Scripture: Mark 11:27-12:12
Key verse: (11:28) “By what authority are you doing these things?”
Reflection: We live in a time when authority at every level is in question. From civil authority to political authority to institutional authority to religious authority, every authority is under question from some sector of our society.
What constitutes an authority for you? Media used to be authoritative for us. In the good old days, Walter Cronkite concluded the news broadcast by saying, “And that’s the way it is.” And by golly, it was. Can you imagine that today? Some would buy it, others would say, “So says the liberal media!” Others would say, “No it is not!” We can change the channel until we find a version of the news that supports what we already believe. Who decides what is authoritative? I do. In our world, the individual has become the ultimate authority.
That was not the case in first century Judea. Authority was clearly defined and everyone knew who had it and who didn’t. Jesus did not have any formal authority. So the authorities challenge him. But over and over again, Mark tells us that the crowds are in awe of Jesus, because, “he speaks as one who has authority, and not as the scribes and Pharisees.”
Something about Jesus usurps all authority. He needs no worldly acknowledgement, yet there’s something about him that exudes authority, and everyone recognizes it. The crowds recognize it, and so do the authorities.
So in our world, where the authority has increasingly been shifted to the individual, the question we face is this: how is Jesus our ultimate authority?
Prayer: “Lord, I believe, help Thou my unbelief. Amen.”
Author: Joe Clifford
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].