“Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to speak and act like this?” Mark 11:28
Jesus stopped by the market at the temple and spent time teaching the people who had gathered. Some leaders came along and asked Jesus if he had authority to teach openly in the temple. Obviously, Jesus did not live in the U.S.A. where we are granted the freedom of speech. He knew this was a trick questions, because these people already knew he had not gone through the proper channels to get permission. Jesus also knew they were trying to get him to admit the fact.
Have you ever wanted to throw out Robert’s Rules of Order? I served in a large congregation with many authority figures. One senior, after a long career as a successful business man, hung to every word of Robert’s Rules of Order and made is nearly impossible to have a congregational meeting without conflict.
Jesus didn’t play into the leaders’ pretentious game, and instead of answering their question, he proposed a one back to them: “About the baptism of John—who authorized it: heaven or humans? Tell me.” (vs.30) This stumped the leaders, and they gave in and said, “We don’t know.” To this reply, Jesus said, “Then I won’t answer your question either.” (Vs. 33)
I don’t believe Jesus was being defiant or trying to make up the rules for his convenience. He knew God wrote the rules and he was just the messenger.
Lord, help us to follow your rules and authority. Amen