Samuel was the last judge in Israel. Israel decided they wanted to be like other nations. Israel asked Samuel for a king. Of course Samuel consulted with God on the matter. It wasn’t Samuel that Israel was rejecting. Israel was rejecting God.
Samuel provided a list of the warnings God gave Israel before they made their final decision. God told Israel what kings would do and what they expected the people to do for them. God’s warning to Israel was only the tip of the iceberg of problems with government we see today. What lessons do we learn from that?
Saul of course was the first king God chose. Saul didn’t work out well. So God chose a new king, David. David also had his problems and issues. Many of the books and studies on this site look at times David prayed to God before making a decision, and times he forgot to pray.
Studies and books on this site look at the kings in order. The Tabernacle, Temple, and Heavenly Sanctuary look at the relationship each of those kings had with the stone temple.
Kings and Chronicles looked at those kings from different view points, and at times, in a slightly different order. Inspired writers used those types of records to get us to look at problems and issues those kings faced from different directions. Each is unique and teaches a different lesson.
This website has been worked and reworked to improve your experience as you walk through the Bible or search for information. Menus have been added that divide the Bible into commonly known groups. Each group contains a number of books from the Bible in the order they are found in the Bible. You can navigate through each drop down menu to search for the information you are looking for.
Links have been added to each main page for every book of the Bible. Those links show the results of a simple search. That page will show you topics, studies, and stories related to each book of the Bible. At least those I have written about and posted. More are added everyday.
The drop down menu for each book of the Bible will show studies and stories from that Bible Book.
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Psalms 34:19-20 Not One of His Bones will be Broken
Psalms 34:19-20 KJV Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. (20) He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
Psalms 34:19-20 NLTse The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time. (20) For the LORD protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!
Psalms 34:20 KJV+ He keepethH8104 allH3605 his bones:H6106 notH3808 oneH259 of themH4480 H2007 is broken.H7665
BONES H6106 עצם‛etsem eh’-tsem
From H6105; a bone (as strong); by extension the body; figuratively the substance, that is, (as pronoun) selfsame: – body, bone, X life, (self-) same, strength, X very.
It seems like God’s Spirit is leading us in a new direction again, building on what we’ve learned with a new lesson on how to study our Bibles. Psalm 34:20 is a well known prophecy about Jesus with its fulfillment easily found in John 19. While collecting texts for this study an unusual detail came up. I looked at the New Literal Translation (NLTse) to find this ageless verse translated quite differently than the familiar King James and other versions. I wondered why they felt a need to stray on such a familiar verse.
Its not unusual to see differences like this in translations. This Bible Study lesson will show you how to look into questionable translations. The KJV obviously points to Jesus on the cross and His death before Roman guards broke the legs of the condemned men. There must have been a reason the priests asked them to break their legs. This was another detail of their plan ensuring Jesus would not be an acceptable sacrifice. This shows how God’s Spirit tried to reach the priests. Even though Jesus didn’t fit their concept of their Messiah, something told the priests details in scripture pointing to the Messiah offering the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus pointed them to the right scripture. Some of them must have read those verses and compared them to Jesus. The priests could see the message in scripture, but wouldn’t accept it because scripture didn’t agree with their traditions.
The NLTse presents a different view, pointing to Jesus’ followers called the righteous. It may also refer to Jesus as the righteous in the singular form. How do we solve for this variation? The first step is to look at a direct translation. On this program, E-sword refers to it as the KJV+ translation. Many versions of this translation and some KJV study Bibles use italics to show words which have been inserted to make the English translation flow a bit better. In this case there are no italics, but the original translators inserted the word his in front of bones. Now is when we check the definition of the original Hebrew word by looking at the Hebrew dictionary in the Strong’s Concordance. On a computer program it’s as easy as clicking on the Strong’s number. As we can see the Hebrew word means bone and can be extended to the whole body. On the spiritual level, the body refers to Jesus’ body of believers. Remember the fulfillment of a prophecy is always greater than its symbols.
