Bible reading for Feb 8: Genesis 41; Mark 11.
"And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, 'Bow the knee!'" Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt." (Gen 41:43)
Joseph released and exalted (Gen 41). He goes from prison to prime minister in one day! This was the Lord's doing and it is a picture of the exaltation of God's Son, who like Joseph was despised, rejected, given over to the pit, and left to rot. But now he is lifted up to the highest position and becomes a source of life to all who will come to him. And "every knee will bow" (41:43 above; Phil 2:5-11; Heb 7:25-26). However, Joseph did not physically die at that time, nor did he die for sins, nor was he exalted to heaven, but our Lord Jesus was!
Lifted up was he to die;
"It is finished!" was his cry;
now in heaven exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
(Hymn by Philip P. Bliss)
In one day. Our Lord Jesus was tried, mocked, scourged, crucified, suffered, and died in the span of a day. On the third day, in one day, everything changed from fear and despair to joy and life. Justice wins. Grace wins. God and his Son are vindicated. A new world begins. In one day.
And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!" (Mark 11:9-10)
The donkey miracle. I believe this special miracle was for the disciples, to show them that God was fully in control of the unfolding events. There would be no tragedy, no final ending of his life, no final victory of evil and injustice, but rather, the purposeful unfolding of God's plan. They would not take his life from him, but Jesus would lay down his life for us. But from the disciples' point of view things were soon going to look out of control. My take-away: as a Christian under God's sovereign care, I should never go panic-mode when things seem to be falling apart in my life, or in the world.
The triumphal entry. He comes as a king, riding a beast of burden. He is not at war. He is unlike Roman generals, thundering in on horseback or in chariots. He comes to offer himself, his righteousness, his forgiveness, and his kingdom. This gospel age is the age of proclamation and in-gathering, as he reconciles men and women and boys and girls to himself: "...in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation" (2 Cor 5:19). But one day this season of grace will end, and the King will come in judgment, this time upon a war horse: "Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war" (Rev 19:11).
Faith and the fig tree. Let me point you to Dr. Tom Constable's helpful commentary on Mark 11 here or here. Dr. Constable is a former professor of mine, a godly teacher and scholar, and his notes have been a blessing to me through the years. Thankfully, they are now available free online in PDF here. Or you can read his notes synced with the Bible text at netbible.org or studylight.org. This is a wonderfully rich resource!
The issue of authority. Even as Jesus comes as the peaceful King to Jerusalem, yet he comes with authority. God's house of worship was to be a place of prayer and a place to hear God's word read and sung. The temple courts where this was to take place [see model above] had become a noisy market of buying, selling, and changing currency for the business of temple sacrifices. He said, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers." (11:17). The religious leaders recognized this was a direct challenge to their authority and so they confront him. But they are caught in a bind regarding their view of the authority of John the Baptist, and are afraid of the multitude who believed John to be a prophet (which he was). It is the religious leaders who think they will judge Jesus, but it is Christ who will do the judging!
Image credit: a photo from my files of the outer court (of the Gentiles) of the Temple built by Herod, usually called "the Second Temple".
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. A PDF copy is available here.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.