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
"By what authority?"
Mmmm ... interesting question, isn't it? By what authority did Jesus do all that he did in his ministry? This is the quintessential question of the Gospel. This is the ultimate question each of us must ask ourself. Did Jesus do what he did based on the authority of God, as God's Son? Or was Jesus just another crackpot, pretend messiah? The way we answer those questions must not leave us in a lukewarm and indecisive place. Either we recognize Jesus as Lord with all authority, or we do not.
Incredibly, the religious and political elite expected the journey through Jesus' crucifixion to be the asserting of their authority over a rebellious peasant. In fact, even the trial scenes reveal that Jesus is the only one through all of it who has true authority. The real question for us is whether we are ready to submit to that authority!
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.