This lesson deals with looking at the fulfillment of a prophecy on a greater spiritual level while staying within context. To do this we need to look deeper in the text than comparing two texts, which we will do. The first texts to look at is the fulfillment in the New Testament.
John 19:34-37 NLTse One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (35) (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also can believe.) (36) These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,” (37) and “They will look on the one they pierced.”
The first detail a student of the Bible will notice is verse 37 quotes a second prophecy about Jesus. A serious student of the Bible knows the rule, whenever we see Old Testament texts quoted in the New Testament, we need to look at the Old Testament scripture. The Old Testament scripture will always add more details.
Zechariah 12:7-11 NLTse (7) “The LORD will give victory to the rest of Judah first, before Jerusalem, so that the people of Jerusalem and the royal line of David will not have greater honor than the rest of Judah. (8) On that day the LORD will defend the people of Jerusalem; the weakest among them will be as mighty as KingDavid! And the royal descendants will be like God, like the angel of the LORD who goes before them! (9) For on that day I will begin to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. (10) “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died. (11) The sorrow and mourning in Jerusalem on that day will be like the great mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo.
Once we look at the second prophecy John quoted, we see why the NLTse was translated to leave the door open to include Jesus and His followers. Zechariah 12 tells us, “ The LORD will give victory to the rest of Judah first.” This includes more than the interpretation which commonly refers only to Jesus in reference to, “Not one of his bones will be broken” Compare this to the NLTse translation for Psalm 34. “For the LORD protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!”
Looking at this on a spiritual level, we see how God not only saw none of Jesus’ bones would be broken, He also offered protection to Jesus’ followers. One of the rules of Bible study tells us the fulfillment is always greater than the symbol. In this case bones takes on a symbolic form and therefore must be greater than the definition of a physical bone. Zechariah provides a spiritual interpretation that applies to Jesus’ followers at the cross. “On that day the LORD will defend the people of Jerusalem; the weakest among them will be as mighty as KingDavid!” What does it mean to be as mighty as KingDavid?
Looking back on David’s life we see a lot of aspects, growth, levels of faith, mistakes, and sins God forgave. As a young boy, God chose David as king and Samuel anointed him. He grew up in king Saul’s presence playing his musical instrument and singing to ease Saul’s troubled mind. As a youth, David had a spiritual influence on Israel’s leader. The influence David had on Israel’s leader extended to the kingdom. David’s youthful faith defeated Goliath the giant when Israel’s army and king shook in fear. David grew to become a commander in Saul’s army. God was with David as he won victory after victory. Among others, the Philistines were scattered before David. The woman sang of the thousands Saul slayed and the ten thousands David slew. Jealousy engulfed Saul and eliminated the only peace He received through David. Saul conceived a plan to send David out against the Philistines thinking David would never overcome the odds. Saul was so confident in his plan, he promised the hand of his daughter as a reward. Much to Saul’s surprise, David succeeded and became his son-in-law. Having David as a relative should have solved the problem, but not for Saul. Finally David fled for his life.
David faced his greatest trials, learning experience and faith while he was on the run avoiding Saul’s pursuit. Taking a close look at the circumstances Saul wasted a great deal of tax money trying to put down a perceived threat he couldn’t do a whole lot about. Samuel told Saul he would loose the kingdom. Saul knew he was fighting against God’s will. Often times Saul left his kingdom unprotected. Spending tax money in an attempt to achieve his selfish goals, Saul left the people he was supposed to serve to pursue what he wanted. Saul was a king, but without a country or God. It was a lesson David should have learned and one we should pay attention to. During his flight David wrote some of the most emotional Psalms begging for help and praising God for His protection. David’s flight began with the death of many priests. Saul had them slain in the hope one of them would reveal David’s location. Each priest valiantly gave his life to protect God’s anointed – a spiritual lesson future generations of priests should all learn from. One of the priests escaped taking the breastplate of righteousness with the Urim and Thummim, stones God used to direct David. As David was directed from mountain side to woods, to caves and valleys, his faith in God grew. God watched David endure trial after trial knowing each one was making David a stronger leader. Finally Saul and his sons died in battle on the same day and David took his role as king.
