New English Translation
The Triumphal Entry
11 Now[a] as they approached Jerusalem, near Bethphage[b] and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives,[c] Jesus[d] sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go to the village ahead of you.[e] As soon as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there that has never been ridden.[f] Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it[g] and will send it back here soon.’” 4 So[h] they went and found a colt tied at a door, outside in the street, and untied it. 5 Some people standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They replied as Jesus had told them, and the bystanders[i] let them go. 7 Then[j] they brought the colt to Jesus, threw their cloaks[k] on it, and he sat on it.[l] 8 Many spread their cloaks on the road and others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Both those who went ahead and those who followed kept shouting, “Hosanna![m] Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord![n] 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” 11 Then[o] Jesus[p] entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. And after looking around at everything, he went out to Bethany with the twelve since it was already late.
Cursing of the Fig Tree
12 Now[q] the next day, as they went out from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 After noticing in the distance a fig tree with leaves, he went to see if he could find any fruit[r] on it. When he came to it he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 He said to it,[s] “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.[t]
Cleansing the Temple
15 Then[u] they came to Jerusalem. Jesus[v] entered the temple area[w] and began to drive out those who were selling and buying in the temple courts.[x] He turned over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, 16 and he would not permit anyone to carry merchandise[y] through the temple courts.[z] 17 Then he began to teach[aa] them and said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’?[ab] But you have turned it into a den[ac] of robbers!”[ad] 18 The chief priests and the experts in the law[ae] heard it and they considered how they could assassinate[af] him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed by his teaching. 19 When evening came, Jesus and his disciples[ag] went out of the city.
The Withered Fig Tree
20 In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered.” 22 Jesus said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 I tell you the truth,[ah] if someone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24 For this reason I tell you, whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will[ai] also forgive you your sins.”[aj]
The Authority of Jesus
27 They came again to Jerusalem. While Jesus[ak] was walking in the temple courts,[al] the chief priests, the experts in the law,[am] and the elders came up to him 28 and said, “By what authority[an] are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do these things?” 29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question. Answer me and I will tell you by what authority I do these things: 30 John’s baptism—was it from heaven or from people?[ao] Answer me.” 31 They discussed with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘From people—’” (they feared the crowd, for they all considered John to be truly a prophet). 33 So[ap] they answered Jesus,[aq] “We don’t know.”[ar] Then Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you[as] by what authority[at] I am doing these things.”
- Mark 11:1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
- Mark 11:1 sn The exact location of the village of Bethphage is not known. Most put it on the southeast side of the Mount of Olives and northwest of Bethany, about 1.5 miles (3 km) east of Jerusalem.
- Mark 11:1 sn “Mountain” in English generally denotes a higher elevation than it often does in reference to places in Palestine. The Mount of Olives is really a ridge running north to south about 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) long, east of Jerusalem across the Kidron Valley. Its central elevation is about 30 meters (100 ft) higher than Jerusalem. It was named for the large number of olive trees which grew on it.
- Mark 11:1 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Mark 11:2 tn Grk “the village lying before you” (BDAG 530 s.v. κατέναντι 2.b).
- Mark 11:2 tn Grk “a colt tied there on which no one of men has ever sat.”
- Mark 11:3 sn The custom called angaria allowed the impressment of animals for service to a significant figure.
- Mark 11:4 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous action(s) in the narrative.
- Mark 11:6 tn Grk “they”; the referent (the people mentioned in v. 5) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Mark 11:7 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Mark 11:7 tn Grk “garments”; but this refers in context to their outer cloaks. The action is like 2 Kgs 9:13.
- Mark 11:7 sn See Zech 9:9, a prophecy fulfilled here (cf. Matt 21:5; John 12:15.
- Mark 11:9 tn The expression ῾Ωσαννά (hōsanna, literally in Hebrew, “O Lord, save”) in the quotation from Ps 118:25-26 was probably by this time a familiar liturgical expression of praise, on the order of “Hail to the king,” although both the underlying Aramaic and Hebrew expressions meant “O Lord, save us.” The introductory ὡσαννά is followed by the words of Ps 118:25, εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου (eulogēmenos ho erchomenos en onomati kuriou), although in the Fourth Gospel the author adds for good measure καὶ ὁ βασιλεὺς τοῦ ᾿Ισραήλ (kai ho basileus tou Israēl). In words familiar to every Jew, the author is indicating that at this point every messianic expectation is now at the point of realization. It is clear from the words of the psalm shouted by the crowd that Jesus is being proclaimed as messianic king. See E. Lohse, TDNT 9:682-84.sn Hosanna is an Aramaic expression that literally means, “help, I pray,” or “save, I pray.” By Jesus’ time it had become a strictly liturgical formula of praise, however, and was used as an exclamation of praise to God.
- Mark 11:9 sn A quotation from Ps 118:25-26.
- Mark 11:11 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “Then” to indicate the transition from the previous narrative.
- Mark 11:11 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Mark 11:12 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
- Mark 11:13 tn Grk “anything.”
- Mark 11:14 tn Grk “And answering, he said to it.” The participle ἀποκριθείς (apokritheis) is redundant and has not been translated.
