2020-05-03 – Mark 11.27-12.12 – Shark Tank
Bible Text: Mark 11:27-12:12 | Preacher: Pastor Jerry Higdon | Series: Mark | 2020-05-03 – Mark 11.27-12.12 – Shark Tank
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
I am Pastor Jerry from the First Baptist church Orion Illinois. We have been going over the life and ministry of Jesus through the Gospel book of Mark. Today in scripture we are going to address a question that most everyone who has lived in the past 2,000 years has wrestled with at one time or another. Who is this person called Jesus Christ? And today we are going to deliberate specifically on Jesus’s authority. We as humans have always wrestled with this thing called authority. I would argue that struggling with authority is something that we all are actually born with. If you doubt that, well then I invite you to perhaps serve in our church nursery program sometime in the future. Ultimate authority in scripture is all about God in His three persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And today we will see that Jesus has most assuredly earned His authority.
Please turn in your Bibles to Mark 11.27 of God’s Inspired, Infallible and Living Word. But let us first start with Prayer.
Have you ever watched the show ‘Shark Tank’? It’s a great show where 5 self-made entrepreneurs sit on a panel where people come up and present their wonderful money making Ideas. The “Sharks” ask the guests hard questions that illuminate their situation. Many times I have seen the guest quiver in their shoes as they are being interrogated. That dynamic is what I think of when I read today’s scripture verse account. Jesus, “a nobody” from Nazareth, from their perspective anyway, was standing in front of the most powerful men in Israel as they grilled Him for information. However, unlike some of the timid guests on ‘Shark Tank’ Jesus was not a bit fearful, in fact Jesus was in complete control. He masterfully exhibited complete authority.
Mark 11:27 – They [Jesus and the Disciples] came again to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came 28 and asked him, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do these things?” 29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question;
then answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
30 Was John’s baptism from heaven or of human origin? Answer me.”
31 They discussed it among themselves: “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’”—they were afraid of the crowd, because everyone thought that John was truly a prophet.
33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Let us pause for a moment and think about this situation Jesus was now living out in these verses. Jesus was back in the Holy Temple. He was probably a stranger to most the people there. He was walking around, probably listening to all the teaching and the worshiping going on. This was right before Passover so it was probably pretty crowded. You could probably smell the scent of sacrifice in the air, as well as maybe some worshipful incense burning. Just the day prior Jesus had visited that same place and He cleared the temple grounds of the “den of thieves” for which He called it. The Sanhedrin council probably couldn’t believe their eyes that Jesus had returned to the scene of the crime. You might recall from last week, after Jesus left the temple, Mark 18 reads, “The chief priests and the scribes heard it and started looking for a way to kill him. For they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was astonished by his teaching”. So they were actively looking for Jesus, and now He had the audacity to return to “their” temple. I am sure they were astonished, so they decided to confront Him.
They asked Jesus about His authority; what authority did He have, and who gave Him that authority? From the Sanhedrin council’s perspective, they were the ultimate authority for the Jewish people and especially the holy temple, or so they thought. But Jesus was now rocking their world and they wanted to know who died and left Him as boss? They had a problem with His authority.
Do you ever have problems with authority? We all want to be the authority in our own lives don’t we. Pastor, author and psychologist Paul Tripp, says about us Christians, “We still are tempted to want our own way and to write our own rules”. I know that is true for me, after I recognize that I am holding on too tightly to my own little kingdom authority, it causes me to humble myself over and over again. In what areas of your life are you still holding on to your own “kingdom authority”?
I love how Jesus answers their questions here. He frequently answers challenging questions by asking questions himself. He said, “Was John’s baptism from heaven or of human origin?” By asking that question, If the council answered from heaven then they would have to acknowledge that John called Jesus the Messiah and therefore they would have to Him as the Messiah. If they answered from human origin, then all those people who had grown to love John’s ministry and was baptized by him would revolt, because they loved John the Baptist. Jesus knew they couldn’t answer that question because either way they answered, they would be in a pickle. So they just said they didn’t know.
I got to give them credit though, because many leaders would never admit that they didn’t know. That is something that we all need to acknowledge and admit sometimes. We don’t have all the answers. And sometimes “I don’t know” is the best answer we can give. There are many things about heaven and earth that we simply don’t know, and if you pretend to know, many times you will look like a fool. And “I know” that well from experience, lol.
