Mark's Gospel

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The Question of Authority

(Mark 11:27-33)

Jesus had caused great offence by clearing the Temple court of the money changers. The public nature of this demonstration made it impossible for the authorities to ignore. Jesus was challenged to disclose his authority. Jesus turned the tables on his questioners by asking a question of them, 'John's baptism, was it from heaven, or from man?' To answer a question by a counter-question was a device commonly used among the rabbis. Jesus was not being evasive but astute. If Jewish authories said they believed it came from God, they would be accusing Herod of a crime against God. However, if they denied John the Baptist's authority they feared popular disapproval from the people. John the Baptist claimed to be the herald of the Messiah. Any admission of the validity of John's authority supported the claim of Jesus to be exercising the authority of God.

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