1. GOD ACKNOWLEDGES HIS SON
a. How did the Father acknowledge His Son at His baptism? Mark 1:11.
“Christ’s prayer on the banks of the Jordan includes everyone who will believe in Him. The promise that you are accepted in the Beloved comes to you. Hold it with the grip of unyielding faith. God said, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ This means that through the dark shadow which Satan has thrown athwart your pathway Christ has cleaved the way for you to the throne of the infinite God. He has laid hold of almighty power, and you are accepted in the Beloved.”—Lift Him Up, p. 109.
“The prayer of Christ in behalf of lost humanity cleaved its way through every shadow that Satan had cast between man and God, and left a clear channel of communication to the very throne of glory. . . .
“The voice of God was heard in answer to the petition of Christ, and this tells the sinner that his prayer will find a lodgment at the throne of the Father. The Holy Spirit will be given to those who seek for its power and grace, and will help our infirmities when we would have audience with God.”—Our High Calling, p. 156.
2. CHRIST REVEALS HIS DIVINITY
a. What happened when Jesus took three of His disciples up onto a high mountain, and what was their reaction? Mark 9:1–6.
“While [Jesus] is bowed in lowliness upon the stony ground, suddenly the heavens open, the golden gates of the city of God are thrown wide, and holy radiance descends upon the mount, enshrouding the Saviour’s form. Divinity from within flashes through humanity, and meets the glory coming from above. Arising from His prostrate position, Christ stands in godlike majesty. The soul agony is gone. His countenance now shines ‘as the sun,’ and His garments are ‘white as the light.’
“The disciples, awaking, behold the flood of glory that illuminates the mount. In fear and amazement they gaze upon the radiant form of their Master. As they become able to endure the wondrous light, they see that Jesus is not alone.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 421.
b. How did God make Himself known at this time? Verse 7.
“As they beheld the cloud of glory, brighter than that which went before the tribes of Israel in the wilderness; as they heard the voice of God speak in awful majesty that caused the mountain to tremble, the disciples fell smitten to the earth.”—Ibid., p. 425.
c. When the disciples were again alone with Jesus, how did He caution them? Why? Verses 8, 9.
“The revelation made to the disciples was to be pondered in their own hearts, not to be published abroad. To relate it to the multitudes would excite only ridicule or idle wonder. And even the nine apostles would not understand the scene until after Christ had risen from the dead. How slow of comprehension even the three favored disciples were, is seen in the fact that notwithstanding all that Christ had said of what was before Him, they queried among themselves what the rising from the dead should mean. Yet they asked no explanation from Jesus.”—Ibid., pp. 426, 427.
3. NO CLAIM TO DIVINE AUTHORITY
a. What question was put to Jesus by the priests and scribes in order to entrap Him? Mark 11:27, 28.
“The rulers had before them the evidences of His Messiahship. They now decided to demand no sign of His authority, but to draw out some admission or declaration by which He might be condemned. . . .
“They expected Him to claim that His authority was from God. Such an assertion they intended to deny.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 593.
b. Tell the response of Jesus and then the answer of the priests and scribes. Verses 29–33 (first part).
“The priests saw that they were in a dilemma from which no sophistry could extricate them. If they said that John’s baptism was from heaven, their inconsistency would be made apparent. Christ would say, Why have ye not then believed on him? John had testified of Christ, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ John 1:29. If the priests believed John’s testimony, how could they deny the Messiahship of Christ? If they declared their real belief, that John’s ministry was of men, they would bring upon themselves a storm of indignation; for the people believed John to be a prophet.
“With intense interest the multitude awaited the decision. They knew that the priests had professed to accept the ministry of John, and they expected them to acknowledge without a question that he was sent from God. But after conferring secretly together, the priests decided not to commit themselves. Hypocritically professing ignorance, they said, ‘We cannot tell.’”—Ibid., pp. 593, 594.
c. Did Jesus tell them by whose authority He worked? Verse 33 (last part). Why or why not?
“Scribes, priests, and rulers were all silenced. Baffled and disappointed, they stood with lowering brows, not daring to press further questions upon Christ. By their cowardice and indecision they had in a great measure forfeited the respect of the people, who now stood by, amused to see these proud, self-righteous men defeated.”—Ibid., p. 594.
4. THE BASIS OF AUTHORITY
a. As the Pharisees were displeased with Jesus, what did they command certain officers to do, and what was the result? John 7:44.
b. Why did the officers not follow their orders? Verses 45, 46.
“The officers who were sent to take Jesus reported that never man spake like this man. But the reason of this was that never man lived like this man; for if he had not so lived, he could not so have spoken. His words bore with them a convincing power, because they came from a heart pure and holy, full of love and sympathy, beneficence and truth. There is eloquence beyond that of words, in the quiet, consistent life of a pure, true Christian.”—Gospel Workers (1892), p. 244.
c. How did Jesus’ teaching compare with that of other teachers of His time? Mark 1:22. Why? Matthew 23:1–3.
“What He taught, He lived. ‘I have given you an example,’ He said to His disciples; ‘that ye should do as I have done.’ ‘I have kept My Father’s commandments.’ John 13:15; 15:10. This in His life, Christ’s words had perfect illustration and support. And more than this; what He taught, He was. His words were the expression, not only of His own life experience, but of His own character. Not only did He teach the truth, but He was the truth. It was this that gave His teaching, power.”—Education, pp. 78, 79.
“[Christ] did not deal in abstract theories, but in that which is essential to the development of character; that which will enlarge man’s capacity for knowing God, and increase his power to do good. He spoke of those truths that relate to the conduct of life and that unite man with eternity.
“Instead of directing the people to study men’s theories about God, His Word, or His works, He taught them to behold Him, as manifested in His works, in His Word, and by His providences. He brought their minds in contact with the mind of the Infinite. . . . Never before spoke one who had such power to awaken thought, to kindle aspiration, to arouse every capability of body, mind, and soul.”—Lift Him Up, p. 177.
5. JESUS, THE CORNERSTONE
a. What words of David were quoted by Christ? How does Jesus show His authority as the Cornerstone? Psalm 118:22, 23; Mark 12:10, 11.
“Christ was the cornerstone of the Jewish economy, and of the whole plan of salvation. This foundation stone the Jewish builders, the priests and rulers of Israel, were now rejecting. The Saviour called their attention to the prophecies that would show them their danger. By every means in His power He sought to make plain to them the nature of the deed they were about to do.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 597.
b. How is Jesus confirmed as the Cornerstone? Isaiah 28:16; Deuteronomy 32:4; 1 Samuel 2:2.
“In infinite wisdom, God chose the foundation stone, and laid it Himself. He called it ‘a sure foundation.’ The entire world may lay upon it their burdens and griefs; it can endure them all. With perfect safety they may build upon it. Christ is a ‘tried stone.’ Those who trust in Him, He never disappoints. He has borne every test. He has endured the pressure of Adam’s guilt, and the guilt of his posterity, and has come off more than conqueror of the powers of evil. He has borne the burdens cast upon Him by every repenting sinner. In Christ the guilty heart has found relief. He is the sure foundation. All who make Him their dependence rest in perfect security.”—Ibid., pp. 598, 599.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What does God’s answer to Christ’s prayer at the Jordan mean to you?
2. What did the three disciples see and hear on the mountain with Christ?
3. How did Jesus respond when questioned regarding His authority to teach? Why?
4. What gave Jesus such authority when He spoke? What about us?
5. What further warning did Jesus give when He spoke of the Cornerstone? Why did He do this?