The Gospel of Mark: a commentary & meditation 
"By what authority are you doing these things?"

Scripture: Mark 11:27-35

27 And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, 28 and they said to him, "By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?" 29 Jesus said to them, "I will ask you a question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men? Answer me." 31 And they argued with one another, "If we say, `From heaven,' he will say, `Why then did you not believe him?' 32 But shall we say, `From men'?" -- they were afraid of the people, for all held that John was a real prophet. 33 So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."

Meditation: Do you accept the authority of God’s word and submit to it with trust and obedience? Many religious leaders took offense at Jesus because they could not accept his authority. After Jesus had dramatically cleansed the temple of the traders and money-changers the Jewish leaders question Jesus to trap him.  If he says his authority is divine they will charge
him with blasphemy.  If he has done this on his own authority they might well arrest him as a mad zealot before he could do more damage.  Jesus, seeing through their trap, poses a question to them and makes their answer a condition for his answer.  Did they accept the work of John the Baptist as divine or human?  If they accepted John’s work as divine, they would be
compelled to accept Jesus as the Messiah.  They dodged the question because they were unwilling to face the truth.  They did not accept the Baptist and they would not accept Jesus as their Messiah.  Jesus told his disciples that “the truth will make you free” (John 8:31).  Do you know the joy and freedom of Christ’s rule in your life?

 “Lord, let me know the joy and freedom of your rule in my life.  Teach me your ways that I may grow in the knowledge of your truth and live according to your word”.

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 (c) 2000 Don Schwager