Kenneth W. Yates
In Mark 11:23 Jesus makes an astounding promise to His disciples:
“For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”
Clearly, this statement raises a number of questions. What is the context of this statement? Is it to be taken literally? What does it mean? In the process of answering these questions another issue will surface. Does this promise support the idea that the Church has replaced Israel?
In this article I will attempt to answer these questions.
II. THE CONTEXT
The Lord’s statement about a faith that can move mountains is found in the broader passage of Mark 11:20-26.1 In turn, these verses are contained in the larger context of 11:12-26. Verses 20-26 form the closing section of an inclusio.
Mark 11:12-14 contains the account of Jesus cursing a fig tree. He comes to the tree expecting to find fruit, but finds none. Verses 20-26 describe what happens the next day and also refer to the fig tree. The disciples see that the tree has been withered at its roots (vv 20-21). Verses 22-26 involve the Lord’s teachings about what the withered fig tree demonstrates to the disciples.
Sandwiched between the events at the fig tree, Mark tells the reader that Jesus cleansed the temple in Jerusalem. The day before, Jesus had come to the temple and looked around (v 11). Based upon the fact that the next day He cleansed the temple out and was not pleased with what He saw, we can safely assume that He did not find what He expected to find. This is supported by the fact that He denounces what He saw going on in the temple (v 17). Like the fig tree, He did not find any acceptable “fruit” in the temple.
The fig tree was destroyed by the word of the Lord. The actions of the Lord in the temple, occurring between the two events at the fig tree, showed that the temple was to be destroyed. In Mark 13:2, the Lord will specifically state that this is what is going to happen.
Piotrowski says that this reminds those familiar with the OT about the account in Jeremiah 7–8. Jesus quotes from Jer 7:11 when He cleans out the temple (Mark 11:17). In Jeremiah 8, God does not find any figs on fig trees and this is the reason for the imminent destruction of the temple described in Jeremiah 7 in Jeremiah’s day. Jesus’ not finding figs indicates that the temple of His day will be destroyed as well.2
Stein agrees that the whole section of the accounts of the fig tree and the cleansing of the temple (Mark 11:12-26) indicates a coming judgment on the nation and temple.3 These verses should be seen as a unit. Mershon agrees and says that the cursing of the fig tree and cleansing of the temple should be viewed together as a condemnation of Israel.4 Grassmick says that these episodes help explain each other.5
Viewing these accounts as a unit finds support in the idea that Mark has used this “sandwiching” technique before. In Mark 5:21-43 he tells of how the Lord meets a man with a very ill daughter (vv 21-24). The Lord eventually heals the girl, raising her from the dead (vv 35-43). In between, Mark relates how the Lord heals a woman with an issue of blood (vv 25-34). Mark intends that the reader sees these two healings as a package. Perhaps they teach that Christ can overcome defilement, or the woman teaches the man that Jesus can raise his daughter, even after he is told his daughter had died.6
A. Different Contexts?
When studying the context of Mark 11:20-26, another issue is the question as to whether all these verses belong to this time in Jesus’ life. France says that the account of what happened to the fig tree (vv 20-21) is a symbol of the judgment that is about to fall upon Israel and the temple, but that the verses that follow (vv 22-25) were spoken of Jesus on a different occasion.7 If this is the case, then the teachings in vv 22-25 were not used by the Lord in the context of judgment upon Israel and the temple. These teachings include a faith that can remove a mountain and the need for forgiveness when praying.
France and others maintain that vv 22-26 do not belong in the context of the cursing of the fig tree, in part, due to the abrupt shift in the subject matter. It is difficult to see a connection between judgment on Israel as illustrated in the fig tree, and the need for faith that can move mountains. The connection is even less clear when one speaks of the need to forgive others.
Stein is even more blunt than France. He says that vv 22-25 have nothing to do with the cursing of the fig tree.8 The fig tree was not used by the Lord as a lesson about faith and forgiveness. Collins says that these teachings were part of the instructions of Jesus when He performed another miracle.9 Cranfield also believes that vv 22-25 were not found in this context, but were part of a catechism of the early Church that the writer of Mark adds on here.10
This view may strike some as reflecting a low view of the inspiration of the Scriptures. This article will argue that there is no need to conclude that Jesus did not say vv 22-26 at this point in His ministry.
