This past Sunday I was in Bangor for the second time in a month, this time at Hamilton Road Baptist Church. In their Sunday mornings they are working their way through Mark’s gospel and I was asked to preach on the authority of Jesus from the episode at the end of chapter 11 (where Jesus is challenged by members of the Jewish court) and the parable at the start of chapter 12 (the parable of the vineyard owner and his tenants.
I suggested that we learn about three aspects of the authority of Jesus from this.
- It was divinely sanctioned: in other words, God sent him.
- It was surprisingly vulnerable: in the parable, the son was killed and in the same way Jesus would soon be put to death.
- It was ultimately vindicated: Psalm 118’s reference to the stone rejected by the builders, referred to by Jesus, was also used by Peter in Acts 4. God reversed the verdict.
In the evening I spoke at the Crescent Church in the middle of Belfast. The Crescent is a landmark building on the edge of the university area. Their evening services have been looking at the miracles of Jesus as told in John’s gospel. I was looking at the story of the raising of Lazarus where Jesus declared himself to be the resurrection and the life.
It was good to see two baptisms in that service, one of the people baptised, a graduate student who had come all the way from Taiwan.