Lent 2020 - Week Two Devotional
During the summer growing up, a group of us would gather occasionally for a pick-up baseball game. This particular Saturday, I suggested what the sides should be for a fair game. Mickey Lassiter, who was older, said, “Who died and made you king?”
In Mark 11:27-33, once again we see that Jesus and his disciples are marching into Jerusalem, a town that has cheered Jesus and received his judgment. Jesus is on the way to the cross and causing quite a stir. He has calmed stormy waters. He has healed and taught with authority and cleaned out the Temple. We are not surprised that the local leaders are appalled at the audacity of his actions and his bold claims.
The conspiracy that took root in Mark 3:6 has come to full bloom. This small-time Rabbi has become more than an annoyance for the big-time power brokers. So, this “cabal of conspirators” confronts Jesus with a loaded question: “By what authority are you doing these things?” Of course, they know the answer to the question because they know that political authority resides in Rome. Their dishonest question is intended only to put Jesus to the test.
Jesus answers their question with a question. He reminds them of the ministry of John the Baptist, who died by the hand of Herod. “Well,” asks Jesus, “was John a prophet of God or not, and better yet who gave Herod authority to murder him?” The subtext of the question is, “With what authority will these conspirators shortly deem Jesus a candidate for the cross?”
Was John’s ministry the plan of God or merely the delusion of a crazy man? Was it justified or a clear symbol of Rome’s broken reign? The cabal suddenly have their backs against the wall. The people loved and respected John. Trapped, they answer, “We do not know.”
As we march with Jesus during this season of Lent, we also have to answer a related question: Do I trust Jesus to have total authority in my life?
You see, Mickey, no one died and made me king. But Jesus died on the cross and God crowned him king and gave him complete authority over our lives. The first sentence of Mark’s Gospel reads, “Christ, the Son of God!” To realize that is to find complete joy. If we fail to realize that—well, it’s game over.