February 11, 2016: Day 39 – Mark 11

I hope you are hanging in there.  We are almost halfway done, just a week away, and I pray that these readings are not becoming a drudgery but rather something to which you look forward every day.  We find ourselves on Palm Sunday again and the story of the preparation of the colt is somewhat different, and little more understandable.  Apparently everyone knew who Jesus was and so the explanation that Jesus needs it and “will send it back immediately” is not far fetched at all.  

The timing of Mark is also a little bit different as he goes into the temple after he rides into Jerusalem and just kind of looks around (vs.11).  It isn’t until the next day that he enters Jerusalem and drives out the money changers.  The commentary on the religious leaders is that they were looking to kill Jesus but hesitated because the crowds were “spellbound by his teaching.”  That’s quite a claim.  Jesus was able to teach in such a way that people were personally affected.  They were spellbound, is what the Scripture tells us.  

If you look at vs. 25 you see Jesus’ addendum to what we must do in order to have our prayers answered.  We must forgive.  Maybe, just maybe, the reason that God doesn’t answer our prayers is because we are unwilling to forgive someone and that keeps us from being heard from God.  Okay, God hears, we know that.  But here in this verse we are told that every time that we stand and pray, we must forgive.  Hear this Scripture well.  It does not say that we must ask for forgiveness, but it says that we must forgive.  This is far more difficult than asking for forgiveness.  We can always approach God with our sin in silence and no one is the better for it and ask for forgiveness.  But to actually identify someone who hurt us, who took actions that were insulting to us, who really gets under our skin and forgive them, that’s a whole different story.  Answered prayer, it seems them, is impingent upon our forgiving those against whom we have something.  

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