Jesus questioned on His authority

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Deceit

While Jesus was walking in the temple He was confronted by the priests, the scribes and the elders who together were known as the Sanhedrin (v. 27). They challenged Him with a question,"By what authority doest thou these things?” (v. 28) which was obviously in reference to His cleansing the temple the day before. Jesus did not refuse to answer their questions; He only refused to accept and and endorse their hypocrisy. He was not being evasive; He was being honest. If He said He was acting under His own authority, they might arrest Him for disobeying their law. If He said He was acting on the authority of God they might arrest Him for blasphemy. So as on many similar occasions Jesus met their question with a counter-question as to whether “the baptism of John, was from heaven or of men?” (vv. 29-30).  

These 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. These religious leaders realized they were in a difficult position, because it was obvious that if they answered Jesus’ question they would be answering the question they had asked Him (vv. 31-33). Their silence proved that they were not interested in the truth. They simply wanted to get rid of Jesus because he was undermining their authority. It got them deeper and deeper involved in a situation which made them helpless and ineffective and thus they had nothing to say.

The whole story is a vivid example of what happens to men who will not face the truth. The man who faces the truth may have the humiliation of saying that he was wrong, but at least the future for him is strong and bright. The man who will not face the truth has nothing but the prospect of deeper and deeper involvement in a situation which renders him helpless and ineffective.

Application

Who or what are the authority figures in my life?  How do I think God would grade my response to authority on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being poor and 10 being excellent?    Answer______?

Mark 11:27-33 (English Standard Version)

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, and they said to him, "By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?" Jesus said to them, "I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me." And they discussed it with one another, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say, 'Why then did you not believe him?' But shall we say, 'From man'?"--they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. 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."

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