Tuesday, March 8, 2022
23 Then he was back in the Temple, teaching. The high priests and leaders of the people came up and demanded, “Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to teach here?”
24-25 Jesus responded, “First let me ask you a question. You answer my question and I’ll answer yours. About the baptism of John—who authorized it: heaven or humans?”
25-27 They were on the spot and knew it. They pulled back into a huddle and whispered, “If we say ‘heaven,’ he’ll ask us why we didn’t believe him; if we say ‘humans,’ we’re up against it with the people because they all hold John up as a prophet.” They decided to concede that round to Jesus. “We don’t know,” they answered.
Jesus said, “Then neither will I answer your question.
-Matthew 21:23-27 The Message
Verse 23: When He entered the temple area, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?”
Verse 24: But Jesus responded and said to them, “I will also ask you one question, which, if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things.
Verse 25: The baptism of John was from what source: from heaven or from men?” And they began considering the implications among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’
Verses 23-25 studies: In our world today, as in Jesus’ world, people looked for the outward sign of authority; education, title position, and connections. But Jesus’ authority came from who he was, not from any outward and superficial trappings. As followers of Christ, God gave us authority to speak out and act on his behalf because he authorized us. Are you exercising your authority?
Verse 26: But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the people; for they all regard John as a prophet.”
Verse 27: And answering Jesus, they said, “We do not know.” He also said to them, “Neither am I telling you by what authority I do these things.
Verses 23-27 studies: The Pharisees demanded to know where Jesus got his authority. If Jesus said that his authority came from God, they would accuse him of blasphemy. If he said that he was acting on his own authority, the crowds would be convinced that the Pharisees had greater authority. But Jesus did answer their question with an unrelated question that showed their real motive. They didn’t want an answer to their question, they wanted to trap him. Jesus showed that the Pharisees wanted the truth only if it supported their own views and causes.