Mark 11:20-33 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Have Faith in God
Comments for Study 21

Mark 11:20-33
Memory Verse: 22


Passion Week Events

I. Faith That Moves Mountains (20-23a)

>1. What were all the events that had happened the day before this? (11:12-14, 15-17, 18, 19)

* In 11:12-14 Jesus cursed a fig tree because it did not bear fruit.

* In 15-17 Jesus cleared out the temple and taught why he did it.

* In verse 18 the chief priests and the teachers of the law began looking for a way to kill Jesus.

* In verse 19 when it was evening, they went out of the city.

>What time was it now? (20a)

* "In the morning" -the Tuesday before Passover.

* A time line of this week is as follows.
    Friday -Jesus arrives in the Jerusalem area. (John 11:54-12:1)
    Saturday (Sabbath) -a day of rest; no event recorded except Luke 21:37-38.
    Sunday -Jesus' triumphal entry. (Matt. 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19)
    Monday -Jesus curses the fig tree (Matt. 21:18-19; Mark 11:12-14). Jesus clears out the Temple. (Matt 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18)
    Tuesday -Jesus' authority questioned. (Matt. 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:18) Jesus teaches in the temple. (Matt. 21:28-22:46; Mark 12:1-44; Luke 20:9-21:4) Jesus wept over Jerusalem's leader's unbelief and rejecting him as their King. (Matthew 23:1-39) Jesus anointed at Bethany. (Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 13:3-9; John 12:2-11)
    Wednesday -another day of rest; no event recorded except Luke 21:37-38. The Jews plot to kill Jesus. (Matt. 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6)
    Thursday (Hebrew month Abib the 13th day) -the Passover meal begins at twilight (see below note) when Jesus and the disciples celebrate the Last Supper. (Matt. 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20; John 13:1-18) Jesus comforts the disciples (John 14:1-16:33) Jesus prays at Gethsemane. (Matt. 26:26-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:40-46)
    Friday (Hebrew month Abib, 14 day) -According Hebrew time Jesus is arrest and tried from night to daylight. (Matt. 26:47-27:26; Mark 14:43-15:15; Luke 22:47-23:25; John 18:2-19:16) Jesus' crucifixion at 3:00pm, and death before sunset which is the end of the Hebrew day and Passover. (Matt. 27:27-56; Mark 15:16-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-30) Jesus is buried at sunset. (Matt. 27:57-66; mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:31-42)
    Saturday (Sabbath Abib 15, Seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread begins) Jesus' body is in the tomb. He appears in Sheol and accompanies the saints previously dead to heaven.
    Sunday (Abib 16; day of First Fruits Sheaf Wave) Jesus' morning resurrection and appearing to the women. (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18) Then he appeared to the two on the road. (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35) Then to the ten apostles (no Thomas or Judas) in the evening. (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25)
    Saturday (Sabbath) -Jesus appears to Thomas and the rest of the apostles. (John 20:26-31)
    A week later -Jesus talks and eats with some disciples by the Sea of Galilee. (John 21:1-25)
    Forty days since his resurrection -Jesus ascends to his Father from the Mount of Olives. (Matt. 28:15-20; Mark 18:19-20; Luke 24:44-53; Acts 1:1-11)

* Note: The Passover is linked to the 14th days of the month not the day of the week. It starting on Thursday twilight is a very rare event; unusually it starts on a different day of the week. (Hebrew days start at sunset/twilight and go through the night till the next day's sunset.) Falling on a Thursday that year made it possible for Jesus to fulfill the meaning behind the feasts associated with the Passover. He was crucified was on Friday (still Passover), the Sabbath (Saturday) rest was the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Sunday was the third day since his death, the day of the First Fruit Wave Sheaf, and the day that Jesus rose from the dead. All three feasts were thus fulfilled by Jesus.

>Where were they going?

* "as they went along" -to Jerusalem

>What did they see? (20b)

* "they saw the fig tree" -the same fig tree that Jesus had cursed the day before.

* "withered from the roots"-this was not a natural event because it took only one night and all of it was withered.

>2. How did Peter react when he saw the tree? (21)

* Mark 11:21 "Peter remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!"

* He was excited, astonished, and surprised.

* He didn't expect the tree to wither like this.

* The disciples were afraid because of Jesus clearing the temple, but this event encouraged them.

