Mark 11

In Mark 11:27-33 (cf. Matt 21:23-27; Luke 20:1-8), Jesus is confronted in the temple by the scribes, the chief priests, and the elders.

They challenge Jesus to declare the source of his authority Jesus ripostes by turning the question to John the Baptist: “Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” The question stumps the authorities: they cannot say it was from heaven or that it was mere human authority. It is certain that no one in the crowd has the status of the scribes, chief priests, and elders, and yet these elites are rendered powerless by public opinion (Mark 11:32).

This is a classic example of challenge and riposte. In the end those watching have the final say “the artisan Jesus shames his elite challengers” because those watching acknowledge it .[1]


[1] Zeba Cook; “Honor , Shame, and Social Status Revisited;” in Journal of Biblical Literature Vol. 128. No. 3 (Fall 2009), p601.

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