Mark – God is On Our Side!
Authority defined by mankind: the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine.
Who has the ultimate, final word in our own lives? Think about it.
Religious leaders are angrily asking Jesus “By what authority are you doing all these things?” The key to their anger is steeped in fear of losing their own human power over God’s people whom they have abused and manipulated with overbearing, man-made rules and regulations. The leaders, like the fallen angel, Satan, want to BE God. God, through Jesus, shows them the foolishness of who they are and what they are doing.
By whose authority, indeed…
Wait, when I go my own way, am I, too, defying the authority of God?
Mark 11, NLT
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
27 Again they entered Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. 28 They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?”
29 “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. 30 “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!”
31 They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. 32 But do we dare say it was merely human?” For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet. 33 So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”
And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”
In the days that followed, the representatives of the religious and political establishment descended on Jesus as He ministered in the temple, trying their best to trip Him up with their questions. He answered four questions, and then He asked them a question that silenced them for good.
A question of authority (11:27—12:12). As the official guardians of the law, the members of the Sanhedrin had both the right and the responsibility to investigate anyone who claimed to be sent by God, and that included Jesus (see Deut. 18:15–22). However, these men did not have open minds or sincere motives. They were not seeking truth; they were looking for evidence to use to destroy Him (Mark 11:18). Jesus knew what they were doing, so He countered their question with another question and exposed their hypocrisy.
Don’t think for a second that Jesus does not know our hearts!
Why take them all the way back to John the Baptist? For a very good reason: God does not teach us new truth if we have rejected the truth He has already revealed. This basic principle is expressed in John 7:17: “If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself” (nasb). “Obedience is the organ of spiritual knowledge,” said the British preacher F. W. Robertson. The Jewish religious leaders had not accepted what John had taught, so why should God say anything more to them? Had they obeyed John’s message, they would have gladly submitted to Christ’s authority, for John came to present the Messiah to the nation.
The Jewish leaders were caught in a dilemma of their own making. They were not asking “What is true?” or “What is right?” but “What is safe?” This is always the approach of the hypocrite and the crowd-pleaser. It certainly was not the approach of either Jesus (Mark 12:14) or John the Baptist (Matt. 11:7–10). Jesus did not refuse to answer their question; He only refused to accept and endorse their hypocrisy. He was not being evasive; He was being honest.
What am I hanging onto tightly?
What do I fear I will lose?
What if I let go of the supposed power and control I think I have?
What if I just let go…
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
I repent of hanging onto what I think I can control. You are God and I am not. You have complete power and authority over all because You created all. So who am I to question? How foolish. May all I am and do today be as a result of complete trust and faith in You with a mind that is ready to obey quickly. Lead and I will follow. I’m listening, Lord, ready to serve.
In Jesus Name, Amen
Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey…
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.