Before taking control of the kingdom, David acquired a number of wives. When he found fault with his first wife, Saul’s daughter, he put her away, but didn’t divorce her. David continued to acquire wives and house prostitutes in his palace. Some overlook this as tradition. This shows how dangerous tradition can be. David’s multitude of marriages were his downfall. One compromise led to another until David’s lust led him to murder one of his most trusted friends and commanders, Uriah, listed as one of David’s most valiant warriors. To punish and warn David, God sent the prophet Nathan to tell him the baby would die. There was noting David could do. He accepted God’s judgment praying until the last minute.
Having so many wives and children made David a weak husband and father. One of his eldest sons Absalom rebelled against his father and kingdom costing a number of lives, including his own. In his old age, another of David’s sons tried taking the kingdom. Nathan the prophet joined forces with one of his wives, Bathsheba to trick David into appointing Solomon king. It seems David forgot how he was chosen by God and how God sent his prophet Samuel to anoint him. With everything David went through, it seems he forgot a lot of lessons. Although David made one mistake after another, God still loved him, giving him many opportunities to learn and remember lessons. One we need to pay attention to is how God reacted to David’s mistakes. “The weakest among them will be as mighty as KingDavid!” When we look back on David’s life, we see the why God arranged the prophecy to include the weakest and greatest. Look at the lesson God taught when He chose David, who was the youngest of Jesse’s sons and Samuel’s last choice. Maybe we’re the last choice when it comes to how people view us while being first in God’s eyes. “The weakest among them will be as mighty as KingDavid!” Some of the people we view as last are actually first in God’s eyes. Now the spiritual lessons in these prophecies is beginning to reveal itself.
What aspect of David’s life do you see yourself in? Are you the young David full of faith, willing and able to slay giants? Are you more like David in his youth respecting and serving someone who views you as an enemy? Are you like David the young man facing trials that grow faith in God. Do you know how to listen to God’s voice? Will you make the same mistake as David – straying from God’s guidance? Will you use David as an example – make the same mistake he made and say, “compared to David, I’m not so bad.” Will you have rebellious sons like David, or will you send time to teach them God’s laws and commandments like Moses instructed? Where do you imagine your life in regards to the examples David set? Where does that compare to where you want to be? Another aspect of this lesson is God’s respect for David no matter where he was in his walk. We need to foster the same respect for others. Throughout his journey David recorded his Psalms. They were more than prayers. They were prophecies God gave to David to record. David had a unique relationship with God. We have to not only consider God’s patience with David, but imitate it, making His patience a piece of our lives.
The addition of David’s attributes is another step in the lessons God’s Bible reveals. It shows how the prophecies He wrote are linked in a way that they explain one another and establish the context God intended. This should be a lesson you begin using and building on. When we see a series of Old Testament prophecies quoted by a New Testament writer, we have to look up the original texts. The Old Testament scripture will be connected with related texts in the chapter which will show us God’s explanation of the spiritual side of the subject. We can’t guess at spiritual interpretations. We can’t expect to interpret them with our own wisdom. Any of those attempts will do nothing but deny the existence of God’s Spirit, taking the glory off God while trying to place it on themselves. To let God’s Word explain itself, we have to follow general Bible Study rules by comparing the introduction of the chapter containing the prophecy with the chapter explaining its fulfillment.
