The struggle for Authority & Power
Take a look at:
Jesus’ authority is questions as He teaches in the Temple (Matthew 21:23-22:14; Mark 11:27-12:12; Luke 20:1-19)
Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple and His return (Matthew 24:1-25:46; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-36)
The religious leaders feared Jesus. His arrival and growing popularity was a threat to their stranglehold on religious authority (power & money!). Having seen first hand the atrocities in Temple, Jesus cleared out the robbers from the den on Monday.
On Tuesday He returned to the Temple to teach and preach the good news (Luke 20). Three different groups questioned Jesus’ authority: scribes & priests, the Pharisees & the Sadducees.
- The Scribes, Chief Priests & Elders approached him and asked “Tell us with what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.”
- The Pharisees sent spies to sincerely ask, “Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar or not?” They attempted to trap Jesus. If he said “yes”, He was supporting a false deity claim by Caesar, if he said “no” pitted Himself against Roman law.
- The Sadducees invented a ridiculous scenario where a woman was married and then widowed to 7 different brothers–none leaving offspring. They asked, in the resurrection, to whom would she be married to? SADDUCEES DIDN’T EVEN BELIEVE IN RESURRECTION!?!?!
These were futile attempts to trap or discredit the ministry of Jesus. All because His authority threatened their established religious advantage. They were face to face with God and did not recognize Him. The keepers of the law were standing with the GIVER of the Law and could not trust Him. They chose their own desires, gain, and personal comfort over God.
And yet… I am like them.
Have I rejected His authority? I know the Scriptures (like a scribe), I teach the law (like a Pharisee) and am just as able to deny the authority of God as they are. When have I not listened or applied His Word because it meant letting go of power or comfort? Have I denied His authority as Lord by not submitted everything over to Him?
Do I always recognize Him? Am I that different than those who stood face to face and did not recognize God? Do I get so busy with selfish desires and personal agendas that I miss what God is doing right in front of me?
“Lord, please be just that. Lord of my life. I confess there are pieces of my life I still try to control have not handed over to you. You are the Sovereign. You have ALL authority in heaven and on earth. Please give me the grace to trust You, the wisdom to see You and the humility to be used by You. God, please help me to recognize You. Amen.”