By What Authority

Mark 11
Jesus came into Jerusalem in the manner of a triumphant king, riding on the back of a donkeys colt with the people shouting: 
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David;
Hosanna in the highest!”
After looking around, Jesus departed with the twelve disciples for Bethany because it was already late. The next morning, as they departed Bethany for Jerusalem, Jesus was hungry and he cursed a fig tree that had no fruit. When he entered the city, Jesus drove the merchants out of the temple to the consternation of the chief priest and scribes; however, the crowd was astonished at his teaching. Every evening, Jesus and the twelve departed Jerusalem and every morning they returned. Peter noted that the fig tree that Jesus cursed had withered, so Jesus took opportunity to teach his disciples about having faith in prayer and forgiving others. The chief priests, scribes and elders challenged the authority by which Jesus taught but he refused to answer unless they answered, “Was the baptism of John from heaven, or from men?”

Jesus entry into Jerusalem riding on the back of a donkeys colt answered Jesus’ belief about himself. 
Zechariah 9:9 says:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9 is a messianic prophecy; therefore, since Jesus came riding into Jerusalem in this way, it is evident whom Jesus believed himself to be. He believed himself to be the long awaited Messiah, who is called Christ. Jesus believed that he had the authority to clear the temple of merchandizers and the authority to teach. This greatly disturbed the chief priests, scribes and synagogue elders. When someone has a certain amount of authority, they do not want anything offsetting the balance, less they lose their position of authority. Jesus upset the balance of things. When he cursed the fig tree, it was not the fig tree that Jesus was cursing but the teaching that had taken over Judaism, it had no fruit. Jesus always the teacher, used the withering of the fig tree as an opportunity to teach his disciples about believing in prayer and not praying to God with an unforgiving heart.