Psalms 34:1-5 NLTse I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. (2) I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart. (3) Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. (4) I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. (5) Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
John 19:1-7 NLTse Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. (2) The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purplerobe on him. (3) “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face. (4) Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” (5) Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purplerobe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!” (6) When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” “Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.” (7) The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”
Psalm 34 and John 19 contain a simple contrast. We see David’s typical style of writing which is to praise God at the beginning of his prayer. David draws attention to his reverence to God by using the related words, praise, speak, boast, tell, and exalt. David’s introduction shows the importance of sharing God’s love. John’s introduction to chapter 19 shows us how the Roman guard mocked Jesus. They put a crown a thorns on His head and dressed Him in a purple robe. The Roman guard was following Pilate’s lead. Pilate referred to Jesus as the King of the Jews. When the guards took Jesus away to whip Him, they played their game of dressing Him like a king then mocking Him. Quite a contrast to David, king of Israel who praised God. “Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.” The priests looked on Jesus and shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” “Take him yourselves and crucify him.” David the king praises God while Pilate, a subject of the Roman emperor and his guards mock Jesus. Pilate proclaims Jesus innocence but does little to uphold justice. Comparing this to the prophecy in Zechariah 12, we can see how the weakest of Jesus’ followers were far greater than Pilate. Now we understand the comparison to David. Each of Jesus’ followers present at the cross were about to fulfill David’s prophecy of praising God and Jesus by telling people about the cross and their new understanding of God’s plan of salvation. We can see by the contrast, the story goes much deeper. One group will understand and praise God by spreading the message about Jesus. The other group will continue to mock and discredit God’s Son. The summary to David’s prophecy confirms the contrast.
Psalms 34:21-22 NLTse Calamity will surely overtake the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. (22) But the LORD will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
John 19:38-42 NLTse Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus‘ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. (39) With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. (40) Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus‘ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. (41) The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. (42) And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
Psalm 34 closes with a contrast between people who hate the righteous and those who serve God. Psalm 34 appears to lack information describing what made them wicked. When we see a lack of information, our first question is, where do we find the answer? Learning to reply on God’s Spirit leads us to the answer, in the parallel chapter. In this case we’ve already identified John chapter 19 which describes how Pilate, his guards, religious leaders, and other people mistreated Jesus. This of course is an extreme example, but we need to keep in mind, the fulfillment is always much greater than the symbol. In keeping with His own rules, God shows a much greater fulfillment than the prophecy itself.
There’s another lesson seen in the summations. In Psalm 34 we see, “But the LORD will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.” How does this compare to John 19 where Joseph buried Jesus’ body in his tomb? This is where we learn lessons on paying attention and knowing a bit about the history and society the story took place. In Jesus’ time all the religious leaders prepared a tomb for their burial. They didn’t leave details to family or friends, they planned everything themselves. When we look at the crowd gathered at the cross, there were dozens, maybe a hundred of more people with empty tombs at their disposal. Only one of them along with his friend Nicodemus stepped forward to offer his personal tomb and the respect Jesus needed at the moment. We can see how this relates to today’s Christian movement. People sit around – they look up and see Jesus, but there’s no compassion, no desire to give or serve. Joseph is one of the few examples of unconditional love in the Gospels. He gave his tomb to Jesus expecting nothing in return. Although Joseph still believed widely acceptable concepts on the Messiah and didn’t understand Jesus’ ministry or the prophecies He fulfilled, God accepted his gift. Once again we see God using an interesting contrast to teach a lesson. Jesus was surrounded by almost every religious leader in Jerusalem and regions near and far. Many of them wanted to see Jesus’ body cast into the dump to be devoured by wild dogs, pigs, and scavenger birds. Every one of those religious leaders spent time and money on elaborate tombs to guarantee the world would not forget them. Today no one remembers many of their names, but