Let's turn to the Word of God together, Mark chapter 11...Mark chapter 11. As you can see, this is the end of the eleventh chapter but it is the beginning of a confrontation between Jesus and the religious leaders of Israel, a confrontation that starts here on Wednesday and ends on Friday with His crucifixion.
The confrontation really was inaugurated by something our Lord did. If you go back one day to Tuesday and earlier in chapter 11 and look at verse 15, we'll have the setting for this confrontation. They came to Jerusalem on that Tuesday morning from Bethany where Jesus and the Apostles had been staying at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus who had been friends and our Lord had even raised Lazarus from the dead. They came to Jerusalem as He entered the temple on that Tuesday of Passion Week, began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those that were selling doves and He wouldn't permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. "And He began to teach and to say to them, 'Is it not written, My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations, but you have made it a robbers den.' The chief priests and scribes heard this and began seeking how to destroy Him for they were afraid of Him for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching."
That act on Tuesday precipitated a confrontation the next day on Wednesday. As we pick up the reading in verse 27, it's Wednesday morning, and we read this. "They came again to Jerusalem. As He was walking in the temple, the Chief Priest and scribes and the elders came to Him and began saying to Him, 'By what authority are You doing these things? Or who gave You this authority to do these things?' And Jesus said to them, 'I will ask You one question and You answer Me and then I will tell You by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven for from men? Answer Me.' They began reasoning among themselves saying, 'If we say from heaven, He will say then why did you not believe him? But shall we say from men?' They were afraid of the people, for everyone considered John to have been a real prophet. Answering Jesus they said, 'We do not know.' And Jesus said to them, 'Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things.'"...