The authority of Jesus
Mark 11: 27 – 33 “They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. 28 “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?” 29 Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30 John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!” 31 They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.) 33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
The response of Jesus was masterful. If John the Baptist’s ministry was from God then that would indicate where the authority of Jesus came from who is “more powerful than I” (Mark 1:7) But they had rejected John. If John the Baptist’s ministry was not from God then all the people who had accepted him as a prophet would turn on these religious leaders. They were caught. People who are caught usually say “I don’t know.”
The questions came as Jesus was walking through the Temple. The building work had begun under Herod the Great approximately 45 years ago at the time of Jesus walking through the courts that day. It would be approximately another 30yrs before it was finished and it would stand for 7 years before being flattened by Titus in AD70.
The questions came from the Chief Priests, teachers of the law and the elders. They are the ones who interpret what Moses taught, they are the intermediaries between man and what God desires and demands. They are at the top of their careers. There are many who want to be in their position. They are the authority.
The questions come for a reason. Jesus had entered the Temple the previous day and caused havoc. They had lost money that day. Jesus had prevented people carrying their offerings and goods in and out of the Temple, he had effectively shut down the worship.
I am painting the picture of the battle of authority. Can you see it?
Mark (who is widely-known to have documented the teachings of Peter) is writing post-resurrection and he is clear. He knows who wins the battle. He knows where the authority of Jesus lies. He began his gospel with, “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” He ends his gospel with Jesus ascending into heaven and sitting at the right hand of God.
There is still a battle of authority today.
Jesus is more than your best friend who walks with you like a brother.
He is the Holy One of God according to the evil spirits quaking in His presence (1:24).
He is the forgiver of sins which only God can do (2:7).
He described himself as Daniel’s authoritative Messiah title, Son of Man (2:28).
He built a team and gave them the ability and authority to do what He was doing (6:7).
He feeds 5,000 and then 4,000 and He walks on water (chapters 6 and 8).
He is transfigured on the mountain into His divinity and disciples here “This is my Son” from a descended cloud (9:7).
And then He enters Jerusalem and demonstrates authority which leads to the question.
So we are faced with this question today, the same question. The authority of Jesus. What is it? Where does it come from?
What do you say?
It seems to me that many want to hold his hand but not bow their knee. Many want the benefits of Jesus but not the surrender. What do we say?
If Jesus is who people like Mark says He is then it matters not how we feel, nor our circumstances that we go through, nothing absolutely nothing justifies us not surrendering our lives to Him. The only position is the bended knee.
Churches that fall-out over whose authority is higher, who is right and wrong, are churches that have not recognised the highest authority in the universe.
Christians that hurt others are people who are not kneeling before the throne but sitting on it.
I want to see the authority of Jesus brought back into the Church. We need a move of God throughout the nation. We need the outpouring of His glory. Our position regarding His authority will create the stage for that move.