the one who gave up his tomb is remembered across the world. God’s plan of salvation is more detailed than we can ever perceive on our own. God’s plan included a way for each of us to make a mark on eternity. Joseph gave up something no one expected him to give. Joseph also put in physical effort to fulfill spiritual aspects of a prophecy. Look at how many people had to act their parts at the proper time in God’s plan of salvation. It’s actually an amazing feat when you think of it. God’s plan is still in the making. Most people are looking at prophecy as gloom and dome, persecution, trials, and of course the endless list of conspiracy factors. People today are looking at future prophecies the same misguided way the religious leaders did in Jesus’ day. They’re also missing prophecies being fulfilled because they’re acting just like the Pharisees, relying on themselves. There’s little anyone can do about it. People will argue their beliefs with their last dying breath. Human nature today is no different than is was on the day Jesus died. People will either be willing to look with their eyes, listen with their ears, and understand with their hearts – or shut off understanding because they want to think they know everything. That’s one of the elaborate tombs people build for themselves so people will remember them for their whit and imagination. Other people build up tombs around themselves with every item that catches their fancy. Big houses, cars, and fancy clothes to impress people and this life and beyond. Do they really think of fellow Christians around the world as they flock to stores and malls, shop online, buy they latest cell phone, or sit and stare at a screen pushing buttons while in a group of people? So many ways to serve. So much work to do – in their minds there seems to be so little time, money or skills to finish God’s plan of salvation. What’s the problems here? Have they been convinced a small donation once a week puts the job in the hands of so called professionals? Where do we find proof only trained, paid professionals should spread God’s Word? There is no so called professional training in the Bible. Paul disclosed his training in Galatians chapter 2. Paul learned at Jesus’ feet. Don’t rely on anyone but Jesus who trusted His Father all the way to the cross and beyond.
1 Kings 8:26-30 NLTse Now, O God of Israel, fulfill this promise to your servant David, my father. (27) “But will God really live on earth? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! (28) Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea, O LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you today. (29) May you watch over this Temple night and day, this place where you have said, ‘My name will be there.’ May you always hear the prayers I make toward this place. (30) May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive.
As we’ve seen in the previous study on 1 Kings 8:25, Solomon dedicated his temple by moving the Ark into it on the Festival of Shelters. While building his temple, Solomon missed the opportunity to share God with king Hiram of Tyre. It seems strange to see Solomon with all his wisdom miss such an opportunity, then at the end of his prayer indicate he wanted the world to know about God. “And may these words that I have prayed in the presence of the LORD be before him constantly, day and night, so that the LORD our God may give justice to me and to his people Israel, according to each day’s needs. Then people all over the earth will know that the LORD alone is God and there is no other.” (1 Kings 8:59-60 NLTse). The word, “then,” indicates two conditions. Solomon suggests people all over the world will hear God when certain requirements are met. It also suggests this is a future prophetic event. How can we blame Solomon? He knew little about God’s harvest and less about God’s plan of salvation. Imagine living in the dark about these details? Solomon knew God and believed His promises and had an idea life would be far greater in the future. How much better could it be for a king who had everything? It seems odd God would choose someone like Solomon to write about far greater things than he had which are waiting for us in the future. Can we blame Solomon for the way he acted? After all, aren’t we the ones who finally got the full message? And what are we doing with the message? Do you know anyone who can explain God’s FULL plan of salvation? Can you? Where are we going when we can’t explain the basic message in the Bible, but claim to have a higher degree of understanding previous generations missed? Where are people going when they claim to unlock the mysteries of God’s Word, when they have no idea how to explain the basics? Didn’t Jesus warn about this in parables, and openly when He talked to His disciples alone? Even though Solomon had a dim view of God’s plan of salvation, many of the words he wrote pointed to details of the plan Jesus fulfilled. Some of them are in this prayer. As with other prophets, Solomon did not understand many of the prophecies he recorded. Solomon delivered a message that would be understood at the right time. How do we figure out how to understand these messages? Its a simple process. All you need to do is figure out where the author placed the main focus. God makes it easy to see spiritual messages because He placed all the attention in the right areas. All we have to do is look at the words and phrases the author repeated. So simple a child can do it. I’ve seen children bring more out of texts than most adults are able to see.
