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Mark has carefully interwoven two themes here, as the scene shifts repeatedly between the temple and a fig tree on the Bethany road, thus: Verse 11, temple; verses 12–14, fig tree; verses 15–19, temple; verses 20–25, fig tree; verse 27, temple (which will then be the setting until the end of chapter 12). We have noted before Mark’s tendency to ‘sandwich’ stories in this way, and when he does so it is usually because he wants us to notice a connection between them. We shall consider what that connection is in the next study, and we shall leave the fig tree until then. For now, we must focus on the temple…

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