"By what authority are you doing these things?" Unless you’re the boss, you will face that question if you start firing people or changing long-standing practices at your workplace. Jesus faces that question after He forcefully drives buyers and sellers out of the temple for turning God’s house of prayer into a place of profit. "Who gave you authority to do this?" seems like a legit question from the religious leaders in charge of the temple. But Jesus knew their evil intent to try to trap Him in what He said in order to put Him to death. So He asks them a question: "John’s baptism – was it from heaven, or from men?" John’s ministry was all about pointing to Jesus as the Messiah, the promised Savior. So to say that John’s baptism was from God was to say that Jesus was who John said He was, the Son of God, who indeed has all authority in heaven and on earth. Do you see how Jesus mercifully tries to lead them to repentance? But they valued their own authority more than the plain truth in front of them, so they sheepishly and dishonestly answer, "We don’t know." (Mark 11:27-33)
Facing Jesus’ authority means facing our sins. It does us no good to try to claim ignorance like those religious leaders; the Lord knows the evil intents of our hearts too. He knows when we have questioned and resisted and rebelled against His authority to live life on our own terms. He knows our self-centeredness and defensiveness. But listen to His authority as He cries from the cross, "It is finished," cancelling the entire debt of our sin. Listen to His authority as our risen Lord says, "Peace be with you," dispelling all our fears. For all the suspicions of authority we have in the world today, we do not need to be suspicious of Jesus’ authority. His authority is liberating, forgiving us all of our sins. Come and see that JESUS’ AUTHORITY LEAVES A LASTING IMPRESSION.
Come visit us at CHRIST OUR REDEEMER for more of this message of God's grace!
Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Daniel is the Staff Minister at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, El Paso TX.