12/26 Matthew 21:23

23 And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?"

Jesus often shared a deeper meaning of the Scriptures. He never quoted other rabbis or the oral traditions as a source for His teaching. Other rabbi always taught by referencing what other more prestigious rabbis had said with the exception of those who had memorized the entire Old Testament and been ordained by two other rabbi who had done the same. These special rabbis taught with their own authority. That is what people said about Jesus: "A new teaching with authority" (Mark 1:22, 27)!

Essentially the chief priests and elders were asking of Jesus, By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority? In John 5:31-37 Jesus told them He indeed had two witnesses, John the Baptist and the heavenly Father. He also said the miracles He performed bore witness of His authority (John 10:25). He did not have to justify Himself to men, but He tried to help them see the evidence of His authority.

In this passage Jesus asked those who questioned Him where John's authority came from. They couldn't answer because they had rejected John although the people accepted him as a prophet. These religious leaders couldn't accept the call to repent from John or from Jesus. Pride in our religious knowledge can keep us from the truth.

Our authority is found in the authority of Jesus. As we quote His words and act at the leading of His Spirit, we fall under the authority that sent the disciples into the world (Matthew 28:18-20).

Consider: We must always check our own souls to see if we are acting and speaking under the authority of Jesus or out of religious dogma. Are we arguing a point to prove our self-righteousness, or are we lovingly sharing the clear truth of Scripture at the leading of the Spirit? Are the fruits of the Spirit evident in our conversation (Galatians 5:22-23)?