B. Verse 26
Scholars seem to generally agree that v 26 supports the idea that vv 22-25 were not a part of the original context. Many contend that when Jesus says that if we do not forgive others we will not be forgiven, it comes from a scribal gloss (Matt 6:15) and is not a part of the original Gospel of Mark.11 This suggests that the verses prior to this statement also came from elsewhere. After saying that v 26 is a scribal gloss from Matt 6:15, Stein points out that all of vv 22-25 is found in other Gospel accounts as well and could have been imported by Mark into this context (Matt 5:23 24; 6:9-15;7:7-8; 17:20; Luke 11:9-10; 17:6; John 14:13-14; 15:7;16:23-24).12
By their rating given to v 26, Metzger and his committee are confident that the verse is not a part of the original.13 They give its exclusion a rating of “A,” which reflects their highest level of confidence. Based upon their comments, however, their confidence seems firmly grounded in the preference for the Critical Text (hereafter CT). They place great weight on the fact that v 26 is not found in early witnesses, even though it is found in the majority of manuscripts. The committee also admits that v 26 could have been original and omitted by an early scribe due to homoeoteleuton.14 This would explain its absence in these early manuscripts.
Even though many see an abrupt shift of focus between vv 20-21 and vv 22-26, it is not necessary to conclude that vv 22-26 were not a part of Jesus’ teachings at the withered fig tree. The fact that Jesus taught the same truths in other places does not negate this conclusion. The Lord could have certainly taught the same truths in different contexts. If it can be shown that these teachings fit in the context of judgment upon Israel, then we should find that Mark accurately reflects what the Lord said on this occasion.
The same thing can be said specifically about v 26. If one is not predisposed to the CT, he does not need to posit the theory that v 26 was added to Mark by a later copyist who had Matt 6:15 in mind. The Majority Text (hereafter MT) may be correct and v 26 was omitted by an early scribe. This would explain its absence in the CT. This is especially true if v 26 makes sense in the current context.
III. IS IT LITERAL?
Does the Lord call upon His disciples to move literal mountains and cast them into the sea? This is highly doubtful for a number of reasons.
There are no examples of the Lord’s people throwing a mountain in a sea. The withering of the fig tree is parallel to the casting of the mountain into the sea. France makes the helpful comment that they are parallel at least in the sense that both are destructive acts.15 Since mountains usually have people living on them, the throwing of a mountain into the ocean would have severe consequences! If the cursing of the fig tree is an illustration of coming judgment on the nation of Israel, it is natural to conclude that the removal of a mountain is also to be understood as an illustration of something.
DeGraaf maintains that the illustration of the removal of a mountain was understood by the Jewish disciples as doing what seems to be impossible. The OT prophets used this illustration in this way (Zech 4:7).16 The mountain represents an obstacle that cannot be removed by human means. We use the phrase in a similar way when we say that we thank God for the mountains and valleys He has brought us through. This statement is understood as meaning that God has brought us through difficult times. God did it when we couldn’t do it in our own strength. Both Stein and Grassmick agree that the verse is a hyperbolic illustration about doing what is humanly impossible.17
Cranfield says the illustration can have a broad range of uses. He comments that the Jews used the phrase in reference to rabbis who were good interpreters of the Scriptures. If there was a particularly difficult passage to understand, the teacher who could determine its interpretation was called a “mountain remover.”18 When others thought the meaning was impossible to obtain, this teacher did the impossible.
Related to the question of whether removing a mountain is understood in a literal sense is the identity of the mountain in this case. Jesus refers to “this” (touto) mountain. Did He have a particular mountain in mind?
If Jesus did have such a mountain in mind there are two options in the immediate context. He is coming from Bethany and the mount of Olives (Mark 11:11). He is headed towards the temple mount (v 27).
