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.” Mark 11:27-33
Have you ever thought or said, “Who do you think you are coming here and doing that?” This is what the judges, lawyers and teachers asked Jesus. He came riding the foal of a donkey into Jerusalem (like King David coming in peace) and then charging into the temple and causing a scene (calling it his Father’s house). They try to trap him by asking where he gets his authority, but he answers them with another question. Jesus doesn’t answer their question about his authority because in a traditional rabbinical exchange if a question was asked and wasn’t answered, the one asking was released from answering too. They neither answered or asked another question of Jesus, but went away plotting.
While the religious establishment reflected a lack of honor for Jesus, the Passover pilgrims were showing Jesus kingly honor. People along the road to Jerusalem sang “hosanna” to Jesus They. wanted him to be their King and save them on Sunday, but shouted for him to be crucified on Friday. What happened here? Did they know who he was and why he came? Maybe some did and some didn’t. They were hoping for what was in it for them, but not for God. They wanted Jesus to rule Rome but God’s plan was to rule in the hearts of all men. They were worshipping with their lips but not with their hearts.
Mark has authored for us a journey about Jesus’ authority and miracle ministry. Jesus has quietly gone around the Galilean countryside, but now he’s paraded into Jerusalem with jubilant fanfare. The Passover pilgrims, the religious establishment, and ourselves, we all must face the same question Jesus asked Peter, “who do you say I am?” Jesus has all authority on heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18). “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:11) Bring honor to God by giving him all authority in your life. Genuinely worship him by honoring him and others.
By Donna Burns