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 NLT
Illustration of Matthew 21:23-27 NLT — "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.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Matt. 28:18-20
  • Matt. 11:7-11
  • John 19:8-11


About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.