Jesus and his disciples entered Jerusalem again. As Jesus was walking around the temple, the chief priests, legal experts, and elders came to him. They asked, “What kind of authority do you have for doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?”
Jesus said to them, “I have a question for you. Give me an answer, then I’ll tell you what kind of authority I have to do these things. Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin? Answer me.”
They argued among themselves, “If we say, ‘It’s of heavenly origin,’ he’ll say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But we can’t say, ‘It’s of earthly origin.’” They said this because they were afraid of the crowd, because they all thought John was a prophet. They answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus replied, “Neither will I tell you what kind of authority I have to do these things.”
– Mark 11:27-33, Common English Bible (c) 2011
I turned to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary for a definition of “authority.” Turns out old Webster would be an example of the first definition:” a source of a citation used in defense or support.” The second dictionary definition – “power to influence or command thought, open, or behavior” – is likely what Mark has in mind. Jesus can influence people in ways they could believe only because they were seeing it. Jesus’ authority was in conflict with the authorities, the “persons in command” (Webster’s third definition). At least the persons in command thought so.
What authority do you trust? When one is in conflict with another, how do you decide which to heed?
-Teressa Clark, 2012
Lenten Reflections 2019: Following Jesus from the Mount of Olives to the Tomb ~ Day 6