The authority of Jesus questioned

Published June 2, 2018, 12:05 AM

by Francine Ciasico

Reflections Today
Reflections Today



Mark 11:27-33


Jesus and his disciples returned once more to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple area, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders approached him and said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do them?” Jesus said to them, “I shall ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin? Answer me.” They discussed this among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?” — they feared the crowd, for they all thought John really was a prophet. So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.” Then Jesus said to them, “Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”



WHO GAVE YOU THIS AUTHORITY TO DO THEM? The Temple authorities, the Sadducees, challenge Jesus for “cleansing” the Temple. They have long allowed those commercial activities as legitimate, for the convenience of the pilgrims.

The Sadducees are the highest authority in the Temple, if not in Jewish society. They are wondering why suddenly Jesus violently objects to the commercial activities attached to the Temple. Where is his courage and power coming from? It must not come from one of their ranks. Who is he, anyway?

Jesus counters by asking a fundamental question about the origin of John’s baptism, which they are aware of. It is a key to understand his predicament and to answer their question.

Since they cannot tell where John’s baptism comes from, Jesus finds it pointless to answer their question. They should not have taken lightly the preaching of John in the River Jordan. We know it comes from God, not from men. The answer is taken from the baptism of John, when God speaks, “This is my beloved Son…”

In our religion, we miss many good things because we do not recognize where we are coming from. We participate in the liturgy without knowing why. We go through the motions and end up empty.


We can improve our prayer life if we recognize where we are coming from: God.


SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: