The Triumphal Entry: Mark focuses on the best part of the parade: Jesus and the Crowd. He is not interested in repeating the conflict – the proper praise of Jesus is central to this story. In some ways this is how it should have always been- Humanity should welcome its Maker, Father and friend. If it weren’t for our rebellious hearts none the conflict or cross would have been needed. But since wickedness is in the world, moments like these, of pure praise and honour for God are rare and precious.
Mark has painted a beautiful picture of celebration. Try to imagine what it would have felt like to be in that crowd, seeing your Saviour come to you in peace and joy. I hope Jesus is a welcome in our lives as he was on that day to that crowd in Jerusalem!
The Fig tree and the Temple: Mark makes a literary sandwich out of the story of .the fig tree and the cleansing of the temple. Some commentators think Mark is trying to point to a bigger meaning in these events. You see, just as the fig tree was literally ‘fruitless’ and gave Jesus no satisfaction, so also the whole temple system of sacrifice, not just the money changers’ dishonesty had become fruitless. People were not saved from sin by the sacrifices of animals, for these sacrifices could not change hearts. These animals could not pay the debt between humanity and God. The whole sacrificial system was a like a shadow of the real thing, and it was about to come to an end, just like the fig tree. When Jesus laid down his life, he was the one to make a sacrifice- cancelling our debt. The consequences of sin – punishment and hurt – which should have come round and landed on us, instead fell on him. He is the Lamb that was slain for the sin of the world, and as he cleared the temple he set the stage for the only fruitful solution to the worlds evil.
The Authority of Jesus: Do you see again that Jesus answering a question with a question reveals the cravenness of the Pharisees? They aren’t interested in the truth, only what sells. They hope to use Jesus answer against him, but aren’t willing to risk giving an honest answer themselves.
Not every question we have for Jesus is an honest one. Sometimes, no matter what answer we get it won’t change us or satisfy us. If we want to have integrity we really need to confess to God our stubbornness and hypocrisy, and ask him to change our hearts.