Mark 11:27-33

Talks for Growing Christians

Our Lord Foils an Attempt by Jewish Leaders to Trap Him

Mark 11:27-33

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Lesson Number 48

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Giving creative answers to the opposition is biblical.
  2. Point out the inconsistencies of the opposition is biblical.

Practical Application

  1. Let's be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.


  1. What are the "these things" of Mark 11:28?
  2. What was the Sanhedrin? Who were the members of the Sanhedrin?
  3. How did the Jewish leaders try to trap Jesus with His own words? Did they succeed? How did Jesus answer them?
  4. Did Jesus answer the question about John's authority?
  5. What does it mean to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves?
  6. Cite a creative answer that Jesus gave to the opposition.


  1. They were what Jesus did to cleanse the temple from the money changers. He overturned the tables and threw them out of the temple.
  2. It was the high court of the Jews. The chief priests, the scribes and the elders.
  3. They asked Him by what authority He did these things. If He had said, "Of men," they could discredit Him; if He had said, "Of God," they could accuse Him of blasphemy. They didn't succeed. Jesus answered by asking them a question about the baptism or ministry of John. "Was it of heaven or of men:" If they answered, "From heaven," then why didn't they believe that He (Jesus) was the Messiah, as John had announced? On the other hand, if they answered, "Of men," they would lose credibility with the people, for the people believed John's ministry was of God.
  4. Yes. The Lord approved of John the Baptist's ministry, and that he was from God. By this, He indicated that His own authority was from God. See Luke 7:28.
  5. See Matthew 10:16. When Jesus sent out His disciples, He warned them to be wise as serpents (beware of traps by the opposition), but harmless as doves (give them no occasion to find fault).
  6. When the Pharisees asked Jesus if it was lawful to give money to Caesar, He told them to show Him a penny. He asked whose image was on the coin. It was Caesar's. Refer to Matthew 22:15-22 to refresh your memory of this incident.


  1. Have you ever been trapped by the opposition with your own words? If so, how might you have answered?
  2. How would you answer someone who asked you if abortion was merciful in some cases?


  1. Think of times when you, as a Christian, should have been as wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove.

Key Verses

  • "They asked Jesus, 'By what authority are You doing these things?' He answered them, 'I also will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things." (Mark 11:28-29)

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