Day 61 (Mon, Oct 13, 2014)

Authority of Jesus

51 total verses: Matthew 21:12-27; Mark 11:15-33; Luke 19:45-48; 20:1-8

Brief description of action taking place or point being made

244. Jesus enters Jerusalem then goes to Bethany in Mark 11:11
245. Jesus curses a fig tree in Mark 11:12-14
246. The 2nd temple cleansing in Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46
247. Jesus heals many in the temple in Matthew 21:14
248. Jewish leaders seek to destroy Jesus in Matthew 21:15-16; Mark 11:18; Luke 19:47-48
249. Jesus leaves Jerusalem in Matthew 21:17; Mark 11:19
250. The withered fig tree (next morning) in Matthew 21:18-22; Mark 11:20-26
251. Authority challenged in the Temple in Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8

General questions

1. What is your favorite verse or set of verses? Why?
2. Did you learn anything from the reading or find anything particularly cool? What?
3. Was there anything unclear in the passage that you have questions about? What are they?

Specific questions on this passage

After Completing the Bible Reading

Broader outline of each section of passage

Mark 11:11-14. Jesus first goes to Jerusalem and looks around the Temple, then, since it was late, he and his disciples went to Bethany. The next day, Jesus was looking for a fig on a tree since he was hungry. And since it had no figs, he cursed the tree.

Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46. Jesus caused quite a stir when he entered the temple and drove out those who sold and bought inside the Temple, as well as overturned the money-changers tables. This commerce was preventing people from being able to pray.

Matthew 21:14. While at the temple, Jesus healed people who were blind and lame.

Matthew 21:15-16; Mark 11:18; Luke 19:47-48. Jesus taught people in the temple, which irritated the chief priests and scribes, who wanted to kill him.

Matthew 21:17; Mark 11:19. After a day at the temple, they returned that evening to Bethany.

Matthew 21:18-22; Mark 11:20-26. The stories diverge a little here. In Mark, Jesus had cursed the fig tree the previous morning, and the disciples find on this morning that it had withered. In Matthew, Jesus cursed the fig tree this morning, and it withered right away. Regardless of which it was (maybe it was cursed both mornings), the disciples are astonished. But Jesus makes this a teachable moment, saying that if they would just have faith and not doubt, they could cast the mountain into the sea.

Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8. The chief priests and scribes confronted Jesus in the Temple, asking by what authority he did the miracles. Jesus countered with a question, asking whether the baptism of John was from heaven or from man. They talked among themselves, and realized they would be stoned by the people if they said “man”, but would be in a difficult position with Jesus if they said “heaven”. So they chose not to answer, and Jesus told them he wouldn’t answer, either.

My favorite passage and other random thoughts

I think the verse I will choose is Mark 11:17, Jesus says “‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’… But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'” (NIV). It is clear that Jesus’s concern is that His Father’s house was meant as a house of prayer — a place where people could come and meet with God. He was particularly concerned in this specific statement that non-Jewish people would have a place to meet God (hence the mention of “all nations”). The Jewish people were supposed to be the beginning of the blessing to the whole world. The Temple — God’s Presence with them — and the Law — God’s order and wisdom to guide them — were supposed to set the Jewish people apart so that others might come to know God. Some commentaries mention that the merchants were set up in the court of the Gentiles — the place where non-Jews were supposed to be able to pray. With the merchants set up there, how could the Gentiles meet God?

[Just to be sure I am not misunderstood, I do NOT think that any other race or nation would have done any better than the Jewish people. Indeed, there were historical seasons when the Jewish people did remarkably well. Recall also that the Christian Church when it was born consisted ONLY of Jewish people. Jesus was Jewish, for goodness sake! It is just that the unredeemed human heart kept any people from sustaining the kind of faithfulness to God that He desired. Now, however, Christians are given new hearts that are able to do things that old hearts could not do before. We also have God Himself dwelling within those hearts — God living inside us!]

The reason I can especially relate to this passage is that I sometimes feel like organized religion has placed so many obstacles in the way of people finding God that I just want to yell at them to stop making up rules and just help people find Jesus! That is one reason why I find a breath of fresh air in those who are faithful to the Bible, but who poke fun at how we have skewed and misinterpreted its application, and challenge us to broaden how we understand it and live out our lives of faith. In my heart of hearts — and it is my life passion — I believe that what God has always intended for people is to find Him in a deep, intimate relationship. I think that most of organized religion fails to act like that is true. But I still go to church every Sunday if at all possible, it’s just that my church preference tends to those that think outside the box (but still embrace the truth of what is written in the Bible).

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