Psalm 29 weaves together powerful and passionate language about God’s character, describing his voice with a variety of strong images. The psalm ends with a declaration of God being exalted over everything and a proclamation that he’ll be King forever!
Upon my first read, there seemed to be a contrast between the fiery language written in this psalm, and our passage in Mark 11. Jesus’ authority is questioned by a group of the religious elite – posh intellectuals trying to get to the bottom of who this Jesus was. He answers their question with a well-crafted question of his own. He allows their discussion to take a turn toward the theological before stumping them altogether – all this unfolding without any further input from Jesus himself.
A few weeks ago, we read Jesus’ words, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt 28, vs.18).
If I look at all these passages put together, I’m left utterly confused. Why did Jesus respond this way? If he has the same authority as the God who’s described in Psalm 29, a God whose voice thunders, shakes, twists, breaks and strikes, then why didn’t Jesus theologically and intellectually school those religious elites? He could have left them completely exposed after revealing their pride, which was the clear subtext underneath their questioning in the first place. Obviously, Jesus is smarter than me, and thankfully less impulsive; His response is characterized with wisdom, humility and grace towards his question-askers.
There are many times in my life when I’d rather respond with an authority-slam than with a grace-filled question. I’m always more willing to shave down someone else’s pride than to allow God the opportunity to humble me when someone is getting on my last nerve. Here’s the kicker: if Jesus, who had all authority at that moment, chose to exercise grace, wisdom and humility, we can too (thanks to the Holy Spirit who abides in us, of course).
Who are your grace-growers – those who require an extra helping of kindness? Are there mental authority-slams that need repentance? Thank Jesus for the opportunity to be humbled and made to look more like him.
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