The first series of repeated words we notice is prayer, prayers, and the related words, cry, plea, and requests. This of course draws us to the main concept the author is conveying. The series of words on prayer is closely related to the next series of repeated words, listen and hear. We also see the word temple and Heaven repeated. Of course, God and Lord is repeated a number of times. Now how do we use this information? If this is a prophecy with a deeper spiritual lesson, the repeated words will lead us right to the proper texts. You see there is no guessing or speculation. God’s Word is arranged to link Old Testament prophecies to New Testament texts explaining their fulfillment. That’s the easy part. Spending more time to compare texts will reveal lessons beyond imagination, bringing all the glory to God. These types of lessons are never revealed through idle study, speculation, or personal interpretations. They can only be found by following the simple rules of context.
The context of 1 Kings chapter 8 has been covered in the previous study on 1 Kings 8:25 by examining the introduction and summation of the chapter. The introduction showed Solomon celebrated the Festival of Shelters by taking God’s Ark into the stone temple. The summation verified the date and recorded the sacrifices Solomon made, 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats. Was this what God wanted? Its clear something was wrong with that scene.
This is the first time I’ve seen a lesson go this deep. That is the way God teaches, one step at a time. As we progress in our studies into the prophecies Jesus fulfilled, God adds more depth, a little at a time. God’s way of teaching reminds me of Ezekiel’s vision as he walked along a river flowing away from the temple. To get deeper into this lesson we have to locate the New Testament parallel texts by using the key word prayer.
Mark 11:15-17 NLTse When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, (16) and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. (17) He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”
In addition to, “prayer,” the word, “temple,” links Mark 11:15-17 to 1 Kings 8:26-30. Mark tells us how Jesus drove out people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. Many people refer to this as the, “cleansing of the temple.” This must be an important story. It is one of the few stories found in all four Gospels. Anyone preaching Jesus drove people out of the temple courtyard in a fit of rage failed to study the scriptures. I would question their relationship with God and how they organize their messages. John tells us how Jesus sat outside the gate weaving a whip from some ropes. (John 2:15 NLTse). A man who sat outside a gate long enough to weave a whip from ropes had adequate time to contemplate his actions. What do you think went through Jesus’ mind before He entered the courtyard, cracked His whip over His head, and across tables where the money changers sat? Do you think Jesus used His whip against people, or to herd sheep and goats through the temple gate? Why do you think Jesus drove out the sacrifices? When I think of this I can’t help but think of the 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats Solomon sacrificed in one day. So many animals were being sacrificed so fast, the bronze altar in the LORD’s presence was too small to hold all the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings. Solomon decided to side step another of God’s commands. What was one more? Did the priest’s in Jesus day look at this and use it as an excuse to turn the temple into a den of thieves? Was Jesus thinking about all those sacrifices when He drove out the sheep and goats? To find out why Jesus drove the people and animals out of the temple, we have to check the context of of Mark chapter 11. The context will always provide valuable information.
Mark 11:7-8 NLTse Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it. (8) Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields.
The introduction of the chapter shows how Jesus displayed His humility by entering Jerusalem on a colt. Once again when we check the story in the other Gospels we collect more details which explain the entire theme behind the story. Matthew tells us the disciples would see a donkey and its colt. Jesus did not ride the donkey, but chose its colt. The disciples covered the colt with their own coats to hide their embarrassment. How often does Jesus do something for us in a way that makes us feel embarrassed? What do we do? Do we try to hide the blessing because it wasn’t what we expected? It’s true, Jesus always seemed to do things the world doesn’t agree with and it can seem difficult to follow His example. So we either hide or ignore a lot of the lessons Jesus taught. We’re afraid to take a closer look at the example Jesus set because we’re afraid to change ourselves. Taking a closer look at Jesus should not be a fearful thing. After all, if you plan on spending eternity with Jesus, you gotta learn sooner or later. Which is the wisest choice? We also see the introduction repeats the word, “garment,” and uses branches in the same context. Is this a loose reference to the Festival of Shelter? We need to look at the summation to understand the full explanation of the context.
Mark 11:27-33 NLTse Again they entered Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. (28) They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?” (29) “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. (30) “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!” (31) They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. (32) But do we dare say it was merely human?” For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet. (33) So they finally replied, “We don’t know.” And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”
When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching. (Mark 11:18 NLTse).
