Lenten Devotional

March 27, 2018

All Day

Category: Adult Education

Mark 11:27-33 

The Wisdom of Jesus

In these verses, we see the authority of Jesus being questioned by the religious leaders and the scribes. They demanded to know by what and whose authority, Jesus was preaching and doing miracles among the people. These leaders were not interested in the truth, but only concerned about their own position and reputation. Discerning that their intention was only to trap him into claiming deity and then accuse him of blasphemy, Jesus turns the tables by countering them with his own question about the origin of John the Baptist’s ministry ─ was it divine or human? Possibly he was implying that his authority came from the same source as John the Baptist’s. The leaders, being caught in their duplicity, are unable to respond. Then Jesus brusquely refuses to answer them.

By this wise move, Jesus evades the plans of the religious leaders to trap him. We see a similar situation when the leaders try to snare him with another question about paying taxes to Caesar. His answer, using a denarius (coin), and saying “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” leaves his critics speechless. The remarkable wisdom of Jesus at work here, serves as an example to us on how to respond to sceptics and detractors.

We can also gain some other insights from these passages.
When confronted with contentious issues on our faith, we shouldn’t enter into an argument or justify our actions and position. We should exercise self-control and refuse to answer rather than be provoked and be trapped by our words. Self-control is one of the fruits of our recreated human spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Although Jesus indeed operated by the authority of God, he did not flaunt it openly; rather he was humble, taking the form of a servant and being obedient, even to death on the Cross. Therefore, he was highly exalted by the Father. Jesus knew his relationship with God, his purpose on earth, and where he was going. This was the foundation of his humility. The Bible says we should have the same mindset as Christ and be clothed with humility at all times. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5)

Jesus’ example emphasizes the importance of our choice of words. He says in Matthew 12:37 “By your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned.” Proverbs 18:21 says death and life are in the power of the tongue. In Proverbs 10:31-32 it is written that the mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom and their lips give a fitting answer. So, we need to be extremely watchful with our choice of words. An effective way to do so is to fill our hearts with God’s Word, for as Jesus said: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

Jesus lived in the perfect will and timing of the Father. He refused to openly admit his divinity during this confrontation, as his time had not yet come. However, after his ensuing arrest and interrogation by the High Priest, Jesus boldly affirmed that he was the Son of God. (Mark 14:61-62) We too are encouraged to live in the good, acceptable and perfect will of God, living godly lives and continually renewing our minds with the Word of God. (Romans 12:1-3)

Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for giving us your Son and for your promise to transform us into his image by your Spirit. Help us to be like-minded and always walk in his ways and his truth. Amen.

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