses 22-26 are New Covenant principles on approaching God.
Jesus Brings in New Covenant Principles (11:22-26)
And it is this New Covenant that will be inaugurated in Jesus’ death and resurrection and the Old Covenant principles of approaching God will be entirely done away in A.D. 70 when Jesus predicts that not one stone of the Temple will be left on another. And it will be that in Jesus’ own body, the new temple, in His body when he dies on the cross and is raised from the dead …it is in his body that the true and effective sacrifice for sins was made as a ransom for many.
Through his blood, and not through the blood of any other Passover lamb that might be sacrificed at the end of this passion week,… It is through his blood the blood of his covenant alone that sins are taken away.
And as He dies on the cross, that day in that Temple, upon which Jesus just pronounced judgment, the veil that divides the holy of holies from the court of the Temple will be torn in two which gives dramatic expression to the dissolving of the Temple as the means of an approach to God. Jesus is the way into the presence of God. And so through that fig tree, Jesus symbolizes the end of the Temple as a means of approaching God.
So what are the means of approaching God, then? So, Jesus explains the means of approaching God these principles of the New Covenant now in verses 22-26 and he highlights faith, prayer, and forgiveness.
Mark 11:22-26 22 And Jesus *answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. 23 “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. 24 “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. 25 “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. 26 [“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”]
The first principle of the New Covenant approach to God is faith in verses 22-23. And we have three principles of the New Covenant approach to God here, and the first one is faith. And Jesus here speaks in hyperbole, that is, he’s exaggerating to make a point. He’s done this before when talking about cutting off hands, etc. Notice the words for faith. Verse 22 “have faith in God.” Verse 23 middle of the verse the one who “does not doubt in his heart” but the third reference to faith now “but believes.”
When He says what He does in v. 23, this is hyperbole. He does not want us to take this literally. Otherwise, how ridiculous would be the Earth today? Could you imagine the news reports if this were to be taken literally? “Bob is reporting from Colinton. Bob what’s the story?” “Well, Jim, a member of Northlight Baptist Church is standing here and she’s removed the hills from around Colinton and they have been thrown into the Pacific ocean.”
Now, that’s not Jesus’ point. Jesus’ point merely is to say in verses 22 and 23 that trusting and believing God is of vital importance …He was exaggerating to say faith is important…as we relate to him on a daily basis. You can’t doubt God you must have faith in him and believe God as you relate to him all of who he is and what he has already promised to do. Faith receives.
But this is not the “name it and claim it” terminology that the word-faith movement proponents teach. False teachers like Kenneth Copland, Kenneth Hagin, Joyce Meyer, TD Jakes, and Joel Osteen teach this. If this is literally true, then these false teachers must prove that by removing the mountains and putting them into oceans. Jesus is exaggerating to make the point that faith is vitally important as we relate to God and all of who he is and what he has promised.
Faith and Prayer (Mark 11:24)
So faith is vitally important as we relate to God in all who he is what he has promised, but a second principle in our approach to God in His New Covenant is how faith and prayer relate. Verse 24 teaches that faith also relates to prayer. Faith and prayer work together just like James 1:6 says. James 1:6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
And of course this is a prayer for wisdom. And the Bible’s teaching on prayer must be taken together. Someone who is relating to God in faith, that first principle…he also believes God and His word. Someone like this will be praying as it relates to God and faith in him and in who he is and what he has said. There is a trust and a dependence upon God.
And someone who has faith in God as Jesus says, will pray according to God’s character, and according to His will, and according to His promises. So in other words, this is not talking about praying for $1 million and believing that you have received it even though you haven’t yet. The praying about “all things” of v.24 that Jesus is referring to is defined by the first principle in the context, one of faith in who God is and what he has said and relating to God within the New Covenant.
Prayer and forgiveness (11:25-26)
So in this New Covenant, we approach God in faith vv.22-23, and secondly v.24, faith works together with our prayers and now thirdly vv.25-26, prayer relates to our forgiveness. In verses 25 and 26, Jesus teaches that when we pray in faith, we must also be forgiving one another. If we are not forgiving one another, the Father in heaven will not forgive us of our transgressions. Did you know that? If we are not forgiving one another, the Father in heaven will not forgive us of our transgressions. That’s what Jesus says verse 25, whenever you are praying, make sure that you have forgiven if you have anything against somebody else. If you have something against somebody else, make sure that as you pray, you are forgiving them.
And we should do this so that continuing in verse 25, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” And the implication of that is was found in verse 26 that if you fail to forgive somebody, the Father will not forgive your transgressions.
Now, this is talking about your relationship with God within the New Covenant. It is not a determining factor of someone’s salvation any more than praying is a factor. As a believer in Christ who has eternal life, as we relate to God in the New Covenant as we attempt to walk with him, we must forgive one another. If we do not forgive one another, there will be something in between our souls and the Savior. We will not be able to avail ourselves of the graces that God wants to bestow upon us. So forgive one another in this New Covenant as you pray.
So Jesus is giving principles on how to relate to God in the New Covenant. He has done away, he has finished, he has withered up the Old Covenant practices that are centered on the Temple and he signified that in the cursing of the fig tree and in the proclamation of judgment upon the Temple. And now he is proclaiming New Covenant principles through which we relate to God these principles of faith and how faith relates to prayer and how prayer relates to forgiveness.
And he has the authority to do all of this because he is as we saw in the beginning of chapter 11, he is the messianic King and he is the King of Israel, the son of David. That’s why he can do away with the Old Covenant and bring in the New Covenant.
TRANS: But that authority is about to be questioned beginning in chapter 11:27. The chief priests and the scribes and the elders will question his authority to drive out those that were in the Temple that day when he pronounced judgment and overturned their money tables. And they are questioning His authority to do that.
Jesus Explains His Authority to Bring in the New Covenant (Mark 11:27-12:12)
But in the larger context, not only does Jesus address that authority to overturn those tables in that Temple, but in the flow of Mark here, we know that Jesus has the authority to do all of what we have seen thus far. He has the authority to bring out the Old Covenant and to finish it and whether it up, and to bring in the New Covenant principles on how to approach God.
Jesus’ Authority Questioned (11:27-33)
Verse 27 the chief priests and scribes and the elders come to Jesus and they question his authority and ask him, “by what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do these things?”
And Jesus responds by asking them a question concerning the ministry of John the Baptist. Mark 11:30 “Was the baptism of John from heaven, or from men? Answer Me.”
And the chief priests and the leaders, Mark 11:31 began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ Mark 11:32 “But shall we say, ‘From men’?”—they were afraid of the people, for everyone considered John to have been a real prophet.
And so they answer Jesus in verse 33 saying “we do not know” because they are afraid of the people and they do not want to be reviewed by Jesus for not believing John the Baptist. So Jesus does not tell them the authority by which he does these things.
These leaders have rejected the forerunner of the Messiah, John the Baptist. John the Baptist’s ministry was predicted in Malachi to be that of a forerunner of the Messiah. And in Malachi it says Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I am going to send My messenger [that’s John the Baptist] and he will clear the way before Me [there is his ministry of being a forerunner for the Messiah, he will clear the way of the Lord. And then Malachi says…]. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts.
So Jesus is here as Yahweh who suddenly came to his Temple and he is this messenger of the New Covenant, as we’ve just seen. And so the leaders of Israel rejected the forerunner who cleared the way of the Messiah and therefore, they also rejected the Lord of the Temple himself who has now come to His temple.
And so, in the presence of the authoritative Temple, and it was upon that Temple that centered the life of the Old Covenant and its requirements, … And in the presence of this Temple, stands the very Lord of the Temple and of that covenant. And as Malachi says here he is the messenger of the covenant; he is the messenger of the New Covenant.
TRANS: You can see then that Jesus does not tell them outright by what authority he does these things, v.33, because they did not answer His question. But he will in fact tell how it is that he has the right to wither away the Old Covenant and usher in the New Covenant through a parable in chapter 12:1-12.
