It's Tuesday of Holy Week. Good Friday is just a few days away. Our hearts and minds are turning toward Easter weekend as they should be. But if we were to go back in time, 2,000 years or so, and could spend the Tuesday of Passion Week with Jesus, we'd watch an important interaction that still speaks to us today.
Jesus and His disciples were in the Temple like they were every day of the Holy Week. Suddenly, He was confronted by a group of religious big shots who, as they had through the entirety of His three-year ministry, were threatened by Jesus' teaching and authority. They interrupted His teaching and asked Him, "Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority."
Jesus met their question with His own question: "Was John's baptism from heaven or from man?" Jesus knew what He was doing. He knew that if they answered, "from heaven," Jesus could ask why they didn't believe what John said about Him. If they said, "from man," the people would get angry with them because the people knew John was sent from God. So, the religious leaders acted like cowards and didn't answer. Jesus looked at them and said, "Then, neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."
The religious leaders in the Temple joined the long line of religious elite who were constantly confronting Jesus about who He claimed to be. They wanted to know how Jesus was able to do the things He did and where He got His teaching. They could not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. Why? Because many of them were more concerned about the little "kingdom" they had built where they were at the top and didn't have to answer to anyone. In Jesus, they sensed real power, which scared them to death.
Why did the issue of authority matter to the Jewish leaders? Why does it matter to us today? It matters more than we may realize. If Jesus wasn't who He says He was, then His death on the cross accomplished nothing. We would all still be separated from God by the debt our sin earns for us. We would be lost in our sin, unable to do anything to build a relational bridge back to the Father.
But Jesus IS who He said He was. He IS the Son of God, and this week we will remember His death on the cross and celebrate His resurrection. As we do, let's not forget an important point: Jesus is God. He functioned on this earth with the authority of God, and He does the same in our lives.
Never forget that our lives should be lived in surrender to the authority of Jesus. We serve at His pleasure. We are who we are only because He did what He did. Let us each recognize Jesus as Lord of Lords and King of Kings and do whatever it takes to submit to Him today.
Everything about the hope for the world found in the Gospel relies on Jesus' authority. It mattered then, and it matters now.
Andy Blanks is the Co-Founder and Publisher for Iron Hill Press. He is an author, speaker, and podcast host. He lives in Birmingham, AL with his wife, Brendt, and their four children.