What Jesus Did! 'Authority!' — Matthew 21:23-27

Friday, October 6, 2017

Jesus went into the temple area. While Jesus was teaching there, the leading priests and the older leaders of the people came to Jesus. They said to Jesus, "Tell us! What authority (power) do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?" Jesus answered, "I will ask you a question too. If you answer me, then I will tell you what authority I have to do these things. Tell me: When John baptized people, did that come from God or was it only from other people?" The priests and the Jewish leaders talked about Jesus' question. They said to each other, "If we answer, 'John's baptism was from God,' then Jesus will say, 'Then why didn't you believe John?' But we can't say John's baptism was from someone else. We are afraid of the people, because they all believe that John was a prophet." So they answered Jesus, "We don't know {where John's authority came from}." Then Jesus said, "Then I won't tell you what authority I have to do these things!"
— Matthew 21:23-27
Illustration of Matthew 21:23-27 — "Then I won't tell you what authority I have to do these things!"

Key Thought

"By what authority?" Mmmm ... interesting question isn't it. By what authority did Jesus do all that he does in his ministry? This is the quintessential question of the Gospel. This is the ultimate question each of us must ask. Did Jesus do what he did based on the authority of God, as God's Son? Or was Jesus just another crackpot Messiah? The way we answer that must leave us in no lukewarm and safe place. Either we recognize Jesus as Lord with all authority or we do not. Incredibly, the journey through Jesus' crucifixion is supposed to be the asserting of religious and political authority over a rebellious peasant. In fact, even the trial scenes reveal that Jesus is the only one through all of it who has authority. The real question for us is whether we are ready to submit to that authority!

Today's Prayer

Almighty God, I believe Jesus has all authority. I want to live more and more each day under that authority, yielding to your will and doing your work in the world. In Jesus' precious and powerful name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Jesus went into the temple area. He threw out all the people that were selling and buying things there. Jesus turned over the tables that belonged to the men that were exchanging different kinds of money. And Jesus turned over the benches of those men that were selling doves. Jesus said to all the people there, "It is written {in the Scriptures }, 'My house will be called a house for prayer.' But you are changing God's house into a 'hiding place for thieves.' " Some blind people and some crippled people came to Jesus in the temple area. Jesus healed these people. The leading priests and the teachers of the law saw what Jesus did. They saw that Jesus was doing great things and saw the children praising Jesus in the temple area. The children were saying, "Praise to the Son of David. " All these things made the priests and the teachers of the law angry. The leading priests and the teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Do you hear the things these children are saying?" Jesus answered, "Yes. The Scripture says, 'You (God) have taught children and babies to give praise.' Have you not read that Scripture?" Then Jesus left that place and went out of the city to Bethany. Jesus stayed there that night. Early the next morning, Jesus was going back to the city. Jesus was very hungry. Jesus saw a fig tree beside the road. Jesus went to the fig tree {to get a fig to eat}. But there were no figs on the tree. There were only leaves. So Jesus said to the tree, "You will never again have fruit!" And then the tree dried up and died. The followers saw this. They were very surprised. They asked, "How did the fig tree dry up and die so quickly?" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth. If you have faith and no doubts, you will be able to do the same as I did to this tree. And you will be able to do more. You will be able to say to this mountain, 'Go, mountain, fall into the sea.' And if you have faith, it will happen. If you believe, you will get anything you ask for in prayer."

Matthew 21:12-22

When Pilate heard this, he was more afraid. Pilate went back inside the palace. He asked Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus did not answer him. Pilate said, "You refuse to speak to me? Remember, I have the power to make you free. I also have the power to kill you on a cross." Jesus answered, "The only power you have over me is the power given to you by God. So the man who gave me to you is guilty of a greater sin."

John 19:8-11

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.