Mark 11:27-12:12 – The Authority of Jesus

Preserved within the gospel of Mark is a diverse and significant body of evidence of the verus sensus Jesu (the true historical Jesus). Nowhere is the continuity between the memory of the early Church and the self-understanding of Jesus more discernible than in Mark’s witness to his exousia, his divine legitimacy as God’s Son and servant.
In Jewish literature prior to the NT, exousia, or its Hebrew equivalents mäsal and sälat, most frequently characterize supernatural powers and authorities, both divine and demonic. Its single temporal reference, particularly in the Septuagint, is to kings, who were believed to rule at the behest of supernatural powers. Along with the other evangelists, Mark appropriates this term to describe the magisterial uniqueness and idiosyncrasy of Jesus. In his assault on the demonic, forgiveness of sins, supremacy over Torah and temple, speech about God as Father, and grounding pronouncements about matters in which God is sovereign in his own authority, Jesus exercises an authority that is God’s prerogative. This is the more remarkable because Jesus “had no formal or official basis for his own authority.” Coming from  anyone else it would have signaled utter madness—as it did in the eyes of his enemies. What the devout Jew saw in Torah, or perhaps in the temple, the gospels see in Jesus, for Jesus replaces Torah and temple as the locus Dei. When questioned about the source of his authority, Jesus points to his baptism by John, wherein the voice declaring Jesus Son of God and the Spirit empowering him as servant of God confer on him the exousia of God.
Thus in the gospel of Mark, as in John, Jesus appears as God incarnate in his bearing, speech and activity. This astonishes, baffles, and even offends his contemporaries, from his closest circles outward. The religious leaders in particular regard his laying claim to a realm that belonged properly to God as the gravest possible trespass. Jesus gives the distinct impression, however that he is not a trespasser but is entering into his rightful property.

James R. Edwards

Read Mark 11:27-12:12 and consider what it might look like in your life to give Jesus more of the authority that he deserves. Are there specific areas of your life where his authority needs more of its rightful place? What does it look like to hand that over to him?

See the Destined Day Arise by Richard Mant

Posted on: February 14, 2019 - 10:00PM

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