In Mark 11, Jesus entered Jerusalem as the Messiah fulfilling prophesy from Zechariah. If any missed that, the crowd yelled out, “Hosanna!”, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”, “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”, “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Mk 11:9-10)
After checking out Jerusalem and the temple, he overnights in Bethany two miles away.
On his way back to where all the action is, he has curses a fruitless fig tree. When he enters Jerusalem he heads to overturn the fruitless religious system entrenched in the temple. Jesus declares the temple is the hideout for thieves and robbers. They steal the joy of belonging to the heavenly Father. They charge admission to even come before Abba, our heavenly daddy.
Jesus makes clear the age of the fruitless tree is over. If you will look past the “holy mount” and tell it to take a flying leap in the ocean, it will be done for you. Instead of bargaining and bartering to get in line to beg from the Father, simply call out to your heavenly Father and he will give you the joy-filled, fruitful relationship.
The keepers of temple system question his authority. These high priests of spiritual bargaining still exist all around us today. These are all the gatekeepers who say we have to jump through hoops to be worth while and of value. These are all the gurus who tell us we have to work on our own spiritual worth through what we have, how strong we are, how we look, or how good we are.
These gatekeepers who want to control our access to God and say God is not present continue to question Jesus’ authority. “By what authority are you doing these things?” (Mk 11:28)
Jesus has been clear all along. We know by what authority he has been acting if we will seek him.
Jesus is the Son of the Father King of the Universe. As the Son of the Father he has all authority. Not only does he have authority to challenge this world and its systems, Jesus the Messiah, the anointed one, has the power to upend them.
Jesus upends the understanding of power by coming as a humble king. Jesus upends the understanding of spiritual standing by coming as a true priest. Jesus upends all the sacrificial bargaining by coming as the Lamb of God. Jesus upends all the fear based religion by dying on the cross. Jesus upends all of powers of rebellion and violence against God by defeating death.
By what authority does Jesus do these things? He is telling us if we will look to Him.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Pet 5:7)