Midweek Minute in Mark: Mar 10
Andy Hayball

Today’s reading from the Gospel of Mark is all about the authority of Jesus. Specifically, the religious elites of the day question whether Jesus is justified in his ministry and actions. 

In our world today, we perhaps hear the word “authority” and cringe or bristle a little. We, after all, live in a nation that generally seeks to eschew being under formal authority. We prize individualism, freedom, and being true-to-self. Similarly, we (often rightly) reject anything in our lives that leans toward authoritarianism. 

None of this, though, stops us from having numerous “authority figures” in our lives. Some of them are easy to spot: parents, teachers, bosses, or workplace org charts. Others are perhaps less expected: media outlets, sports teams, advertising, political leaders, or online “tribes”, all of whom exert an influential authority on us – usually without us even realizing.

As followers of Jesus, we feel the strain of these multiple-authorities when their narratives, ethics, and practices contradict one another, and most especially when one or more of them makes demands that lead us away from the love and purposes of God. Whether it is a boss instructing you to give preferential treatment in job hiring, or a consumeristic vision of the good life from a social media “influencer”, or a parent who prioritizes status and upward mobility above all else. 

When we give this authority to multiple voices in our life it can often feel like every moment is a crisis. It is as though every choice we make is destined to upset one or other of them, and as a result, we live in perpetual anxiety. This is the natural and logical outworking of such a reality. The good news of the gospel is that there is another way! 

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33

When we put Jesus in his rightful place as the first and highest authority in our lives we actually find freedom. In stark contrast to fears of authoritarianism, Jesus’ love towards us is unending and His vision for us is one of thriving and flourishing, even as we journey through difficult circumstances. 

This can all sometimes feel counterintuitive,  as though the Jesus-choice in any given moment could be costly (and in human terms, it might). In my life, however, I can honestly say that I am yet to regret a single instance of choosing the authority of Jesus. His way is always good. 

Whatever this day holds for you, my prayer is that you would find true freedom as you trust in the authority and faithfulness of Jesus. 

Grace & peace,