Summary: Third in a 12 part series examining THE most important week in all of history: The Passion Week, when Jesus fulfilled Mark 10:45. The Servant Arrives: He Is Prophet. Jesus is asked a question of authority, responsibility, eternity, priority & identity.
The Passion Week of Christ: A Study from the Book of Mark
Week 3:The Servant Arrives - He Is Prophet
A. Did ya'll hear about the very prestigious psychologist who was called to testify at a trial? A severe, no-nonsense professional, she sat down in the witness chair, unaware that its rear legs were set precariously on the back of the platform. "Will you state your name?" asked the district attorney. Tilting back in her chair she opened her mouth to answer, but instead catapulted head-over-heels backward and landed in a stack of exhibits and recording equipment. Everyone watched in stunned silence as she pulled herself up, rearranged her disheveled dress and hair and was reseated on the witness stand. The glare she directed at onlookers dared anyone to so much as smirk. "Well, doctor," continued the district attorney without changing expression, "we could start with an easier question".
B. On Tuesday of Passion Week, Jesus again enters the temple, but this time He is asked a series of searing questions by the religious leaders of Israel. He, unlike the psychologist is unfazed by these questions. In fact, His answers, and in turn His own question, to the religious leaders left them knocked off their feet in their own sense. In fact the Gospels tell us they were awestruck, astonished out of their senses, literally unable to speak. Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us that after this encounter, from that day forward, "no one dared to ask him anymore questions."
C. As we explore that Tuesday of Passion Week, we will find that Jesus was asked a question of authority, a question of responsibility, a question about eternity, and a question of priority and that He then in turn asked His own question of identity. For each, we will look at The Delegation, Their Question and Jesus' Response. Discuss different format this week due to multiple passages
II. Context, Context, Context
A. Read & Discuss Mark 11:27.
- And they came again to Jerusalem - It's Tuesday sometime; this is Jesus' 3rd trip into Jerusalem from nearby Bethany - the first being as King on Sunday, the second as Judge on Monday and the third today as prophet.
- And as he was walking in the temple - This was in the Court of the Gentiles in an area called the Royal Cloister, it consisted of four rows of white marble columns, 6 ft in diameter, 30 ft high, 162 columns total. It was common for rabbis and teachers to stroll in these columns and teach as they walked. And this Jesus did, like an OT prophet speaking God's words to the people. But not merely as a messenger of revelation from God, but He himself the SOURCE of revelation from God. Rather than saying "Thus says the Lord," Jesus could begin divinely teaching with an amazing, "But I say unto you."
B. Pray - Jesus, we too are awestruck by your person and your work and your presence. Speak to us, Teach us what you would from your day of questioning that we may apply it to our lives to love you even more.
III. A Question of Authority (Mark 11:27-33)
A. The Delegation: the chief priests and the scribes and the elders This was members of the Sanhedrin, the 70 member ruling body of Judaism. Recall from last week, that after the Temple cleansing, they are continually seeking a way to destroy Jesus. They plan to trap Him in a question that will either lead to His falling out of favor with the people or, better yet, arrest & death.
B. The Question: Read & explain 11:28. These things = primarily his actions in cleansing the temple but also in general his entire ministry. Now in context, we must admit that this is a most natural question. The Sanhedrin = official guardians of the law, thus they had the right & responsibility to investigate anyone who claimed to be sent by God and that included Jesus. Jesus after all by the standards of the day is an unlearned, untrained, unschooled carpenter from Nazareth (cf. John 1:46). He's Joseph's boy! Yet we also know in context the group's motivation. Is it truth? No! It's to destroy Him! If Jesus said His authority, He would be arrested as a megalomaniac or His ministry discredited. If Jesus said God's authority, He would be charged with blasphemy, arrested and sentenced to death.
C. The Answer: Read & explain 11:29-30. Jesus put them on the defensive and made their evaluation of John's authority a test case for their evaluation of His own authority. He gave them 2 options, with no room to run! Read & explain 11:31-32. Option #1 = from heaven Naturally then, why didn't you believe and repent? Further, John was forerunner of Christ and pointed all to Christ. Thus...Jesus is 1) divinely attested and needed no further authority, 2) Messiah and they would be compelled to accept Him as such! Option #2 = from man There was NO way they could say this for they all held that John really was a prophet. Luke records the leaders saying all the people will stone us if they say such of John. Read & explain 11:33. We do not know - what a cop out!!! These guys are like the lion in the Wizard of Oz - no courage! Actually, more like the Tin Man - no heart or at least a hardened one! Jesus on the other hand didn't refuse to answer their question; just to refuse to accept and endorse their hypocrisy. He then taught them a parable (Parable of the Tenants) to confront them and reveal their hypocritical character.