This is Holy Week or Passion Week as it is sometimes known.
It starts on Palm Sunday as we see Jesus entering Jerusalem on the back of a donkey’s colt.
It continues as we see Jesus’ interactions in Jerusalem during the Feast of the Passover, particularly his dialogues with the Pharisees in the Temple
And it culminates with His last supper with His disciples, His betrayal, trial, death,
And it ends with the most triumphal of days, His resurrection.
So my goal this week is to post a short video each day this week with a meditation focusing on Jesus’ last week before He paid that final awful price to reconcile mankind with their God
Today we are looking at through 20:8
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
45 And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”
47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, 48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
20 One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up 2 and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.” 3 He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, 4 was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?” 5 And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 7 So they answered that they did not know where it came from. 8 And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
“Who gave you the authority to do these things?”
The Authority of Jesus
One of the biggest things that distinguished Jesus from other rabbis of the day, apart from His miracle-working power, was His authority.
Displayed in His words
Displayed in His actions
For the general population, it brought about a great sense of astonishment.
Mark sets that stage for us early in his gospel in chapter one where he ways that Jesus taught in the synagogue and the people were astonished because He taught as one having authority and not as the scribes.
But for the regligious leaders, this authority did more than make them astonished. It made them mad.
they didn’t understand where Jesus got His authority to do what He did or say what He said.
They were all about having the right authority structure and they considered themselves to be the foremost authorities on....pretty much everything. But especially things that had to do with religion.
And they had a major problem with Jesus because they recognized that He was operating in a realm outside their control and jurisdiction. They recognized that he spoke as one having authority.
And it made them mad because they had no control over him and they couldn’t understand where He got that kind of authority.
And they constantly questioned Him about this. They were always there challenging His actions and His teachings. And after over 3 years of ministry, they still didn’t understand.
And I would say that 2000 years later people still don’t understand Jesus’ authority.
Now, they may not asking “Jesus, where do you get your authority”, or “who gave you your authority?”
We don’t really talk like that.
But maybe they are asking this: “Jesus, what right do you have..”
“Jesus, do you really have the right to tell me that if I want to be your disciple, I need to throw it ALL on the line?”
“Jesus, do you really have the right to tell me to go into all the world and make disciples?”
I think it’s the same question that the Pharisees asked Him.
And sooner or later, I think Jesus is going to respond to us just like He responded to the Pharisees.
Essentially what I think He was saying was, “Look, fellows, I have spent the last 3 years teaching about about who I am and where I come from. If you haven’t learned by now where My authority comes from, then the problem is your hard and stubborn hearts, not my communication.”
So on this Monday of Holy Week, let’s think about this question:
Do you know where Jesus gets His authority? And if you know, do you accept that His authority is absolute? Do you accept that His words to us in Scripture and the leading of His Holy Spirit demand our allegiance and submission?
Or do we, like the Pharisees continue to ask, “Jesus, what right do you have to do these things?”