* We often need to experience God's hand like Peter did.

* Peter must not have been carefully thinking about what Jesus had said. After this Peter listened more closely to Jesus. He gained fear of God.

>Why might he have been worried about Jesus' act of clearing the temple?

* The chief priests did not like it. They were Israel's leaders and could hinder Jesus' plans. To Peter this would be Jesus' plans to set up a kingdom and overthrow Rome.

* Perhaps he felt the people didn't like it and saw Jesus as a mad man.

* Perhaps he wondered if it was right before God.

>3. What did Jesus tell the amazed Peter? (22)

* Mark 11:22 ""Have faith in God," Jesus answered."

* This event changed Peter as can be seen in Acts 12:6.

* Why did he say this? Because Peter was easily surprised. This shows his lack of faith.

>What does this mean?

* This is practical faith; day to day faith.

* Jesus was not teaching a vage faith here.

* James 2:14-26

>What does it reveal about the disciples' powerlessness and how they might have power to do great things?

* Peter was surprised because he did not fully realize Jesus' authority and the power of faith.

* If they had faith they could do great things. He doubted.

* "this mountain" -where we are now and where we will be.

>4. What amazing promise did Jesus give? (23a)

* Mark 11:23 ""I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him."

* Jesus gave a practical example of practical faith.

* "if anyone" -no limitations

>What does this verse teach about the power of faith?

* The power of faith is unlimited.

* Positive thinking isn't faith. Faith is believing when there is no evidence to believe.

>What kind of faith does Jesus want his disciples to have?

* Without doubt.

* "Expect great things from God, do great things for God."

>5. When we only look at ourselves or at other people and don't look to the Almighty God, what do we end up doing?

* Despairing, Give up, Losing faith, Complain, Fear.

>What does it mean to have faith that moves mountains? (cf. Heb. 11:29; Mk. 9:22,23; Php. 4:13)

* Hebrews 11:29 "By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned."

* Mark 9:22-23 ""It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." "'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes.""

* Philippians 4:13 "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

* Faith to do the impossible and hard things.

II. Faith That Overcomes Doubt and Forgives (23b-25)

>6. What does the phrase "does not doubt in his heart" teach us about faith that moves mountains? (23b)

* Mark 11:23 ""I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him."

* We must believe it will happen, believing not in our head alone, but also in our heart.

>How can we overcome doubt?

* Ask God to help us (i.e. "I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.")

>What are some of the promises of God which we can take hold of? (Mt. 6:33; Ge. 12:2)

* Matthew 6:33 "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

* Genesis 12:2 ""I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing."

* John 14:2 "In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so I would not have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you."

>7. What is the relationship between faith and prayer? (24)

* Mark 11:24 "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

* If we believe we will pray.

* If we pray we will grow in faith because God answers our prayers.

>What promise does Jesus give us about prayer?

* "whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours"

* "it will be yours" -not might be or could be.

>What does it mean to pray, believing?

* Knowing God will give what we ask for before we receive it.

* Prayer needs to be grounded in God's will, promises and word.

* "ask" -not demand. When we ask God's answer will be yes, not or maybe. God can do anything, but it does not mean that he is willing to do it. Also, God can not do nonsense (i.e. asking God to kill himself is nonsense, asking God to create something greater than he is nonsense, asking God to may oneself God is nonsense, etc.)

>8. Why is it that failure to forgive hinders our prayer? (25)

* Mark 11:25 "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.""

* Matthew 18:21-35

* 1 Peter 3:7

>Why might forgiving another be like moving a mountain?

* Because of our pride and self righteousness.

>How can we forgive others? (Lk. 23:34a)

* Luke 23:34a "Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

* Pray to God for help. Understand them and be humble in heart.

* Remember that Jesus forgave us.

III. The Authority of Jesus Questioned (27-33)

>9. Why did the religious leaders challenge Jesus' authority? (27-28)

* Mark 11:27-28 "They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. "By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "And who gave you authority to do this?""

* Because he overturned the money changer tables.

* Because he was teaching in the temple without permission from them.

>What shows their lack of faith in God?

* They acted before the opinions of men.

* They did not know God was listening to them.

>How did Jesus answer them? (31-33)

* Mark 11:31-33 "They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Then why didn't you believe him?' But if we say, 'From men'..." (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.) So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." Jesus said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.""