When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?” “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?” They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask us why we didn’t believe John. But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed because the people believe 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.” – Matthew 21:23-27 (NLT)
Since the beginning of time, humans have always been lured into taking authority for themselves. Adam and Eve took authority into their hands by grabbing the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and choosing right and wrong for themselves. In these verses, the religious leaders are asking Jesus about where he gets his authority from. He answers, as he often does, with his own question to them that will show the Jewish leaders where their loyalty lies – which we find out is not with God. Their loyalties lie in their own comfort and power. They don’t want to agitate the crowd by saying John’s baptism was not from God, but they also do not want to say John had authority from heaven because that would give away their authority if God was working through someone else. We have the power to give authority to whoever we choose. If we give authority to Jesus, we give him control and allow him to transform us into new creations. If we don’t give authority to Jesus, we will give power to someone or something else.
What are some reasons why Jesus should be given authority in your life (Is he trustworthy? Does he offer benefits?)? What decisions today do you need to give Jesus authority over?