The authority of Jesus questioned

This is written by Sam Gilbert. This joke pretty much sums his up - Q. How do you find Will Smith in the snow? A. You just have to look for fresh prints! lololol.

Mark 11:27-12:12

The authority of Jesus questioned
27 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 parable of the tenants
12 Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: 'A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall round it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.

6 'He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, "They will respect my son."

7 ‘But the tenants said to one another, "This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours." 8 So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.

9 'What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven't you read this passage of Scripture:

"'The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
11 the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvellous in our eyes"?'

12 Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.


The situation's tense, and it's getting worse. It's Jesus versus the supreme court, and they've got a trick question for him. To them, Jesus is chaos and disorder. They want to embarrass him in front of a crowd. But Jesus knows he's on the same team as John the Baptist, heaven's team. He turns the tables and poses them a question where every answer is the wrong one.

Eventually they pick the least embarrassing way out, claiming ignorance, but Jesus continues with a parable. To Jesus, they are the problem, getting in the way of peace and order. If God is the CEO, then middle-management are about to get fired, followed by a corporate restructure.

Jesus carries on with a quote from a famous song, about how he's on the right side of history and soon it'll be pretty obvious. They go away angry, vowing to get him next time.

So how is he so good at this?
  1. Wisdom. It's obvious their questions are less than innocent, and Jesus isn't trying hard to convince them. He knows how to shut down their argument, because he does everything in partnership with the Holy Spirit.
  2. Self-awareness. Jesus' parable is practically a retelling of God's mission. Jesus came to revolutionise our relationship with God. He's willing to handle a little pressure because he knows the wider story.
  3. Patience. Jesus is well-placed to lead a revolution against the authorities, but he doesn't. Jesus knows God has everything sorted.

When people publicly challenge your identity and your motives, it can feel very personal. But you'll do well when you know who God made you to be, when you listen to his voice and do it, and when you model your patience on Jesus.

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