It's the Tuesday before Passover, c.33 AD.
Jerusalem's population has multiplied as Passover pilgrims flock to the spiritual center of the nation.
A sizable portion of the crowd has come to the temple early in the morning in hopes of hearing Jesus teach or at least to see what he might do today.
On Sunday, his entrance into the city turned into a praise-filled parade that got the religious leaders all on edge. Then on Monday, Jesus ran all the shady businesses out of the temple courtyard...which also ruffled the feathers of the Sanhedrin.
What's going to happen today?
Almost as soon as Jesus arrives, a committee of chief priests, scribes, and elders confronts him and basically asks "Who in the world do you think you are? Who gives you the authority to do stuff like this?"
Jesus' response immediately puts the religious leaders over a barrel:
“I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!”
They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. But do we dare say it was merely human?” For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet. So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”
And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.” (Mark 11:29-33 NLT)
Truth is...people have been trying to back Jesus into a corner for thousands of years with exactly the same amount of success.