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By what authority

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | July 17, 2023 | Matthew 21:23


Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” Matthew 21:23 (NIV)


In His previous visit a day before, Jesus drove out the moneychangers and merchants from the temple courts. Now He returned there to teach, unafraid of the religious leaders. When we think of the extraordinary things Jesus had been doing, we cannot be surprised that the Jewish authorities asked him what right he had to do them.

The religious leaders raised the question of Jesus’ authority, and He answered by raising the question of their competence to judge such an issue. The religious leaders of Jesus' time were concerned with maintaining their authority and saw Jesus as a threat to their power and influence. In contrast, Jesus' authority was rooted in his divine nature as the Son of God. From a biblical perspective, the religious leaders failed to recognize that Jesus' authority was derived from his divine nature as the Son of God. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus demonstrates his authority through miracles, his teachings, and his fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies. The religious leaders' failure to acknowledge Jesus' authority reveals their spiritual blindness and resistance to God's revelation in Christ. The religious leaders' refusal to acknowledge Jesus' authority foreshadows their later actions of plotting against him and ultimately crucifying him. This passage serves as a warning against rejecting or resisting the authority of Christ. It reminds us of the grave consequences of opposing God's authority and the importance of responding to Jesus in faith and obedience. In light of this passage, we are called to examine our hearts and motives. We must seek to know and submit to Jesus' authority in our lives, and not be more concerned with maintaining our positions and power. We must be open to the transformative power of Jesus' teachings and willing to align our lives with his divine authority.


This interaction challenges us to reflect on our response to Jesus' authority. Do we question and doubt his authority, as the religious leaders did, or do we humbly submit to it? It prompts us to examine our hearts and motives, ensuring that we approach Jesus with openness and genuine faith. Jesus' authority calls for a response of surrender and obedience, acknowledging His lordship in our lives. Are we willing to surrender our desires for power and control and humbly accept the teachings of Jesus, even when they challenge our preconceived notions or go against societal expectations?


Gracious Lord, I come before You, seeking the grace to acknowledge Jesus' authority. May my heart open wide to His divine sovereignty, and may His teachings guide my every step. Grant me the wisdom to recognize His truth, and the strength to surrender to His loving rule. Help me embrace His authority with humility, that His power may transform my life wholly. With gratitude, I submit to His authority trusting in His guidance and redeeming grace. In Jesus' name, I pray, Amen.



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