There’s a very intriguing passage found in Mark 11 that focus’s on Jesus authority.  Jesus had become a burr underneath the saddle of the religious leaders of His day, simply because He was messing up their system.  In verses 27-33 there is an exchange between this group of religious leaders and Jesus while He is at the Temple.

The people challenging Jesus were identified back in chapter 8: “the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes.”

The reason that Jesus is approached by these elite religious men is because they are concerned with what just happened at the Temple… He came unleashed on the abusers of the people who were coming to the Temple, turning their tables over and putting some serious “bass” in His voice reminding everyone within ear shot that, “My Father’s house will be a House of prayer for all Nations.” This really got their attention.  So, they begin to question Him about His authority, AKA, “Just WHO do you think you are?”

It appears that the purpose of the question posed to Jesus was that the authorities were hoping to trap him. If he claimed that his authority came directly from God they might be able to accuse him of blasphemy;  if he claimed that the authority came from himself, they might be able to ridicule him and make him appear foolish.

During these days, some rabbis were simply "Torah teachers", meaning they only had the "authority" to teach the "common Torah understanding" of the community.  Those rabbis generally lived in one community and taught at the local synagogue.  There was however, another "class" of rabbis, those with "sm'kha", (authority), to teach Torah as it was revealed to them from God.  Jesus was a sm'kha rabbi, and these rabbis generally traveled, had disciples (talmidim) and were held in the highest standing.  Jesus demonstrated his sm'kha when in his teachings, he would begin by saying, "you have heard it said......., but I say........".  He was presenting his "yoke", his teaching.  In Matt 11:29, when he say "take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart....", he was teaching "different torah interpretation", and obviously the Chief Priests were at least "initially" interested in who Jesus was, and then became threatened as Jesus would soon oppose the way the temple and sacrificial systems were being forced upon the people. As they question Jesus, they are questioning, “Where did you get your sm’kha?” 

Jesus chooses to answer their question with a question. Rabbinic dialogue frequently was composed of answering questions with questions, because oftentimes, "the answer to the question was a question"!  Jesus often employed this technique where he refused to "play" by the pharisees groundrules, and thereby, turned the tables on them.

I’ll tell you much more about this chapter in Mark 11 tomorrow and we continue out “WALK THROUGH HOLY WEEK.”


1.      It was Jesus who said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me…”


 Can’t wait to see you tomorrow!

All For Jesus,

Pastor D




Rick Day