This blog offers a meditation on the Common Lectionary daily readings along with a headline from world news
MORE THAN 27 MILLION CHILDREN BELOW POVERTY LINE IN EUROPE THIS YEAR
Jesus’ authority is directly challenged
27-28 So they came once more to Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the Temple, the chief priests, elders and scribes approached him, and asked, “What authority have you for what you’re doing? And who gave you permission to do these things?”
29-30 “I am going to ask you a question,” replied Jesus, “and if you answer me, I will tell you what authority I have for what I do. The baptism of John, now—did it come from Heaven or was it purely human? Tell me that.”
31-32 At this they argued with each other, “If we say from Heaven, he will say, ‘then why didn’t you believe in him?’ but if we say it was purely human, well …” For they were frightened of the people, since all of them believed that John was a real prophet.
33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” “Then I cannot tell you by what authority I do these things,” returned Jesus.
Jesus exposes his questioners as dishonest power brokers who will not admit their negative judgement on John for fear of unpopularity. Jesus refuses to give them information they neither deserve nor have the readiness to understand. Mark’s Jesus is forever unwilling to claim Messiah-ship because he will be misunderstood as claiming supernatural power. He will make his own claim to be God’s “Son”, but he will do it by his readiness to suffer in God’s cause.
At times the only convincing reply we can give to those who question our right to criticise their religious or civil power, is our readiness to suffer whatever disadvantage or suffering may result. If we’re not ready , perhaps we should ask ourselves what authority we have.