Saturday Morning: 18 May 2019 – Mark 11:15-33 ~ By what authority?

Saturday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Sabbath Rest – Saturday)

Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and set aside a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared to meet you in worship, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Morning Reading – Mark 11:15-33 (NLT)

Jesus Clears the Temple

When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”

When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching.

That evening Jesus and the disciples left the city.

The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!”

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

Again they entered Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?”

“I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!”

They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. But do we dare say it was merely human?” For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet. So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”

And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Morning Reflection:

By what authority?

“By what authority are you doing all these things?
Who gave you the right to do them?”
– Mark 11:28

The religious leaders ask the key question: “Who gave you the right to do [these things]? What things are they talking about?

  • deliverance from the demonic
  • forgiveness of sins
  • supremacy over Torah and temple
  • speech about God as Father
  • teaching about matters in which God is sovereign

Jesus exercised an authority that was God’s sole prerogative. But their question was not asked in good faith, rather it was another attempt at entrapment.

In regard to Jesus’ authority, note two things –

+ Worship Space: Jesus overturned the prevailing religious practice in order to make the Temple a place of prayer for everyone. God had provided a place in the Temple area for gentiles to worship and pray. But the religious leaders had turned that space into a market. The people of all nations had no place to pray.

+ Answered Prayer: God is the source of the power to change; and God’s will is sovereign over all our prayer requests. The condition from our perspective is an undivided heart – belief that God can do anything; belief that the request is God’s will; confidence that God will do it, since it’s his will; and purity of heart through forgiveness of those who have sinned against us.

Questions for consideration:

  • Where do you worship in public with others? Is it a welcoming space and place? Would you consider it a place of prayer? Please explain.
  • Think for a moment, is there there anything that Jesus might change to make your public worship place more welcoming to people from “all nations?” Please explain.
  • Are you a person of prayer? Do you believe that God can do anything? How do you know if you are praying according to God’s will? Please explain.
  • Are you holding on to unforgiveness? What would it take to let that go? Please explain.


Morning Prayer:

The Persecuted Church: Prayer for the practical needs of persecuted believers:

Heavenly Father, our provider and sustainer: Attend to the needs of your family suffering great hardship and persecution, especially –

+ That they would have access to a Bible…
+ That they would have the courage to remain in their homeland…
+ That those rejected by their family and friends would be welcomed into your family where they are loved and supported emotionally and physically…
+ That socially vulnerable women and those who have lost custody of their children would be protected and their children returned…
+ That those who are destitute would find jobs and safe places to live…

Heavenly Father, you know each one of your children by name: Have mercy on them and attend to their needs according to your perfect will. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father: Not my will, but your will be done – and help me to distinguish between the two. Guide me by your Word and Spirit that I might set aside time and space to listen and learn from you. Give me an undivided heart – a heart in tune with the heart of Christ Jesus. And drive away all fear and doubt, that I may do the work you have given me to do, to love and serve you as a faithful witness of Christ my Lord. To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

“God I Look to You” – Jenn Johnson (Bethel Worship)



May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Categories: Life in Christ

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