Mark 11:1-12:44 – Jesus Enters Jerusalem as the Son of David and Teaches in the Temple


Mark 11:1-12:44


Jesus enters Jerusalem to the acclaim of those around him. Next he enters the temple, where he teaches and disputes with various religious authorities who try to entrap him.


Jesus sends his disciples ahead to secure a colt for his entry into Jerusalem. The crowds acclaim him, saying, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of our Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (11:1-10, with reference to Psalm 118:26 and Zechariah 9:9). Jesus enters the temple, observes, and retreats to Bethany. On his way to the temple a second time he curses a fig tree and arrives at the temple citing the words of the prophets: “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers” (11:17, with reference to Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11). On his way to the temple a third time the disciples observe that the fig tree has withered to its roots, and Jesus teaches them concerning faith and forgiveness (11:12-26).

Arriving in the temple, the chief priests, scribes, and elders question Jesus on his authority. His response recalls the role of John the Baptist, whom they have refused to receive as a messenger of God, and thus Jesus refuses to answer their question (11:27-33). The parable of the vineyard centers on the beloved son, the one whom the owner finally sends (12:1-12). Jesus concludes the parable by citing Psalm 118:22-23: “Have you not read this scripture: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?” (12:10-11). Realizing that the parable has been told against them, the leaders seek to arrest Jesus, but fearing the crowd they leave him (12:12).

The religious leaders next seek to entrap Jesus one by one. The Pharisees are first and ask about paying or not paying taxes to the Roman Emperor. Jesus requests a coin to indicate that this belongs to the Emperor, but their lives belong to God (12:13-17). The Sadducees, who do not believe in resurrection, ask Jesus about the resurrection relationship of a woman who has been married to seven brothers: “In the resurrection whose wife will she be?” (12:18-27). A scribe questions Jesus concerning which commandment is first of all. Jesus responds with the call to love God, citing Deuteronomy 6:4, and a second command about loving one’s neighbor, citing Leviticus 19:18 (12:28-34). No one dares ask Jesus further questions, so now it is his turn to ask a question of them concerning the identity of David’s son: “David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?” (12:35-37). Jesus warns the disciples about the scribes who seek only honor, devour widows’ houses, and make a pretense of prayer (12:38-40). Jesus’ final temple teaching is to note the widow who gives to the temple treasury only two copper coins (12:41-44), noting that as others contribute out of abundance, she contributes “all she had to live on” (12:44), literally, “her entire life.”