Chapter eleven begins the final section of Mark’s writing, six of out sixteen chapters being devoted to Jesus’ Passion Week. In order to fulfill Zechariah 9:9, Jesus had two disciples procure an unbroken colt that he would ride into Jerusalem to present himself to Israel as her rightful King Messiah (Mark 11:1-11). The crowd following him from Jericho (Mark 10:52) and Bethany (Mark 11:1; the home of Lazarus, John 11:1) created a little parade, putting coats and branches on the road for him, shouting “Hosanna!” (Psalm 118:25-26) to announce his arrival.
Mark recorded several more events from Monday and Tuesday of that week – Jesus’ actions in chapter eleven and his teachings in chapter twelve. Jesus stayed outside of Jerusalem in Bethany each evening, away from the jurisdiction of the Jewish leaders. Leaving Bethany one morning, Jesus cursed a fig tree for not having even the early fruit (Mark 11:12-14). The next day he used that as an illustration for the disciples that they should “have faith in God,” because he delights to answer the prayers of those who believe.
Jesus also used his first day in the Temple to clean it a second time (Mark 11:15-19; see John 2:14-22). This riled the anger of the “chief priests and experts in the law,” who began to plan his assassination without stirring up the crowds who loved to hear him. When they tried to confront him verbally, demanding to know who authorized Jesus to teach and preach, he twisted it around back on them, asking who they thought authorized John the Baptizer. Because there was no answer that would please the crowd, they simply refused, opening the way for Jesus to do the same.