During the week before Jesus’ death, His authority was constantly challenged. It wasn’t challenged so much by the Jewish people as it was by the religious leaders: the Pharisees, Herodians, Sadducees and the scribes. We can see this in the following example.
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
In reading the scriptures, we see that the religious leaders challenged Jesus numerous times throughout the week, just looking to trip Him up so that they could find a justification to kill him. What’s so interesting is that Jesus often responded to these challenges in parables, including the parable of the two sons. In that parable, the second son represents those who claimed to be religious but actually reject Jesus, of course a reflection on Jesus’ accusers. Jesus would answer them in such a way that they were rebuked without Him seeming to do it! It made it very difficult for them to respond back to Him.
While reflecting on this part of the Easter story, I thought about how arrogant the religious leaders were to question Jesus. “Surely, after seeing all the miracles Jesus performed that alone should have been enough to convince them,” I thought.
But then an uncomfortable thought crept into my mind. Would I have accepted Jesus’ authority then, and do I accept His authority in my life now?
I can remember as a little child if one of my sisters told me I had to do something I would often retort, “Who says so?” I wanted to know whose authority was backing up what they were saying. Sometimes if I wanted my own way bad enough, I would ignore them even if they said “Mom says so!” or “Dad says so!”
I have to admit that sometimes today I am tempted to ignore Jesus’ authority if I really want to do something. I’ll reason that it’s only a small transgression, or it’s not as important as the other really big rules I would never break.
But the thing is, once you question or ignore Jesus’ authority, it becomes easier to do it again and again.
So, today I’m going to reflect on Jesus’ authority in my life and whether I am yielding to Him or questioning His right to run my life! It seems this week of Easter is bringing up some difficult issues that I need to deal with ….
Tomorrow we’ll look at the annointing at Bethany. Until then, pray on!