READ: Mark 11:27--12:17
THINK: It's long been popular, even expected, among younger people--particularly during the teen years--to test boundaries and to question authority. Wise youth recognize when this is appropriate and when it's not. And wise leaders do not fall into the trap of unproductive argument and combative conversation in an effort to assert their authority. Instead, they gauge their responses, ask informed questions and lead by example. They don't demand respect because of their position; they inspire respect by persuasive passion. No one better demonstrated this than Jesus. Many religious leaders of Jesus' time questioned His authority and opposed His teaching because it exposed their hypocrisy. But Jesus saw through their veiled attempts to trap Him with words. He responded with thought-provoking insight that silenced His critics, amazed the crowds and inspired confidence in those who followed Him.
RESPOND: Why did the religious leaders seem so concerned about the source of Jesus' authority? What was their motive for questioning Jesus? Why do you think Jesus put a question back to them rather than answering their question? How does Jesus fit the description of the capstone? (See 12:10 note.) In what way were the Pharisees and Herodians being insincere with Jesus? What was amazing about the way Jesus answered them?
PRAY: Pray for an attitude of sincerity in all you do. Ask God to expose any hypocrisy in your life and to help you get rid of it. Give Jesus praise for being the capstone and solid foundation of His church.
ACT: Think about your greatest interests, your biggest endeavors and your loftiest goals--the things that get a good share of your time and attention. Is your relationship with Jesus the foundation of these activities, aims and efforts? Make sure that your priorities are based on God's purposes for you and that you seek to honor Christ above everything else in all aspects of your life.
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