A Game of Chess

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The Queen’s Gambit is a 2020 Netflix drama series about a girl who’s a chess genius. She can play against multiple players, anticipate, memorise their moves and win against all of them.

Jesus was also a good chess master. Let’s see what happened…

Mark 11
27 They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. 28 “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”
29 Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30 John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”
31 They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)
33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

The Pharisees and religious leaders questioned Jesus’ authority. “By what authority are you doing these things?” What were these things? (See Mark 11:15-18) Jesus drove away the people buying/selling in the temple and taught how the prophecies of Isaiah 56:7 & Jer. 7:11 were fulfilled in Mark 11:16-17. In those days, the temple courts were like market – people trading things for sacrifice. Here’s a related link on these 2 prophecies about the temple being a house of prayer but turned into a den of robbers: https://www.gotquestions.org/house-prayer-den-thieves.html

These religious leaders feared and hated Jesus. They disliked his preaching. They wanted to find ways to discredit him even kill him (see Mark 11:18). Jesus knew that if he said his authority came from God, they would accuse him of blasphemy. So he planned his chess moves. He turned the tables on them by answering their question with another question (see 11:29-30).

Jesus knew exactly what they were thinking (vv 31-32). And how they would answer (v.33). And so he gave them a dose of their own medicine. They would not answer. Neither would he! Jesus showed us an example how to be wise when people question us about our faith.

Peter taught “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15) Proverbs 15:23 says A person finds joy in giving an apt reply— and how good is a timely word!

Dear Lord, grant me wisdom to live well today – that whatever comes out of my lips will honor you and bless those who hear. Amen.

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