Casting Down Mountains (Mark 11)

Date: 4/1/2012
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Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: Forgiveness
Organization: All Saints
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Casting Down Mountains
Mark 11:1-33

The Priority of Events - Mark’s version of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem includes a unique outline compared to the other Gospels.

A. He entered Jerusalem and looked at the temple (1-11)
     B. He judged the fig tree (12-14)
        C. He entered Jerusalem and judged the temple (15-18)
    B’. He justified the judgment on the fig tree (19-26)
A’. He came again to Jerusalem and walked in the temple (27-33)’
        [C’. He justified His judgment of the temple (12:10ff)]

In the above outline, Jesus judged the fig tree and then justified that judgment. Similarly Jesus justifies the judgment of the temple (C) in the next chapter with The Parable of the Vineyard (Mk 12:1-11), concluding with the Mark 12:10: “The Stone the builder rejected became the chief Cornerstone.”

The Purpose in the Events - It is significant that Jesus came to see the temple prior to enacting judgment. The purpose of this is in Leviticus 14:34–45  - The Inspection of a Diseased House. The priest sees “Something like an infection” in a house. Then the priest examines the infection, quarantines the house for seven days, then returns on the seventh day and examines it. If the infection has spread, the stones that had the infection in them are to be removed and thrown outside the city into an unclean place. If the infection returns and breaks out in the house after he has pulled out these stones, “he must tear down the house, its stones, its wood, and all the plaster of the house, and bring all of it outside the city to an unclean place.” In His ministry Jesus inspected the temple but instead of the diseased stones being removed and taken outside the city, they took the Cornerstone outside and crucified Him. Later the entire “house” would be destroyed (70 AD).

The Principles in the Events - The inspection of the temple and the enacted parable of the fig tree become the occasion for a teaching on faith, doubt and prayer. When Jesus explains the judgment of the fig tree He provides instruction and prayer. “Have faith in God. “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ " . . .  The insurmountable mountain that stood in the way of “the coming kingdom of our father David” (11:10) and God’s house being “a house of prayer for all nations” (11:17) was the then corrupt Temple and leaders of Israel. The mountain that was earthly Jerusalem would need to be cast down before heavenly Mt Zion could rise as the highest peak in all the earth." What are the mountains in your life? We must believe God for them, but also overcome the hardness of our own hearts - "and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. . . Whenever you stand praying, forgive . . .”

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more