Teaching Notes are Bible studies we taught before GraceLife Ministries began publishing articles online in 1995. Some were presented as sermons, others as group studies.

We are sharing a study about the Gospel of Mark from more than 45 years ago. However, we’d like to share more recent thoughts before moving on with the older study. We hope these thoughts will be helpful to you in your life and ministry.

Thoughts About Mark 11 – 13

The Problem

Jesus left Bethany where He had raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11) and walked the short distance (less than two miles) to Jerusalem. The leaders of the Jews (chief priests and Pharisees had given a commandment that “if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him” (Mark 11:57). The reason for that is something the high priest Caiaphas said in response to Jesus’ raising Lazarus from the dead –

“But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.” Mark 11:46-53

This is important to our understanding of Mark 11 and what follows. Jesus was going to die for Israel and the world bringing together in one “the children of God that were scattered abroad.”

The leaders of Israel wanted Jesus dead. They wanted Lazarus dead. That was the attitude of the religious leaders of Israel. That’s also important to remember as we consider what happened in Mark 11 – 13.

The Shout

People who had heard about Jesus bringing Lazarus back from dead met the Lord along the road and shouted “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” (Mark 11:9-10).

The word Hosanna is the Greek word ὡσαννά (hósanna) is a transliteration of the Hebrew word יָשַׁע נָא (yashana). It was originally a personal entreaty or cry for deliverance right now, a cry for help now – “deliver now I pray, save now please.” It eventually became a shout of great joy and expectation that God would deliver. 

The people who were crying “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” believed Jesus was the answer to their prayers for deliverance from the bondage of Rome.

The Judgments

Jesus stepped inside Jerusalem and headed for the temple. He looked around inside the temple, then headed back to Bethany with His 12 disciples (Mark 11:11). His purpose for being in Jerusalem was not going to be what the crowds wanted or what the Jewish leaders expected. Jesus was about to reveal three specific judgments.

Some of the keys to understanding the three judgments in Mark chapters 11 – 13 are these –

  • Curse of the fig tree
  • Casting people out of the temple
  • Superior authority to religious leaders
  • Parable of the wicked vinedressers
  • Superior knowledge over that of religious leaders
  • Christ the Son of David was before David
  • Warning about religious leaders
  • Prediction of the temple’s destruction
  • Signs of the end of the age
  • The future tribulation and return of Christ
  • Watch!

The three judgments Jesus pointed to in these chapters are:

  1. Judgment of sin and salvation for elect
  2. Judgment of religious Israel (destruction of Temple and great tribulation)
  3. Judgment of nations (Gospel must be preached to all nations)

What does Jesus want us to do about the coming judgments? Watch!

“Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” Mark 13:35-37

The Greek language has many words that are translated by the English word “watch.” The word used in Mark 13:35 and 37 is γρηγορέω (grégoreó) which means “stay awake, be alert.”

Jesus’ disciples had asked Him when “these things” would come to pass – “and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled.” Jesus started his answer by saying – “Take heed lest any man deceive you.” Jesus told them to stay awake, to be alert.”

That is what Christians must do today. We must stay awake and be alert. We need to take heed “lest any man deceive you.” Unfortunately, hundreds of millions of people who believe they are Christians are asleep. They are not alert. They have not taken heed. They have been deceived.

May we remember the simple warning of our Lord – “watch”.

Next Time

We will look at an outline of Mark Chapter 15 in the next part of our special series.

[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from 45 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your ministry.]