In the 11th chapter of Mark’s Gospel there is a string of events that once again unveil differing reactions to the life of Jesus Christ. There are 3 reactions to Christ (The Master Servant) in chapter 11. There are differing reactions first among The Multitude of the Indecisive, then among A Band of Brothers, and finally among A Brood of Vipers. When the curtain rises on one of the last scenes in the earthly life of Christ, He instructs 2 of His disciples to fetch a colt for him. He prophetically described exactly where to find it, the reaction of the bystanders, and He told them to tell the bystanders by divine command to let it go and He would return it. All happened exactly as He foretold. In his account Mark placed an emphasis on the servitude of Jesus, as in chapter 1,
“And immediately after they came out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they spoke to Jesus about her. And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them.” (1:30, 31)
Frequently, we see Jesus going straightway or immediately to help someone in need; He is the Master Servant. Ironically, in the 11th chapter we see the Master Servant received as the Master of the universe by a fickle Multitude of the Indecisive. They were indecisive because they would not continue to view Jesus as they had on that day. They threw palm branches and their cloaks on the road as an act of receiving Him as the long awaited chosen One, and they cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” It is clear from the words of Psalm 118, which the multitude shouted that they proclaimed Jesus as the messianic king. However, within the week they would be turned by the religious leaders to see Jesus no longer as king but as a prisoner of Rome and thereby as no Messiah at all. How easily those whose convictions are non existent when they are put to the test can vacillate from one extreme opinion to another. On one day Jesus is Lord in the eyes of a multitude of indecisive people, and in a few days hence they will cry out for His blood at the hands of gentiles.
On the next day Jesus cursed a fig tree that did not bear fruit, He then proceeded to empty the temple, which was a miracle in itself, and on the day following they found the tree withered from the roots up. His disciples were given some huge lessons from the Master Servant in just a couple of days. If you think it was not much of a miracle for Jesus to clear the temple, go to a very crowded football stadium during a game and clear it with your mere presence. Then tell me what you think!
Wedged around the miracle at the temple Jesus cursed a fig tree and then let His disciples view the results. The fig tree was more than a curse on organic material but a preview of what was going to happen to Israel when it was also cursed by God. God brought forth the Messiah as He promised, but the tide of popular opinion turned against Him, and soon Israel would have Him put to death. After His resurrection He would be received by many but yet again the nation as a whole would reject the promised Messiah. It is in the nature of all of Adam’s race to sin and reject God as king.
“I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time-He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,” (1 Timothy 6:13-15)
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
The multitude was definitely indecisive regarding the person of Jesus Christ, and to continue in that condition until death is to bring the wrath of God and of hell down upon your own head. The disciples to the contrary did not remain indecisive and that was true of all of them except for one. Who also had been chosen for that purpose. That small Band of Brothers, who Jesus chose to follow Him, began indecisive just like the rest of mankind, but Jesus lifted them to a higher plane. This small Band of Brothers stood with Jesus for 3 years, through the good and the bad. They heard the praise, and they saw the rejection as in Nazareth and other places. They stood with Him through His rejection and they stood together. When it came time to stand with Him at His death they ran, denied Him, and folded like a deck of cards. When they fell, they fell together. They witnessed Jesus resurrection and at first they doubted, and they did so together. At last they believed and they did so together. On the Day of Pentecost they feared together; and when the Spirit descended upon them with power they stood strong for Christ together. They were all willing to go to their death for Christ, and they all did die but one, and that was the Lord’s doing. They died in separate places but they all died a martyr’s death together. It can be said most correctly that Jesus’ disciples, were made His brothers by His precious blood, and they were in fact a Band of Brothers.
Jesus’ teaching on fruit bearing and effective praying are right in line with mankind that effectively rejects Christ apart from the intercessory hand of God that is moved by effective prayer.
“Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest." (Matthew 9:37, 38)
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.” (Romans 10:1)
If an Israelite or anyone from Adam’s race is to be saved will be by prayer, the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit, who alone can change a stony heart into a heart of flesh.
The last characters to arrive on the greatest stage in human history are those whom Jesus called a Brood of Vipers.
“You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” (Matthew 23:33)
The scribes were the theologians of the day and the the chief priests were in charge of the temple services. They seized the opportunity to ask Jesus by what authority He performed the miracle of clearing their temple, at least they thought of it as their temple. Jesus, however, at the time that He cleared the temple said to all the people standing there,
“…”Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS’? But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN." (11:17)
Little did they realize that the preposition “My” in the verse Jesus quoted referred to Him. They did not acknowledge the power it would have taken to clear thousands of people, who were dedicated to attend the Temple during the greatest festival of the year, with the mere sound of His voice. The only prevailing question on their mind and the only element in the life of Christ that mattered to them was, “by what authority do you do these things.” Jesus would not squabble with men, and the time of reasoning with them had come to an end, so he put a question to them. The question involved John the Baptist whom they rejected. They would reject anyone who questioned their authority to rule, even though they were religious thieves and liars. They could not say John was from men because they feared the people, but if they said he was from God then they would look evil, so they refused to answer.
Silence may not condemn men before their peers but it will do no good on the day of judgment before Almighty God. So where do you stand on this stage of characters? Are you part of the multitude that can’t make up its mind? Are you part of a band of brothers that may cost you your life, but will surely reap the rewards of heaven for all eternity? Or are you among the religious elite of the world who call themselves holy and at the same time deny that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the savior of all those who believe because you cannot regard yourself as sinful enough to merit hell and needing a savior?