Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XLIV: Learning To Use Third Party Precedents To Reveal Credibility
(Mark 11:27-33)
  1. Introduction
    1. There are times when a believer's credibility is so called into question, that were he to give his own opinion on his credibility, the opinion itself, coming from the distrusted party, would be questioned.
    2. In such a difficult case, Jesus examples for believers the route God wants them to take to clarify credibility.
  2. Learning To Use Third Party Precedents To Reveal Credibility, Mark 11:27-33.
    1. When Jesus cleansed the Jewish Temple of its moneychangers, He naturally incurred the wrath of the temple officials, the Sanhedrin. Accordingly, they came to Him in an upset mode, asking Him by what authority He had operated to cleans e the temple complex, Mark 11:27-28, B.K.C., N.T., p. 159.
    2. Had Jesus answered that He had received His authority from God, these faithless leaders might have pressed for His demise ahead of the Father's schedule. Besides, Jesus' credibility was called into question by their very question itself, so He needed to establish that credibility independent of his own words, Ibid.
    3. Jesus responded wisely by using a Rabbinical debating technique and God's third party credibility precedents to indicate His credibility independent of his own words themselves, Mk. 11:29-33:
      1. To get the leaders to think and not just react to Him, Jesus utilized the typical rabbinical practice of answering a question offered by asking a question, Ibid.
      2. Now, Jesus' credibility was properly and biblically first presented not by Himself, but by John the Baptizer as follows:
        1. John had presented himself as a very credible Old Testament styled prophet by wearing all the right prophetic garb as the Old Testament Elijah and saying he was Messiah's forerunner predicted in Malachi, Mark 1:1-4,6-7. As a result, a ll Judaea and Jerusalem were following him, Mark 1:5.
        2. This same, credible John then announced Jesus as the Messiah, the Lamb of God and Son of God who would take away the sins of the world, Mark 1:9-11; John 1:25-34.
      3. Accordingly, Jesus appealed to John's ministry to back up His own: he asked the Sadduccees if John's ministry was of God or not, Mark 11:29-30!
      4. This question put the leaders in a real bind: (a) if they answered that John's ministry was of God, then Jesus would have them over a barrel, and ask them why they didn't believe John's testimony regarding Jesus as the Messiah, the Lamb of God and Son of God, Mark 11:31. (b) On the other hand, replying to Jesus that John's ministry was not of God, or that it was of mere men, they would have incurred the wrath of the people who respected John as a prophet, Mark 11:32.
      5. In reality, the question was designed to CORNER these leaders into having to figure that maybe THEY were wrong as they had no ANSWER with their CURRENT rejection of John and Jesus!
      6. Feeling cornered, the leaders discussed among themselves their inability to give an answer and replied to Jesus that they could not tell about John's credentials, Mark 11:33a.
      7. Since they refused to face their own blindness, Jesus refused to give them an answer to their initial question. Doing so would not have caused a change in heart, so it was useless to go on, Mk.11:33.
Lesson: If a believer's credibility in testimony or character is questioned, it is wise for him not to assume that a simple answer will win any support as his answer would undoubtedly be questioned as is his character. Rather, a believer is best referring his questioners to credible, third-party input where his questioners have the liberty of examining the facts for themselves.

Application: (1) It is always wise to make sure that before we take action in a ministry that we have independent party approval and credentials for doing so lest our credibility come into question. Always seek to have a ministry approved by the Church Board before going ahead with it. (2) If our credibility is ever questioned, it is wise to ask the parties doing the examination to review INDEPENDENT input as THAT provides credibility. (3) It is particularly wise to handle a hostil e questioner not with an argumentative answer, but with input from a third, witnessing party!