Scripture Reading — Matthew 21:6-17, 23-27
“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
—Matthew 21:23 —
Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem stirred the whole city and roused the people to parade and celebrate, even if they didn’t understand the full purpose of his mission. Then he surprised more than a few when he overturned tables and drove traders and money changers out of the temple for setting up shop where people were supposed to have a place for prayer. With the chief priests and the elders, we might also have asked by what authority Jesus was doing these things.
Realizing they were not dealing with just another radical rabbi, Jesus’ questioners sensed something bigger happening. They had done the same when John the Baptist gained a following (see John 1:19-27). Responding with a question, Jesus forced them to acknowledge the authority of John’s baptism. After a telling discussion, the leaders showed their own fear of the people and answered, “We don’t know.” What an admission! Who had the upper hand now? Then Jesus showed his authority by simply stating, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.” And yet it was clear the authority was from God.
As we celebrate Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter in the weeks ahead, it’s vital to remember that Jesus proved his authority as the Son of God, sent from heaven. He’s the one we need to believe and follow!
Lord Jesus, inspire us to honor your authority always. Give us the courage to proclaim your authority and your victory over sin and death—to God’s glory. Amen.