May 10, 2007

Mark 11.27->

And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the Temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they asked, "By what authority are you doing these things?--Who gave you the authority to do them?"

Jesus said to them, "I will ask you a question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from Heaven or from men? Answer me!"

And they argued with one another, "If we say, 'From Heaven,' he will say, 'Why then did you not believe him?' But shall we say, 'From men'?" They were afraid of the people, for all held that John was a real prophet. So they answered Jesus, "We do not know."

And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."

1 Comments:

At 6:55 PM, Blogger forrest said...

There's more at work here than superb verbal judo skills.

My initial, childhood reading of this was: "Both John and Jesus derived their authority directly from God, and members of a priestly hierarchy can't cope with such a claim, don't know how to evaluate it and basically find it frightening." True enough.

But my current take on it says that John's "baptism" is in this case a euphonism for "John's anointing." If they accept John as a prophet, and Jesus can say that John anointed him king over Israel, this will put them in fear, not merely of the crowd, but of the Roman authorities, who will be displeased whether the priests accept the claim or trigger a disturbance by overtly disallowing it.

 

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