Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,
Mr 11:1-11. Christ's Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, on the First Day of the Week. ( = Mt 21:1-9; Lu 19:29-40; Joh 12:12, 19).
See on Lu 19:29-40.
And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.
And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.
And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.
And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?
And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.
And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.
And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.
And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:
Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.
And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.
Mr 11:11-26. The Barren Fig Tree Cursed with Lessons from It—Second Cleansing of the Temple, on the Second and Third Days of the Week. ( = Mt 21:12-22; Lu 19:45-48).
11. And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon—surveyed.
all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out into Bethany with the twelve—Thus briefly does our Evangelist dispose of this His first day in Jerusalem, after the triumphal entry. Nor do the Third and Fourth Gospels give us more light. But from Matthew (Mt 21:10, 11, 14-16) we learn some additional and precious particulars, for which see on Lu 19:45-48. It was not now safe for the Lord to sleep in the city, nor, from the day of His Triumphal Entry, did He pass one night in it, save the last fatal one.
The Barren Fig Tree Cursed (Mr 11:12-14).
And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
12. And on the morrow—The Triumphal Entry being on the first day of the week, this following day was Monday.
when they were come from Bethany—"in the morning" (Mt 21:18).
he was hungry—How was that? Had he stolen forth from that dear roof at Bethany to the "mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God?" (Lu 6:12); or, "in the morning," as on a former occasion, "risen up a great while before day, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed" (Mr 1:35); not breaking His fast thereafter, but bending His steps straight for the city, that He might "work the works of Him that sent Him while it was day?" (Joh 9:4). We know not, though one lingers upon and loves to trace out the every movement of that life of wonders. One thing, however we are sure of—it was real bodily hunger which He now sought to allay by the fruit of this fig tree, "if haply He might find any thing thereon"; not a mere scene for the purpose of teaching a lesson, as some early heretics maintained, and some still seem virtually to hold.
And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
13. And seeing a fig tree—(In Mt 21:19, it is "one fig tree," but the sense is the same as here, "a certain fig tree," as in Mt 8:19, &c.). Bethphage, which adjoined Bethany, derives its name from its being a fig region—"House of figs."
afar off having leaves—and therefore promising fruit, which in the case of figs come before the leaves.
he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet—What the precise import of this explanation is, interpreters are not agreed. Perhaps all that is meant is, that as the proper fig season had not arrived, no fruit would have been expected even of this tree but for the leaves which it had, which were in this case prematurely and unnaturally developed.
And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
14. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever—That word did not make the tree barren, but sealed it up in its own barrenness. See on Mt 13:13-15.
And his disciples heard it—and marked the saying. This is introduced as a connecting link, to explain what was afterwards to be said on the subject, as the narrative has to proceed to the other transactions of this day.
Second Cleansing of the Temple (Mr 11:15-18).
For the exposition of this portion, see on Lu 19:45-48.
Lessons from the Cursing of the Fig Tree (Mr 11:20-26).
And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;
And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.
And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.
And when even was come, he went out of the city.
And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
20. And in the morning—of Tuesday, the third day of the week: He had slept, as during all this week, at Bethany.
as they passed by—going into Jerusalem again.
they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots—no partial blight, leaving life in the root; but it was now dead, root and branch. In Mt 21:19 it is said it withered away as soon as it was cursed. But the full blight had not appeared probably at once; and in the dusk perhaps, as they returned to Bethany, they had not observed it. The precision with which Mark distinguishes the days is not observed by Matthew, intent only on holding up the truths which the incident was designed to teach. In Matthew the whole is represented as taking place at once, just as the two stages of Jairus' daughter—dying and dead—are represented by him as one. The only difference is between a more summary and a more detailed narrative, each of which only confirms the other.
And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.
21. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him—satisfied that a miracle so very peculiar—a miracle, not of blessing, as all His other miracles, but of cursing—could not have been wrought but with some higher reference, and fully expecting to hear something weighty on the subject.
Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away—so connecting the two things as to show that he traced the death of the tree entirely to the curse of his Lord. Matthew (Mt 21:20) gives this simply as a general exclamation of surprise by the disciples "how soon" the blight had taken effect.
And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
22. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
23. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed … he shall have whatsoever he saith—Here is the lesson now. From the nature of the case supposed—that they might wish a mountain removed and cast into the sea, a thing far removed from anything which they could be thought actually to desire—it is plain that not physical but moral obstacles to the progress of His kingdom were in the Redeemer's view, and that what He designed to teach was the great lesson, that no obstacle should be able to stand before a confiding faith in God.
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
24. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them—This verse only generalizes the assurance of Mr 11:23; which seems to show that it was designed for the special encouragement of evangelistic and missionary efforts, while this is a directory for prevailing prayer in general.
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
25. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses, &c.—This is repeated from the Sermon on the Mount (see on Mt 6:12); to remind them that if this was necessary to the acceptableness of all prayer, much more when great things were to be asked and confidently expected.
But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders,
Mr 11:27-33. The Authority of Jesus Questioned—His Reply. ( = Mt 21:23-27; Lu 20:1-8).
See on Mt 21:23-27.
And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?
And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.
And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him?
But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.
And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.