The Sanhedrin Questions Jesus Authority

The Authority of Jesus Questioned

Mark 11:27-34

New Living Translation (NLT)

This event is also found in Matt 21:23-27 and Luke 20:1-8. The Jewish leaders were bitter and they did all they could to try to trap Jesus but the Lord was a master debater and He turned every question they posed to Him around and they ended up embarassing themselves.

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

27Again 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. 28They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?”

29“I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. 30“Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!”

31They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. 32But 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. 33So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”

And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”

The religious leaders were now plotting a way to kill Jesus. (see vs 18) and the asked Jesus about the nature and source of His authority – referring to the authority to cleanse the temple(see vss 15-17) . Jesus had not yet openly declared that He was the Messiah.

I just love the following exchange!

29“I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. 30“Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!”

The intent of Jesus question to the leaders was to expose their insincereity. ‘The baptism of John, is referring to the AUTHORITY of John’s baptism- was it from Heaven and ordained by God or was it merely from men, that is of human contrivance and void of any spiritual authority and reality? The leaders repsonded with a dishonest answer-

that of Verse 33 So they finally replied, “We don’t know.” And how did Jesus respond? He kept His promise, since they did not answer His question he repsonded-

And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Thus far we have covered the triumphal entry(Sunday), the cleansing of the temple(Monday) and now the Sanhedrin challenging Jesus authority( Tuesday) There are a few more events that happened on Tuesday, that we will look at next time.

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