Summary: In the Bible we see the authority of Jesus being questioned regarding the clearing of the temple. What authority does Jesus have in your life when it comes to getting rid of things that Jesus would like to remove?
Mark 11:27-33 (Please open your Bibles so you can read along)
(Briefly describe the following from Mark 11)
Jesus arrives at the Jerusalem late in the day and walks around looking at everything.
Because it is late He goes to Bethany for the night.
Coming back the next morning He “began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.”
Jesus continues teaching after He does this saying, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
Jesus goes “out of the city” for the night.
The next day He is walking through the temple courts so, let’s pick it up there and go ahead and read our Scripture for today Mark 11:27-33
What exactly are the teachers of the law, the chief priests and the elders asking Him? How would we say it today?
Just WHO do you think you are, Jesus???
Who were the authorities not only in the Jewish faith but especially in the Temple?
Authorities in the Jewish faith:
Pharisees – Teachers of the law and their traditions (which they
claimed went all the way back to Moses even though there was no proof)
Saducees – Teachers of the law of Moses but denying some
Scribes – Many were also Pharisees but Scribes copied the Law (first five books of the OT). These are the ones who we have to think for preserving the Old Testament so faithfully. They were experts in the Law and would also write commentaries and give Scriptural legal advice in opinions. However, they also believed that the oral traditions could and did supersede the authority of the Scriptures.
Priests – Levitical priests – Any priests who were descendents of Levi but not of the lineage descended from Aaron the son of Levi. These are the priests who cared for the temple. These are the priests who would have set up the area in the temple for the sacrificial cattle to be corralled for purchase for sacrifices. These are the priest who would have arranged with the money changers and told them where to set up.
Priests – Chief priests – all chief priests were direct descendents of Aaron. These are the priests who would offer the sacrifices and burn incense to the Lord.
Priests – High Priest – the high priest would be chosen from the chief priests on an annual basis. He would be the one who would go into the Holy of Holies once a year.
OK. So, these were THE authorities! In the temple the Chief Priests were the ABSOLUTE authorities and they have been for centuries.
So, here comes this upstart Jesus from Nazareth.
First He comes in here acting like He owns the place looking around at everything and then the next day He comes in and starts chasing people around with a whip turning over tables of the dove merchants and the money changers and not allowing anyone to carry merchandise through the Temple!
And then He’s quoting Scripture saying, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations” as if it is really HIS house! What gall!
And then He accuses the holy priesthood, of making the temple into a “Den of robbers!”
After teaching for awhile Jesus leaves the temple and leaves Jerusalem for the night
Boy the Jewish leaders are hot under the collar now!
Mark 11:18 NIV
“The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill Him, for they feared Him, because the whole crowd was amazed at His teaching.”
From this verse it appears that what the chief priests and teachers of the law would have liked to have done would have been to take Jesus outside the temple and kill Him right then and there!
But … they’re afraid of the crowd so they come up with an alternate plan!
Then next morning Jesus arrives back at the temple and is once again walking through the temple courts as if He owns the place.
Mark 11:27b-28 NIV
“The chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to Him (and asked) ‘By what authority are You doing these things? … And who gave You authority to do this?’”
What they are saying is, “WE are the ones in charge here! Who do You think You are???”
Do you know what? From their perspective that’s a very good question!
We know from today’s Scripture reading how Jesus actually responded to their questions.
But … they must have known who Jesus really was.