Today’s bible study is from the Gospel of Mark 11:27-33: And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders, And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me. And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed. And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.
It has been said that doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge. Yet it is faith – a strong, abiding faith – that serves as a powerful antidote to both doubt and fear.
During Lent, each of us is called to prayer and repentance as we seek a greater closeness to God, a greater sense of our faith. On this day, in the midst of Holy Week, we begin to feel the cumulative effect of our Lenten devotion. We sense more strongly that our faith is rooted in knowledge, and we gain awareness that our doubts and fears will ultimately be diminished through hope, by faith.
In the Gospel lesson for today, the authority of Jesus is brought into question. As He walks through the temple area, Jesus is questioned by the chief priests, scribes and elders as to the source of His authority. He chooses to answer their question with a question, asking if the baptism of John was from Heaven or from men. The process of reasoning that ensues among the learned men causes them to say, “We don’t know.” And with that response, Jesus declines to state His authority.
The doubt expressed by those in the temple (not to mention the fear of an incorrect response) is, at times, reflected in each of our spiritual journeys. All of us at some point are faced with doubts and fears that become barriers to our growth in God. It is Lent that gives us a period of preparation to overcome those barriers. Lent provides a chance of each of us to reinforce our beliefs and grow in the knowledge and love of God.
It is during this final week of Lent, as we prepare to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus, that we accelerate our spiritual growth. Out anticipation draws us closer to God by faith, and we gain a greater sense of the power of that faith. The Lenten season focuses our spiritual attention, and it is through that focus that we build knowledge and understanding to overcome our doubts and fears.
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