Cleansing of the Temple in Mark: Concluding Pericope

 Mark concludes the pericope (Mk 11, 15-19) by reporting that in the evening Jesus and his disciples went out of the city (Mk 11, 19). His narrative of the following day resumes the story of the fig tree that Jesus had cursed the previous day. This tree has withered to its roots now (Mk 11, 20-21). Thus the sandwich structure of the Markan narrative is now complete providing a clue to the meaning and purpose of the cleansing of the Temple. After the fig tree episode is concluded the evangelist presents Jesus’ teaching on faith, prayer, and forgiveness (Mk 11, 22-26). Jesus may have uttered these sayings on different occasions as some of these sayings are found elsewhere in the other gospels (cf. Mt 17, 20; Lk 17, 6). In their present context in Mark these sayings may point to the replacement of the cultic practices in the Jerusalem Temple (offering sacrifices of sins, blessing, etc) as a way to approach God by another way of approach, namely, by a life marked by faith, prayer, and mutual forgiveness. Radical, unwavering faith in God and mutual forgiveness are the two conditions that Jesus teaches for prayer to be effective.


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