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Dec 21 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Sixty-four – Matthew 21:23-27

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men? Matthew 21:24-25

The chief priests and elders were certain that Jesus would not have an acceptable answer to their question regarding his authority to clear out the money changers and teach in the temple. The only legitimate authority over the temple was in their hands and they had not authorized him. In fact, no one in any official office, legal or religious, in Jerusalem would have endorsed him. They were convinced that, acting on his own, he had no right to treat the temple as if it were his Father’s house.

Jesus was willing to answer their question, but he told them that they had to play fair. (Notice how, in this subtle way, even over them he exercised authority!) If they were going to raise the question of his authority, then they should be able to explain where other recognized spiritual leaders got their authority–John the Baptist, for instance. Only Jesus took the issue to a new level; one which I doubt they had anticipated.

They had been thinking of institutional authority: Which humans held religious control over the temple? Jesus, however, set human authority over against heaven’s authority, backing them into a corner. Taking the coward’s way out, they answered, “We do not know.”

O Jesus, what gives You the right to step into our lives and tell us what to do with our bodies (the temple of the Holy Spirit)? Where do You get authority over our thinking, words, or actions? From our heavenly Father who created us and determined the purpose and meaning of our lives. We surrender to Your authority, for You know what is best and demand only what is necessary. We are the clay, You are the Potter. Reveal in our lives the wonderful work of Your hands.

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