The Authority of Jesus Challenged
Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:23-27
· What was Jesus doing in the temple?
· Who questioned His authority to teach in the temple?
· How did Jesus respond when they questioned His authority?
· Why does it say they did not answer His question?
· Why do you think they questioned Jesus?
I love the way Jesus responded to the chief priests and elders when they questioned His authority! He would not be drawn into their trap and refused to play their game.
Instead of answering their questions, questions meant to entrap Him and give them a reason to prosecute Him, He responded with a question that revealed their true motive—pride.
Here we see that the chief priests and elders wanted to know by whose authority Jesus was teaching. It certainly wasn’t granted to Him by them. As if they were so powerful they had the right to bestow authority. Jesus' authority to teach was a threat to their power. If He was being granted authority from God, then they had no power to stop Him. And where did that leave them? Their pride was activated and they were working overtime here in an attempt to trap Jesus.
When Jesus asked them who gave John authority to baptize, they realized they were in trouble. If they said God granted John’s authority, they would have been forced to admit Jesus’ authority also came from God. Especially after adding up the miracles Jesus did! But their pride prevented them from accepting He was the Messiah because where would that leave them in the hierarchy of religion? Definitely not on top.
They also knew they couldn’t say John baptized simply based on authority granted by men. Saying that would upset the masses, and then they would be in a pickle. Because, ultimately, their ability to lead and guide people hinged on the people willingly following them. And they did not want to lose their power. Pride in their status and power made them cling to their position instead of giving a response.
Isn’t pride the motivation for most of our sins? If we look at the root of our sin, we can almost always find pride. Because pride makes us think about one person: ourself.
I pray that pride doesn’t cause any of us to miss seeing who Jesus truly is!