France holds that since the removal of the mountain is clearly an illustration, the demonstrative adjective “this” should not be understood as referring to either the temple mount or the mount of Olives. The whole phrase is simply a proverbial saying. He particularly rejects the idea that the specific mountain is the temple mount. But as mentioned above, France does not believe v 22-25 belong to this context.19 If one rejects the idea that Jesus spoke about a faith that can move mountains when He cursed the fig tree and prefigured the destruction of the temple, it is easy to reject the idea that “this” mountain in Mark 11:23 has a connection with the temple mount.
It must be recognized, however, that Jesus was heading towards the mountain the temple was on and it was in sight. In addition, Jesus’ actions in the temple and towards the fig tree in Mark 11 deal with judgment on the temple. The Lord will soon predict its complete destruction (Mark 13:2). France mentions that the Gospels never call the temple mount a mountain. But he admits that Isa 2:2-3 can be understood to do so.20 One could add Micah 4:1-3, which is parallel to Isa 2:2-3.
Jesus may very well have used the removal of a mountain as a proverbial, hyperbolic, statement. But this does not mean that He is not using the temple mount as an example of a humanly impossible obstacle. Evans takes this view as well.21
It may be significant that when Jesus refers to the sea, He does not modify it with the adjective “this.” Stein says this is a general statement. The Dead Sea was visible from the mount of Olives, and the Mediterranean Sea was nearby to the west. The Lord did not have a particular sea in mind.22 But the lack of specificity indicates that even if Jesus was dealing with the temple mount in some sense in this illustration, He was not talking about literally casting it into a literal sea.
To summarize, the Lord did not tell His disciples that if they believed they could cast a literal mountain into a sea. The statement is best taken to mean that faith can overcome seemingly impossible obstacles. At the same time, one is probably justified in seeing that Jesus is dealing with a particular mountain in this passage. It takes center stage in the whole account of vv 12-26. He doesn’t literally throw it into the Dead Sea, but the temple mount presents an obstacle for the Lord.
With this background, it is possible to discuss the meaning of the passage.
IV. THE MEANING OF MARK 11:23
A. The Broader Context
Mark 11 falls within the last week of Jesus’ life. He has come to Jerusalem to offer Himself as the King (Mark 11:1-11). However, the nation will reject and crucify Him. The religious leaders will lead the way in this endeavor. Even in the extended passage under discussion, after Jesus cleanses the temple, the religious leaders are said to seek how they might destroy Him.
Prior to arriving in Jerusalem, Jesus has told His disciples that these things were going to happen to Him. He tells them the religious leaders will kill Him (8:31). Then, He says that He will be delivered over to men who will kill Him (9:31). On the third occasion, He describes His upcoming death in a way that indicates He will be crucified by the Romans (10:33-34).
In each of these predictions of His death, the disciples do not understand what He is saying. It is clear that they think He is going to Jerusalem to be the King. They have proclaimed that He is the Christ (8:29). As they follow the Lord to Jerusalem, their biggest concern is over who will be the greatest (9:34). In fact, two of the inner circle want the highest positions of honor in the kingdom that they think will soon appear (10:37).
The reaction of the religious leaders is tragic in light of the way the Gospel of Mark began. John the Baptist had come before the Lord, preparing the way for His entrance to the nation. He had preached a message of repentance and the need for forgiveness (Mark 1:1-4). Implied in the need for forgiveness is that judgment will follow if the nation did not obey that message.
Jesus preached the same message to the nation (Mark 1:15). He told them they needed to repent and believe the good news about the kingdom. If that nation had turned from their sins and believed that the kingdom was at hand in the Person of Jesus Christ, that generation of Jews would have seen the coming of the kingdom.
People today are saved by faith in Jesus Christ for eternal life. The message of the good news in Mark 1 was different. It was the good news about the kingdom of God for the nation of Israel. That generation of Jews had the requirement of turning from sins before the kingdom would have come at that time for the nation as a whole. Both John and Jesus proclaimed the necessity for that nation to bear the fruit of repentance (Matt 3:8). They were looking for a nation pursuing righteousness.
When Jesus comes into Jerusalem in Mark 11, He does not find that fruit. The temple had turned into a den of thieves (Mark 11:17). The nation, through its leaders, had decided to reject the King and His offer of the kingdom.
