Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” Matthew 21:23
Authority is a big part of our society. We have organizations such as government and public servants that have authority to enforce laws and regulations. Although these authorities are far from perfect, it is still a good thing that we have them in place. Without authority, there would be chaos and confusion continually. Crime would be rampant, and structure would be non-existent.
God is the ultimate authority, and He is the true source of power in this world and this universe. In today’s reading, Jesus was questioned about where He received the authority to do good works and miracles. At first, it may look like Jesus is rebelling against authority, but it just isn’t the case. Jesus submitted Himself to authority, just not the so called “religious” leaders of His day. He was submitted to God first of all and God’s law to the point that He fulfilled it perfectly. He submitted to government as indicated when He paid taxes. He was submitted to His parents. In fact, He didn’t even start doing miracles publicly until His mother asked Him to. He submitted to John the Baptist who was the forerunner to His ministry, and He served His followers and many broken and hurting people. He was the greatest leader, but He wasn’t leading to gain followers, He was leading to be the example of God’s love for all people and to train up more to love others like Him.
We are also to submit to authority today. Of course, our first allegiance is to God, but He has given us many scriptures in the New Testament that teach us to submit to the governing authorities and to pray for our governing leaders. (see Romans 13 & 1 Timothy 2) Ephesians 5:21 tells us to submit to one another in love and serve one another. We do this to honor God and to display our submission to the authority of His Word. Hopefully, we are submitted to a ministry (Church) where we can serve and work together in the body of Christ and come together regularly to worship God and serve one another. The reality is, we were created to take care of each other and when we fulfill this purpose, that is where true joy and fulfillment happen.
Today I want to encourage you to examine your heart. Ask yourself these questions: Are you submitted to authority as God has set it up? First of all, God and His Word? Do you accept the Word of God as the ultimate authority on every subject and are you fully surrendered to the plan and purpose He has called you to in this world? Have you found your place within the body of believers where you can come together and serve others week? Lastly, consider the time you spend praying for those in authority over you. Whether the government, your pastor and even your spouse. Are you praying God’s grace and protection on them daily? Do you take time to lift them up to receive the wisdom of God each day? I guarantee you it will make a difference. Start today to submit to the authorities that God has placed you under and watch how the world begins to change around you as you faithfully pray for them each day.
Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 21:23-26
23 Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”
24 But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things:
25 The baptism of John—where was it from? From heaven or from men?” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’
26 But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.”
27 So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.” And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.