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 began saying to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things, or who gave You this authority to do these things?” And Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question, and you answer Me, and then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven, or from men? Answer Me.” They began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘From men’?”—they were afraid of the people, for everyone considered John to have been a real prophet. Answering Jesus, they said, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” Mark 11:27-33
Today’s thoughts from today’s verses:
Over the course of the earthly ministry of Jesus he was confronted regularly by religious leaders. Notice in today’s passage those who confront Jesus: “the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.” This is a powerful set of people. In terms of available religious authority, this is the top brass (assuming the chief priests includes the high priest). So, we have the top authorities of the religious system of the day questioning the authority of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead, God the Son. This is meant to be a showdown moment with Jesus that these religious authorities are seeking to orchestrate. But, Jesus isn’t biting because it is not the right moment for him and his “suffering Messiah” purposes. It won’t be long though and Jesus will stand on trial before these same men.
At his trial when asked directly by the high priest if he was the Messiah, Jesus said, “I AM.” The high priest seemed to grasp that the Messiah had to be the Son of God, and yet when Jesus says he is the Messiah, He is accused of blasphemy. It must be that the high priest and the others just didn’t think that Jesus was the right one. They didn’t believe that it was blasphemous for the true Messiah to claim to be the Son of God, but they did think such a claim was blasphemous for someone they believed was not the Messiah. It is ironic that in their declaring Jesus guilty and deserving of death, they put Him in perfect position for fulfilling His role as the “suffering Messiah.”
There is a confrontation with some of the religious leaders where Jesus does reference the source of his authority. John 5:39-47 gives to us this remarkable statement by Jesus, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
We know that Jesus is the Son of God and the one and only Messiah. While he is rejected by the religious authorities, his disciples will eventually get to the right spot. Remember a little while back when Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter gives the right answer (“the Christ” equals “the Messiah”) but then shows that he does not comprehend the true meaning of his answer. Peter rebukes Jesus when he tells them about his coming suffering. Peter and the rest of the disciples want a “conquering” Messiah and not a “suffering ” Messiah. After the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, everything changes. The Scriptures record for us some amazing words that come from the Apostle Peter.
In Acts 3:18 Peter says, “But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.” The idea of a suffering Messiah which had been a foreign concept to Peter he now declares to have been announced beforehand. Peter goes on to say in Acts 3:19-21, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ (Messiah) appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” So, He came once as the suffering Messiah, but He will return someday as the ruling Messiah when He will restore all things.
But, in addition to him coming to sacrifice Himself for the sins of the world in the past and His coming again to rule and make all things right in the future, He comes personally to each person who repents and returns in order to wipe away their sins and refresh them from within with His healing presence. Aren’t you glad that you are on this side of the resurrection and that you are under the authority of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, the one and only Messiah?
Today’s prayer response from today’s thoughts:
Lord, your story is an amazing story and the detail of how it unfolds is so remarkable. Thank you for coming. Thank for standing in the face of those who opposed you. Thank you for going forward and embracing all the suffering that came to you. Thank you for doing it for me. You are my Master and have full claim on my life. I bow before you and to your full authority in my life. Amen!