This explains the need to clean out the temple. It also explains the cursing of the fig tree. Because Israel, as pictured by the fig tree, had not born the expected fruit, judgment was coming upon it.
It is not an accident that immediately after the incident of the fig tree, the Lord is opposed by the religious leaders. They want to know by whose authority He had cleaned out the temple (11:28). Basically, the Lord tells them His authority came from the same place John the Baptist got his. Both John and the Lord preached the same message. Part of that message was that if the nation did not repent and believe, judgment would fall.
B. Jesus’ “Mountain”
Jesus found Himself in a difficult situation. The temple was the place by which God called His name. The prophets had said that the kingdom was coming to the nation of Israel. But God’s people had rejected His messenger John, His message, and the Lord Himself.
This was not the way the Jews understood what would happen when the Messiah came to the nation. Certainly the disciples did not understand how the nation could reject their King (Mark 8:32; 9:32).
But Jesus does what seems to be humanly impossible. He pronounces a judgment on the very temple of God. The temple was the pride of the nation. Who could pronounce that the day would soon come when not a single stone of those magnificent buildings would lie one upon another (13:2)? Christ postpones the coming kingdom of God for the nation of Israel. He puts off the very plan of God for His chosen people. If we see “this” mountain as a reference to the temple mount, we could say that Jesus has figuratively removed a mountain by pronouncing judgment upon the nation and her temple.
The withered fig tree is a picture of it. The illustration itself is a picture of the humanly impossible. A person cannot cause a live tree to wither at the roots simply by his word.
Marcus points out that Mark wants to make a connection between the complete destruction of the temple in 13:2 and the fig tree withered at its root in 11:21. In both cases a disciple tells the Lord to “look” (ide) at something amazing.23 The first is the withered fig tree. The second is the beautiful buildings of the temple (13:1). The Lord pronounces judgment on both.
When Peter points out the withered tree to the Lord (v 21), Jesus immediately tells the disciples to have faith in God (v 22). Lane is one who questions if the teachings of vv 22-25 originally belong to this context because of the supposed difference in subject matter with v 21. However, he admits that there may indeed be a connection. Jesus received His authority and power to pronounce judgment upon Israel from God the Father.24 That is what He will say to the religious leaders immediately after this account (11:27–12:12).
Jesus, in the midst of difficulties and rejection, believed in God and relied upon Him. As such, He could do what was seemingly impossible. He will now tell the disciples they should follow that example.
C. Believe in God (vv 22-24)
As Jesus’ ministry was characterized by reliance upon God, the disciples should do the same. While some do not see the connection between this exhortation and the cursing and the withering of the fig tree, there is indeed a clear one.
Jesus did what was seemingly impossible in a difficult situation. The disciples would face difficult situations as well. But there is another connection.
With the rejection of the Lord by the nation the disciples would experience trying times. Mark is a book about the cost of discipleship. Discipleship is not the same thing as believing in Jesus for eternal life. As they followed the Lord, the disciples would learn the cost of following the King who was rejected by His people. Jesus had spoken to them of this earlier (Mark 8:34-38).
As disciples, and by taking up their crosses in following the Lord, they will find themselves in situations that seem humanly impossible to endure. Of particular importance here is the original audience. Most scholars agree that Mark was written to Christians living in Rome. There is evidence of this from early Christian writers. These Christians were encountering persecution.25 How appropriate that Mark would include in the life of the Lord an event that taught the disciples that God is completely reliable in the midst of extreme difficulties and opposition. Finding Himself in that seemingly hopeless situation, the Lord could speak of the temple mount being destroyed. He could cause a tree to wither at the roots as an illustration of what would happen.
The Lord instructs His disciples to be people of prayer (v 24). In prayer, Jesus tells them, they have the source to find the very power of God.26 Jesus just did a miraculous thing (v 21). They can as well as they rely on God and believe He will do what they ask.27 God can deal with any difficulty.28 This would have been particularly comforting to the original readers as well.
