Holy Week: Day 3

Jesus Stood His Ground

Mark 11:27-33

Again they entered Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to Him. They demanded, ‘By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?’  ‘I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,’ Jesus replied. ‘Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!’  They talked it over among themselves. ‘If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. But do we dare say it was merely human?’ For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet. So they finally replied, ‘We don’t know.’ And Jesus responded, ‘Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.’”

In this passage, we see Jesus being confronted by the religious leaders of that day. And, essentially, what they’re saying is: “what authority do you have to say these things, to do these things, to teach these things? Essentially, who do you think that you are?”

And Jesus replies to them, and He says, “What authority did John have to do what He did by?” But notice that He’s not trying to confront their knowledge of the situation, not trying to confront how much they know – these are the religious leaders of this day! They knew the Bible, they had the knowledge. The thing that Jesus is trying to confront them about is their belief about it. Even in their response, it shows that they are struggling to believe these things. They don’t know what they believe. They’re so worried about what other people think of them, with what Jesus is doing, that they don’t know what they actually believe.

And what this does is expose something in us, too. It’s really easy for us to have knowledge about these things, to know Scripture, to have this intellectual understanding of God, but if we don’t believe, all of that is worthless. It’s worth nothing. So, what we can see in this passage is that we need to know what we believe about Jesus. If Jesus was standing before you, and He said, “By what authority do you think I do these things,” what would your response be? What do you believe about Christ, about God? It shows us the importance of having an understanding of who He is, what He’s done, and why that is important to us.

So, I challenge you today: what do you believe about God? Why? Is it just something that you believe because of the people who are watching you, or is it something that’s real to you? Is it something that you truly believe in your heart? Think about these things. Meditate on this passage. Pray about it as we approach Easter.

Justin Steiner

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