- Mark 11:14 sn Mark 11:12-14. The incident of the cursing of the fig tree occurs before he enters the temple for a third time (11:27ff) and is questioned at length by the religious leaders (11:27-12:40). It appears that Mark records the incident as a portent of what is going to happen to the leadership in Jerusalem who were supposed to have borne spiritual fruit but have been found by Messiah at his coming to be barren. The fact that the nation as a whole is indicted is made explicit in chapter 13:1-37 where Jesus speaks of Jerusalem’s destruction and his second coming.
- Mark 11:15 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Mark 11:15 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Mark 11:15 tn Grk “the temple.”sn The merchants (those who were selling) would have been located in the Court of the Gentiles.
- Mark 11:15 tn Grk “the temple.”sn Matthew (21:12-27), Mark (here, 11:15-19), and Luke (19:45-46) record this incident of the temple cleansing at the end of Jesus’ ministry. John (2:13-16) records a cleansing of the temple at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. See the note on the word temple courts in John 2:14 for a discussion of the relationship of these accounts to one another.
- Mark 11:16 tn Or “things.” The Greek word σκεῦος (skeuos) can refer to merchandise, property, goods, a vessel, or even generally “things” (but in the sense of some implement or tool). The idea here is almost certainly restricted to merchandise, rather than the more general “things,” although some suggest from the parallel with m. Berakhot 9.5 that Jesus was not even allowing sandals, staffs, or coin-purses to be carried through the court. The difficulty with this interpretation, however, is that it is fundamentally an appeal to Jewish oral tradition (something Jesus rarely sided with) as well as being indiscriminate toward all the worshipers.
- Mark 11:16 tn Grk “the temple.”
- Mark 11:17 tn The imperfect ἐδίδασκεν (edidasken) is here taken ingressively.
- Mark 11:17 sn A quotation from Isa 56:7.
- Mark 11:17 tn Or “a hideout” (see L&N 1.57).
- Mark 11:17 sn A quotation from Jer 7:11. The meaning of Jesus’ statement about making the temple courts a den of robbers probably operates here at two levels. Not only were the religious leaders robbing the people financially, but because of this they had also robbed them spiritually by stealing from them the opportunity to come to know God genuinely. It is possible that these merchants had recently been moved to this location for convenience.
- Mark 11:18 tn Or “The chief priests and the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 1:22.
- Mark 11:18 tn Grk “how they could destroy him.”
- Mark 11:19 tn Grk “they”; the referents (Jesus and his disciples) have been specified in the translation for clarity. Without such clarification there is room for considerable confusion here, since there are two prior sets of plural referents in the context, “the chief priests and experts in the law” and “the whole crowd” (both in v. 18).
- Mark 11:23 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
- Mark 11:25 tn Although the Greek subjunctive mood, formally required in a subordinate clause introduced by ἵνα (hina), is traditionally translated by an English subjunctive (e.g., “may,” so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV), changes in the use of the subjunctive in English now result in most readers understanding such a statement as indicating permission (“may” = “has permission to”) or as indicating uncertainty (“may” = “might” or “may or may not”). Thus a number of more recent translations render such instances by an English future tense (“will,” so TEV, CEV, NLT, NASB 1995 update). That approach has been followed here.
- Mark 11:25 tc A number of significant mss of various textual families (א B L W Δ Ψ 565 700 892 sa) do not include 11:26 “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your sins.” The verse is included in most later mss (A [C D] Θ [ƒ1,13 33] M lat) and is not likely to be original. It is probably an assimilation to Matt 6:15. The present translation follows NA28 in omitting the verse number, a procedure also followed by a number of other modern translations.
- Mark 11:27 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Mark 11:27 tn Grk “the temple.”
- Mark 11:27 tn Or “the chief priests, the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 1:22.
- Mark 11:28 tn On this phrase, see BDAG 844 s.v. ποῖος 2.a.γ.
- Mark 11:30 tn The plural Greek term ἀνθρώπων (anthrōpōn) is probably used here (and in v. 32) in a generic sense, referring to both men and women (cf. NAB, NRSV, “of human origin”; TEV, “from human beings”; NLT, “merely human”).sn The question is whether John’s ministry was of divine or human origin.
- Mark 11:33 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous action(s) in the narrative.
- Mark 11:33 tn Grk “answering, they said to Jesus.” The participle ἀποκριθέντες (apokrithentes) is redundant, but the syntax of the phrase has been modified to conform to English style.
- Mark 11:33 sn Very few questions could have so completely revealed the wicked intentions of the religious leaders. Jesus’ question revealed the motivation of the religious leaders and exposed them for what they really were—hypocrites. They indicted themselves when they cited only two options and chose neither of them (“We do not know”). The point of Mark 11:27-33 is that no matter what Jesus said in response to their question they were not going to believe it and would in the end use it against him.
- Mark 11:33 sn Neither will I tell you. Though Jesus gave no answer, the analogy he used to their own question makes his view clear. His authority came from heaven.
- Mark 11:33 tn On this phrase, see BDAG 844 s.v. ποῖος 2.a.γ. This is exactly the same phrase as in v. 28.