with Alan Bailey
Welcome to this Bible Study. Read what I have written slowly. If you have a Bible look up the reference verses given, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your soul through them.
We are now looking at the last stages of Jesus’ ministry on earth. It has been a quick look at a period of about three years. Now, Jesus and the disciples are making their way to Jerusalem. He has already told them about His coming sufferings to take place there, but these men have not grasped what He has meant. They will soon find out. They are now at Jericho, a city not too far away from Jerusalem.
Verses 45-48 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and His disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
It would seem that this blind man knew something of Jesus’ reputation as a healer. Referring to Him as Son of David suggests that he recognised Jesus as the expected Messiah. At the very least, he had a strong faith that Jesus could help him. Note his determination even though the crowd was against him. Probably the crowd regarded him as unimportant because he was a beggar. But Jesus never thought of people that way.
Verses 49-52 Jesus stopped and said “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
This was a life-changing encounter. Why would Jesus ask Bartimaeus what he wanted when it was plain that he was blind? No doubt it was to test his faith. The answer was straightforward. Faith was rewarded. The Lord wants us to believe Him without reservation.
Verses 1-3 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of His disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no-one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you “Why are you doing this?’ tell him, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.”
Jesus plans to enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Of course He has his reason for this. It is interesting to see that He knows someone who has a donkey available at that moment. He also knows that they will allow the donkey to be taken. An Old Testament prophecy is about to be fulfilled. In Zechariah 9:9 we read “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is He, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Verses 4-10 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked “What are you doing untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, He sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest.”
This welcome is something as readers we would not expect. We can only conclude it was something God the Father brought about. A crowd rejoicing that their Messiah and King was arriving, perhaps to take control. While the display was not insincere, it certainly wasn’t representative of the city or the nation. Also, Jesus had made clear to His disciples that He was not establishing a kingdom at this time. He was going to die. It is ironic that this act of praise for Jesus as Lord was only a week away from His rejection and crucifixion. The word “Hosanna” is a Hebrew expression meaning “Save.”
Verse 11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.
We note that the first place Jesus visited was the temple. He was not happy with what He saw as we will note later. But at that time of day, He and the disciples went the short walk out of town to Bethany, the home of friends Mary, Lazarus and Martha.
Verses 12-14 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to find out if it had any fruit. When He reached it, however, He found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then He said to the tree “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And His disciples heard Him say it.
This may seem at first to be an unusual fit of anger on Jesus’ part. But there lies a deeper meaning to this event. It was like a parable being acted out. Israel was unfruitful and was about to reject her Messiah. The consequences were grave. History shows that as a nation they didn’t prosper for a very long time. He was about to vent anger again shortly.
Verses 15-16 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as He taught them He said “Is it not written; “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of robbers.”
Temple life in Jerusalem had gone downhill over the years. Yet it was still the place where God in a sense met with genuine worshippers. Now the merchants had taken over, carrying on money-making rackets at the expense of the poor. Certain things were required for making sacrifices and the traders made sure he people paid top price for them.
So much worse was this because it was carried out in the temple precincts. Notice how one man controlled the situation and no-one attempted to restrain Him.
Verses 18 & 19 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill Him, for they feared Him, because the whole crowd was amazed at His teaching. When evening came, they went out of the city.
These religious leaders had already been plotting to kill Jesus for some time. This was now an added reason. How could He exercise such authority? was the question in their minds just now. However, the public didn’t feel the same way; they respected Jesus’ unique teaching. For this reason the leaders were hesitant about moving in to arrest Jesus.
Verses 20-22 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” “Have faith in God” Jesus answered.
The disciples must have constantly been amazed at the miraculous things that happened during their time with Jesus. Here was yet another sign of His power. But it was also a sign of the state of things as far as the nation of Israel was concerned. The Jews were about to commit the greatest injustice in their history, having for them disastrous consequences.
“Have faith in God’ was appropriate for the disciples and for us too.
We are nearing the time of crisis.
We have entered the last week of the ministry of Jesus. The writer, Mark, wants us to see the significance of what follows. All that has been said to this point is to bring us to this climax of events. The most important fact of history is the crucifixion of Christ. We are soon to learn more about it.
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