The beginning of Mark 11 tells us how Jesus entered Jerusalem. The end of the chapter tells us what happened to Jesus when He reentered the temple. Once the repeated words are highlighted, we see the summation centers on authority, which is completely opposite of the humility described in the introduction. When we look at the details we see the priests are questioning Jesus’ authority. Notice Jesus does not claim any authority. This is an example of how context uses opposites to teach the same lesson. Solomon uses this form of communication in Proverbs. It is quite common in the Bible. The summation also shows us why Jesus went into the temple the day before, made a mess of things and drove the animals out. Its quite clear in verse 27. Who was in the temple questioning Jesus on the day after He drove out the people? Also note the summation of Mark 11 has certain similarities to 1 Kings 8. Both had leaders present. In 1 Kings 8 they came to see the Ark enter the temple. In Mark 8 they saw Jesus enter the temple. Which has more glory? In 1 Kings 8 they sacrificed thousands of animals. In Mark 11 Jesus freed sacrificial animals and what did the priests want to do? When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching. (Mark 11:18 NLTse).
The list of similarities goes on and on. The deeper we look, the more we learn. We also learn details from what isn’t present. Look carefully at what Mark wrote. “ When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done…” The priests were not at the temple when Jesus drove out the people and animals. Where were they? Who knows. Us common laborers can tell you, it takes a major event to get managers on the shop floor or out in the field. When Jesus stopped production, the leading priests had to go to the temple to get business back on line. Jesus created a scene to ensure they leading priests would be in the temple the next day. Jesus never acted out in rage…. He did it to save the priests. Jesus was reaching out to them.
The next day when Jesus went to the temple, the gates were locked. Guards were stationed outside as well as inside the gates. The priests were already suffering a financial set back — all efforts were focused on getting business up and running as well as avoiding additional embarrassment. Guards were ordered to let no one pass. The priests didn’t want anyone to see the mess Jesus created. Jesus already caused enough trouble and the priests didn’t want to give people the impression Jesus gained a victory over them.
Jesus showed up with his disciples and a small crowd following. More people began gathering as word quickly spread. People were expecting to find Jesus in Jerusalem, since He was in the neighborhood, but few expected Jesus to show up at the temple, especially since extra guards were on duty and the priests were furious with revenge for the previous day’s events on their mind. The guards outside didn’t know what to do. They were ordered to guard the gate, but didn’t expect such a huge crowd to gather. Although fearful, they could not see what the people would gain by harming them. The gates were locked from the inside. People waited to see what Jesus would do. He stood silent for some time, looking at the faces gathered. Jesus could tell which people wanted to learn from the curiosity seekers who wanted to see what was going to happen. Jesus knew their hearts would not understand what was about to happen. He prayed to Himself for some time, until He felt the time was right.
Jesus moved slowly forward approaching the gate. The guards were frozen as if in the presence of a king. Jesus passed by them to stand near the gate. The crowd stood in silence watching to see what would happen next. A noise was heard from the gates. As the guards turned to look, the gates slowly swung open. No one would forget the surprised looks on the guards inside the gate as Jesus walked past them. It took only a few seconds for the crowd to follow. Jesus moved across the empty courtyard, taking His place where the animals waited the day before. People looked back and forth as they compared Jesus’ simple dress to the luxurious robes of the leading priests. Some gazed in awe. It wasn’t everyday they saw the leading priests in the temple.
The contrast between Jesus and the priests in the courtyard is a direct parallel to the contrast between God’s Tabernacle and Solomon’s temple. A study of the Tabernacle shows the outer covering was black. Translations may differ on the type of animal giving up its skin to cover the Tabernacle, but they all agree it was a dark color, most likely black. And thou shalt make a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering above of badgers’ skins. (Exodus 26:14 KJV). Many people describe the Tabernacle with elaborate colors and expensive materials. The fact of the matter is, all of that was on the inside of the Tabernacle. From the outside, there was nothing to attract attention, or distract attention from the symbols inside and outside of the Tabernacle. The covering was an unassuming black. Which is another symbol pointing to Jesus. My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. (Isaiah 53:2 NLTse).