It needs to be noted that the faith Jesus speaks of here (v 23) is the faith of a disciple. It is not a super kind of faith. When Jesus says to believe in the “heart,” He is not referring to a faith that is greater than a head faith. Believing with the mind and believing in the heart are the same thing (Luke 24:25, 45). They both mean that faith is something that happens internally and simply mean to accept that something is true.29 Here, it means that God is able and will do what we ask.
The faith here, then, is not the faith that leads to eternal life. Instead, it is the faith needed when disciples, who are already believers and have eternal life, face hardships. The original disciples would face difficulties as they see the nation reject the One they proclaimed as the Christ. They would need faith when they saw that the coming of the kingdom was delayed.30 We must bear in mind that at this time they had no concept of the Church. For them, they could not even think of a scenario where the nation rejected the King and the temple was destroyed.
It is evident as well that the Lord is speaking of praying for things according to the will of God (Matt 6:9–10; John 14:13–14; 15:7; 16:23–24). In the case of Jesus, it was God’s will that the nation be judged for their sins. The Mosaic Covenant required that the nation be cursed if it rejected God (Deut 27–28). Blessings would come upon the nation for obedience. Cursing would come upon it for disobedience. In Mark, Jesus had offered the nation the incredible blessing of the promised kingdom. It was now inevitable, according to the will of God, that the curse of judgment would fall upon them.
When disciples face difficulties and opposition they have the privilege of praying to God for His will to be done. The will of God is expressed in the Word of God. Even if such things seem impossible, especially when faced with opposition, God will accomplish His will. For example, God wants His people to bear fruit and glorify Him by living righteously. In times of persecution and difficulties, it may seem like this is impossible. But the believer should not “doubt” it (v 23). DeGraaf summarizes the sense of these verses:
The person praying can therefore believe that what he requests will happen because it is God’s will. He will neither doubt God’s ability to do what he requests, since God can do anything, nor will he doubt that God will grant his petition, since it is God’s will. He will not have a divided heart about this matter.31
But the Lord says the believer needs more than faith in order to have his prayers answered. He also needs to be merciful. Specifically the believer must forgive those who sin against him.
D. The Necessity for Forgiveness (vv 25-26)
As mentioned above, some maintain that when Jesus introduces the idea of forgiveness at the end of this pericope Mark is importing His words from a different context. The idea of forgiveness seems foreign to the discussion about the destruction of the temple and the need for faith in God’s revealed will.
The most obvious connection is that answered prayer does not just depend upon faith in God. It also depends upon forgiving others. But faith and forgiveness are intimately connected. Part of the revealed will of God is that believers forgive one another. It takes faith to do that. Often times, when others wrong us we do not want to forgive. We must believe what God has revealed. We are to forgive.
There is also a connection to the larger context. Jesus is speaking of the difficult times disciples will face. In times of difficulties, it is common for believers to sin against others. In these times of stress it is even easier to harm, or sin against, others as we feel we need to do things in our own power.
The Lord speaks of the fact that if we want to be forgiven, we must forgive others. There is a positional forgiveness that the believer receives when he believes in Jesus Christ for eternal life (Col 2:13-14). This positional forgiveness makes fellowship with God possible.
Here in Mark 11:25-26, the Lord is not talking about positional forgiveness. He is speaking of fellowship forgiveness.32 The believer in fellowship with the Lord will experience answered prayer. In 1 John 3:22, John says that when we do what God commands, and are therefore in fellowship with Him (abide with Him), we receive what we ask of God. God commands us to forgive. If we want our prayers answered we must forgive. When we forgive others we receive a daily cleansing of sins which allows us to be in intimate communion with God.
There may also be a connection here between forgiveness and the removal of a mountain. Forgiving others may seem impossible for us. But God has commanded us to do so. If we ask Him for the grace to do it, He will remove that “mountain.”
Once again, the reader of Mark needs to remember that it is a book about discipleship. Walking in Christ’s footsteps is difficult. Part of that walk is forgiving others. That can be a difficult thing to do. But the Lord is saying that those who do so by believing in what God has commanded will experience answered prayer.
After the disciples discover that the fig tree Jesus cursed has become withered at its roots, the disciples are amazed (vv 20-21). Jesus then tells them that they have the same power at their disposal.