Jesus’ Authority Explained (12:1-12)
Jesus has the right to wither away the Old Covenant like he did that fig tree that day and to usher in the New Covenant and those New Covenant principles of approaching God… He has the right to do this because of the resurrection. And we will see that here. It is because of the resurrection that Jesus has the authority to usher in the New Covenant and to wither away the Old Covenant.
Briefly now, Jesus tells this parable about a vineyard. Jesus quotes Isaiah 5:2 in Mark 12:1. By doing this, we have more context on how to interpret this. God is the man of verse one, the man who plans the vineyard. God is pictured as the vineyard owner. The vineyard is Israel and the vine growers are the men of Israel. The slaves in this story are the prophets and the beloved son at the end is Jesus. Now, we will read through this and I will explain it along the way.
Mark 12:1-9 1 And He began to speak to them in parables: “A man [that’s God] PLANTED A VINEYARD [that’s Israel, or God’s Old Covenant economy. God started the nation of Israel. A man planted the vineyard] AND PUT A WALL AROUND IT, AND DUG A VAT UNDER THE WINE PRESS AND BUILT A TOWER, and rented it out to vine-growers [that’s Israel. God started Israel and gave it to the leaders of Israel] and went on a journey. 2 “At the harvest time he sent a slave [that’s a prophet. God sent prophets to the leaders of Israel…] to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers. 3 “They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. [Historically, the leaders of Israel persecuted the prophets in the Old Testament even though God sent them. Verse 4…]4 “Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. 5 “And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some and killing others. [Israel persecuted God’s own the prophets repeatedly] 6 “He had one more to send, a beloved son [and that’s Jesus]; he sent him last of all to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 “But those vine-growers said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’ 8 “They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 “What will the owner of the vineyard do? [What will God do to the leaders of Israel?] He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Mark 11.11-12.12
In other words at the end here, God will come…in AD 70 likely, and destroy the leaders of Israel and will give the vineyard to others. In other words, God is transitioning away from the national Israel as headed up by the leaders of Israel. But the vineyard is still a vineyard, like a covenant is still a covenant. The vineyard now is being given to others as it says there. And the idea then is God’s New Covenant now is being given over, not to the leaders of Israel, but to the Gentiles, to include all the nations.
And this makes sense in light of the reference we made to Isaiah 56:7 in Mark 11:17. Jesus quotes Isaiah 56:7 and Mark 11:17 And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS’?
The Gentiles or as has been referenced here, all the nations, are now going to be a part of this New Covenant. The oversight is no longer given to the leaders of the house of Israel.
And the leaders of Israel that day were seething at this point, no doubt. Because they knew, as it says in verse 12, that they were well aware that they were speaking the parable against them…that they are the ones killing the prophets. And Jesus mocks them in verse 10 asking them Mark 12:10-11 10 “Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone; 11 THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE Lord, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES’?”
And of course they had read that, they sing it every year in the Passover and probably have it memorized. And remember this is Psalm 118 that psalm that they sing every year at the Passover, the same psalm referenced early in chapter 11.
And the interpretation of this passage is made clear in Acts 4. Oddly enough, in very similar circumstances confrontation, the leaders of Israel in Acts chapter 4 question Peter about his authority to perform a miracle of healing. They asked him verse 7 , “by what power or and what name have you done this?” And this is the same question that the leaders of Israel asked Jesus in Mark 11:28. And Peter explains in Acts 4:10 by what authority that this man was healed and he says that by the authority of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom those leaders crucified, just like the vine growers killed the son of the vineyard owner, these leaders crucified Jesus but Peter says that God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. Acts 4:11 “He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone.
So how is Jesus the chief cornerstone? Jesus is the chief cornerstone through, as Peter says there, through the resurrection. And just like it says in Psalm 118 that in the resurrection it was this day that the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it. And that’s talking about the resurrection.
So Jesus is the messianic King who rode into Jerusalem that day and he proved to be the chief cornerstone through the resurrection. He has the authority. He has the authority to pronounce the future judgment upon Jerusalem and the Temple and he has the authority to wither away the Old Covenant and to bring in the New Covenant
If you are a part of this New Covenant that Jesus has ushered in through his authority as the resurrected Messiah, then you can sing this testimony of faith in number 267.