Why did Jesus return the following day to preach in the temple court and why was it so important for the priests to be there? What was so important about Jesus’ message that day? Then Jesus began teaching them with stories: “A man planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. (Mark 12:1-2 NLTse). One of the first stories Jesus told was about a vineyard a man planted then leased out to tenant farmers who refused to share the harvest. The farmers over estimated the work they put into the vineyard. They thought their work earned them the right to call the vineyard their own. As time went by, they chased away and killed messengers sent to collect the landlords share of the harvest. Finally the man sent his son. The farmers thought they saw a loop hole in the law. Talking among themselves, they reasoned, “Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!” (Mark 12:7 NLTse). The farmers had no respect for the landlord, the law, nor did they appreciate the hard work and preparation the landlord put into the vineyard. One more thought…. if the farmers would have prayed, what do you think God’s answer would have been?
Jesus ends His story with a direct reference to the temple. “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.” (Mark 12:10-11 NLTse). Do you see how the dedication to Solomon’s temple has direct ties to Jesus in the courtyard? Jesus was teaching a lesson Jews should have understood for generations. God never wanted a stone temple to distract people away from the Temple He was sending to teach the world. We have the same problem today. People build their temples of stone, wood, steel, and glass. They hold elaborate services to dedicate their temples. They use Solomon as an example, and refuse to look at God’s point of view. People have the same problem on an individual level we refer to as prayer. In his prayer Solomon directed God. Sure he made it sound like a request, but Solomon gave God conditions. Twice Solomon said he knew he had to tell the world about Him. Solomon knew his role, but instead of fulfilling his role, he attached conditions to its fulfillment. We all follow Solomon’s poor example. We pray. We talk to God. We tell God what to fix, who to fix, and often times tell the Creator of the universe how to fix it. We are just like Solomon directing God and setting up conditions before we will complete our end of the bargain. We fail to listen! Prayer has been taught as a one way conversation with God. That’s the problem with this world, no one listens! Did the priest listen to Jesus? No! The religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus because they realized he was telling the story against them–they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away. (Mark 12:12 NLTse). After all the trouble Jesus went through to get them in the courtyard at the right time to listen to the right message, they refused to hear. Instead the Pharisees changed the subject to something they knew about —- money.
Before leaving the temple court, Jesus had to teach another lesson in humility. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.” (Mark 12:43-44 NLTse). Jesus began His journey to the temple with a lesson in humility and ended His visit to the temple with a lesson in humility. Why was there only one widow? Why was there only one person giving more than they could spare? Why was the widow giving her last cent to the temple? Would the priests appreciate her gift? Did they appreciate the gift Jesus gave them? Jesus was about to give more than His life savings to the priests.
Studies and stories like this do not come around everyday. They take time. It takes time to read God’s Word and become familiar with it, to develop a personal relationship with God and His Spirit and most importantly —- LISTEN!!! I know God is not going to give me an entire story of this magnitude in one day. God never works that way. He gives me what I need, when I need it. Then sits and waits to see what I do with it. If I do nothing…. it seems that message ends. If I write about what God’s Spirit showed me, I get more. I never knew the priests were not in the temple when Jesus drove everyone out until God’s Spirit showed me. I read that chapter 100 times, but never saw the world, “then.” One word opened up a whole new understanding. That’s the way God works. That’s a display of God’s power and glory. He can change everything with one word. God can hide it or make it plain to see. He does all of this in His time. Pray —- Listen —– Learn. Then you will know what to share, when and with whom.
No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning. Do you realize what the Scriptures say about this? Elijah the prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and said, “LORD, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” And do you remember God’s reply? He said, “No, I have 7,000 others who have never bowed down to Baal!” It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God’s grace–his undeserved kindness in choosing them.