The cursing of the fig tree was not just a miracle. It was an illustration of what was going to happen. God’s people and temple were to be judged. This judgment and what happened to the fig tree did not seem humanly possible.
As the disciples experienced difficulties because of that coming judgment, they should rely upon the power of God. In prayer they had that power available. They needed to believe that God could remove whatever “mountain” they encountered as they did the will of God. Part of that will was forgiving others. As they did, they would experience the power of God in answered prayer.
But there is an additional question that arises in light of the judgment that Jesus speaks of in this account. Does the judgment on Israel mean that God is finished with the Jewish nation and that the Church has permanently replaced the temple God judged?
V. HAS THE CHURCH REPLACED ISRAEL?
Some who believe that Mark has imported teachings from Christ in other contexts in vv 22-25 believe that there is still a connection with the judgment that is coming upon the nation. They see this connection in what is called replacement theology. The withered fig tree (vv 20-21) pictures judgment on the temple. This judgment means that the Church has replaced Israel. Mark uses the teachings of vv 22-25 to make this point.
France says that even though the “house of prayer” in Jerusalem is about to be destroyed, it will be replaced by the praying community of the Church.33 Marcus similarly says that the connection between vv 20-21 and vv 22-25 is that prayer will stop at the temple, but prayer will continue to go on in the elect community of Christians.34
Culpepper says that the “mountain” Jesus speaks of is the mount of Olives and that in Mark 11:23 He has in mind Zech 14:4. Zechariah says that in the last days Christ will split the mount of Olives. For Culpepper, the point is that in the destruction of the nation and the coming of the Church the eschatological day has come. He even connects Jesus’ discussion on forgiveness with the destruction of the temple. Even though the temple is destroyed, that cannot block one’s prayers. However, unforgiveness within the Church can.35
Evans also says that Zech 14:4 is behind v 23. The temple is no longer the place of prayer. It might as well be cast into the sea. In these last days, God accomplishes His redemptive work in the Church. Those who have been redeemed and are forgiven express that new relationship in prayer.36 Lane says that v 23 and its connection with Zech 14:4 means that we have entered the Messianic Age.37
It is difficult, however, to understand how Zech 14:4 can be the reference behind v 23. Zechariah deals with the splitting of the mount of Olives, and not a judgment on the temple. More importantly, Zechariah 14 speaks of the coming of the Lord at the end of the Tribulation. It is not talking about the Church age.
Even though the Church is the temple of God in the Church age, this does not mean the Church has replaced Israel. One cannot deduce this from these verses. The Lord is telling the disciples that Israel did not bear the fruit that was expected. This is pictured in the fig tree.
But the disciples can. As they walk in obedience and forgive one another, they will not only experience answered prayer and a daily cleansing of sin, but they also will be in fellowship with God. Even in the midst of difficulties, including the destruction of the temple, they can produce fruit that pleases God.
In the book that bears his name, James, the half-brother of the Lord, is addressing Christians who are going through difficult times. He tells them that in the midst of trials they should pray to God for the things they need. They are to be people of faith, not doubting that the Father will answer their prayers. This will include bearing spiritual fruit (Jas 1:2-6).
James also says that as they go through these difficulties they will need to be merciful (James 2:13). It is during times of difficulties that Christians are especially susceptible to treat others in an unloving manner (Jas 3:14; 4:1-2). Forgiving one another will be sorely needed.
In Mark 11:20-26, Jesus teaches His disciples the same truths. The Lord had offered Israel the kingdom when He came to them. In order for that kingdom to come the nation needed to produce fruit. It did not. They would even reject and kill the One who is the King. As a result judgment would fall.
This judgment would involve the severe discipline of God’s chosen people. It would involve the destruction of the temple of God. It would involve putting off the kingdom of God until a future generation of Jews receive it.
Only the power of God could accomplish such things. But Jesus pronounced that judgment. He was in control in the midst of the difficulties before Him. As an illustration of that judgment, He caused a non-fruit bearing tree to wither at its roots.