So the Sanhedrin couldn’t answer, and that is when Jesus lays on them a most applicable parable entitled, The Parable of the Vineyard Owner:
12 He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went away. 2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from them. 3 But they took him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent another servant to them, and they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 Then he sent another, and they killed that one. He also sent many others; some they beat, and others they killed. 6 He still had one to send, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those tenant farmers said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill the farmers and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this Scripture:
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 11 This came about from the Lord and is wonderful in our eyes?”
12 They were looking for a way to arrest him but feared the crowd because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. So they left him and went away.
So it was apparent that in this parable the council realized that Jesus was cutting them down and putting them in their place. By the way, the Grapevine is the Pride of the Holy Land. So much about Israel is “rooted” in the fruit of the vine.
In this parable’s cast of characters, the Owner of the Vineyard is really God,
The Vineyard is the Nation of Israel. The Tenants are the Rulers of Israel, the Servants are the Prophets, and the Son mentioned here is Jesus Himself.
Jesus was pointing out that the owner (God), who trusted the tenant (Rulers) to manage the estate (Israel). That sacred trust was violated. God sent His Son to make things right. But the Rulers killed the Son and cast Him out of the vineyard. Jesus was telling the Rulers that God intends to take out justice upon them soon.
Interesting to know, a thousand years prior, in Isaiah 5 the profit wrote about this same circumstance. It says “Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled. I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it. The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the vines he delighted in. And he looked for justice but saw bloodshed for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.” I am sure the Sanhedrin Council knew those words of the prophet Isaiah very well. And sadly Israel experienced that destruction just 40 years after Jesus mentioned this parable.
Jesus was clearly showing and demonstrating His authority in a mighty way. And just like in those times, we today are in many ways making a mockery of what God desires for this world. God’s Ultimate authority and justice by Jesus will again be rendered upon our world. However for those that are in Christ, those that call themselves Christians will be saved or raptured and we will meet Him in the sky before the final judgement comes. And to that all I can say is, thank you Jesus.
Finally, verse 10 declares, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”. And that cornerstone is Jesus. Every building has its “cornerstone” or foundation. The Jewish leaders rejected Jesus as He didn’t fit their mold of a “righteous leader” should look like. But that cornerstone being Jesus, became the foundation for the Church. I am not talking about bricks and mortar, I mean the church family. Jesus is the reason we meet each Sunday. Jesus is the foundation of our faith.
For many years I ran from Jesus. I knew who He was and I knew what He had to offer. But just because somebody knows about Jesus, that doesn’t make them a Christian. Just because somebody knows about Jesus will not guarantee that they will ever see heaven. There were many people around Jesus that saw Him, even touched Him, but they didn’t choose to accept His saving grace. Like them, Jesus wasn’t the foundation of my life, but praise the Lord He saved me from myself. Now I know that I am going to heaven, and in that all I can say is Thank You Lord. What is at the foundation of your life? Have you chosen to accept to receive Jesus’s saving grace? If not maybe today is that day. I promise you it will change your life for the better. Step out in faith, and you will be happy that you did.
Or maybe you’re a Christian but you’re still hanging on to some of that old-self. What area of your life might you choose to submit to Jesus Christ today?
Is there someone you need to forgive? Is there a possession you can’t let go of?
Is there a relationship you are trying to control? Is there a call to serve that you are ignoring? Is there an addiction you refuse to fight or a lifestyle you fear losing? Choose this day who you will follow. Choose this day to let Jesus be your authority. Choose this day to let Him be the cornerstone of your faith. This church family Jesus gave us is designed to help you through your life struggles. We would be honored to join you in this Christ-filled life journey and purpose going forward. And to that all I can say is praise the Lord and Amen!
In closing, I’ll reflect back on that show ‘Shark Tank’ again. You might know that one of those multi-million dollar entrepreneurs goes by the title ‘Mr. Wonderful’. He is quite the character. But I would suggest to you that there is really only one true ‘Mr. Wonderful’ in our world, and His name is Jesus.
Maybe you remember this song, if so sing it with me?
His Name Is Wonderful; His Name Is Wonderful
His Name Is Wonderful; Jesus My Lord; He Is The Mighty King; Master Of Everything; His Name Is Wonderful; Jesus My Lord.
He’s The Great Shepherd; The Rock Of All Ages; Almighty God Is He.
Bow Down Before Him; Love And Adore Him
His Name Is Wonderful; Jesus My Lord
God loves you brothers and sisters. May God be with you all. Let us pray.