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Thursday, July 29, 2010

7/30/10 Mark 11:27-33 A Question of Authority

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."

(Luca fa Presto 1660)

Thoughts: Who has authority to tell us what to do?  Is it those with the guns?  Is it the experts?  Is it that NO one has the right to tell ME what to do?  Lost people- like the Pharisees in this case- have no idea what is of God and what is not- so they have no compass- no true north- no way to tell right from wrong- which means they are lost. One of the problems of the Church today is that we have lost our authority as scripture. There is a watch word out there among some "biblical experts" that we should take the Bible seriously but not literally.  I can understand this somewhat.  When the Bible says the sun sets- it is a descriptive terms.  There is poetry in the Bible that is to be distinguished from commands. We should distinguish between laws that were related to the temple and its ceremonies and our own day.  But, too often the phrase "take the Bible seriously not literally" is a way to rationalize away something we don't want to believe or do.  So, we can pick by our expert leanings which commands we think are relevant to our day and which commands are not.  It is not taking the Bible seriously if we do not do what it commands.

Prayer: Lord, give me a submissive heart to you.  Help me to not only hear you but to listen to you.

John Calvin abridged:  The miracles of Christ testified to his heavenly authority, but the scribes chose to ignore this testimony. They were insisting he did not have true authority because they did not vote him in- as if authority rest solely in them.  This is why Jesus did not answer their question. John had been Christ's herald, yet they had refused to recognize his authority too. The priests did not ask themselves what was true.  So the wicked oppose truth if it goes against their own desires.

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