The disciples were instructed to learn from Christ’s example. The same power that Christ displayed was available to them. They were about to experience difficult times. In the midst of that, they should be people of prayer. In those prayers they should believe that God would do the things they asked as they followed His will.
They were to be people of faith as the kingdom was delayed in its coming. As they went through these difficulties they were to forgive each other. This is an example of what it means to believe God. He would give them the ability to do so. Such obedience would result in fellowship with Christ as He forgave them of their sins on a daily basis. In fellowship with Him, they would do what Israel did not do. They would produce fruit that was pleasing to God.
In fact, there was nothing that God would not do for them. He would remove any “mountain” in their path. This was true even though they were facing things that at that time they had no idea were coming.
1 As will be discussed below, the majority of scholars believe the passage ends at v 25 and that v 26 is a scribal gloss. However, the majority of manuscripts contain v 26. This article will argue that v 26 certainly makes sense in the meaning of the passage as well.
2 N. G. Piotrowski, “‘Whatever You Ask’ for the Missionary Purposes of the Eschatological temple: Quotation and Typology in Mark 11–12,” Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, 21, (2017): 102-103. Piotrowski’s points are well taken. However, it must be pointed out that Piotrowski says that God looks for figs on the fig trees in Jeremiah. That is not the case. Instead, God takes away the figs from the trees as a judgment on the nation (Jer 8:13). If we are to find parallels with Mark 11, perhaps we should say that Jesus takes away the figs from the tree when He says that no one will ever eat from it again.
3 Robert H. Stein, Mark, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 521.
4 Barry Mershon, Jr., “Mark,” in The Grace New Testament Commentary, vol 1 (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2010), 189.
5 John D. Grassmick, “Mark,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament Edition (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983), 157.
6 The connection between the accounts is also seen in the fact that the girl is 12 years old and the woman has had an issue of blood for 12 years. In addition, both are healed by Jesus touching them in their uncleanness. To touch a woman with an issue of blood made one unclean. To touch a dead person did as well.
7 R. T. France, The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002), 447-48.
8 Stein, Mark, 519.
9 Adela Yarbro Collins, Mark, Hermeneia (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2007), 532.
10 C. E. B. Cranfield, Mark, Cambridge Greek Testament Commentary (London, ENG: Cambridge University Press, 1966), 360.
11 Stein, Mark, 522; Cranfield, Mark, 362; Collins, Mark, 532; Craig A. Evans, Mark 8:27–16:20, Word Biblical Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2001), 194; William L. Lane, The Gospel According to Mark (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974), 409.
12 Stein, Mark, 520.
13 Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (New York: United Bible Societies, 1971), 110.
14 Homoeoteleuton comes from the Greek and means “same endings.” When scribes copied a manuscript they sometimes omitted words because of the same endings of words in the next successive lines. The scribe thought he had already copied a verse because it was similar to the next one in many respects. In the case of v 26 the similarities between the words of v 25 and v 26 are very apparent, both in Greek and English.
15 France, Mark, 448.
16 David DeGraaf, “Some Doubts about Doubt: The New Testament Use of Diakrino” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 48:8 (December 2005): 744-49.
17 Stein, Mark, 522; Grassmick, “Mark,” 158.
18 Cranfield, Mark, 361.
19 France, Mark, 449.
21 Evans, Mark, 188.
22 Stein, Mark, 520.
23 Joel Marcus, Mark 8–16, The Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009), 793.
24 Lane, Mark, 409.
25 Grassmick, “Mark,” 99; Mershon, “Mark,” 140.
26 France, Mark, 447; Grassmick, “Mark,” 158.
27 Collins, Mark, 534.
28 Lane, Mark, 410.
29 Robert N. Wilkin, Confident in Christ: Living by Faith Really Works (Irving, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2015), 249-50.
30 Mershon, “Mark,” 190.
31 DeGraaf, “Some Doubts,” 749.
32 While all believers have received positional forgiveness, only those who confess their sins and who forgive others when sinned against receive fellowship forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
33 France, Mark, 448.
34 Marcus, Mark, 794-95.
35 R. Alan Culpepper, Mark, Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2007), 382.
36 Evans, Mark, 195.
37 Lane, Mark, 411.