Daily Reflection – 12/16/19
When Jesus had come into the temple area, the chief priests and the elders of the people approached him as he was teaching and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them in reply, “I shall ask you one question, and if you answer it for me, then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things. Where was John’s baptism from? Was it of heavenly or of human origin?” They discussed this among themselves and said, “If we say ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we fear the crowd, for they all regard John as a prophet.” So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.” He himself said to them, “Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”(Matthew 21:23-27)
And in that moment, the religious leaders were unmasked for who they truly were. They claimed authority and power and privilege over the people. But their chief concern was to protect their standing in society and to protect their reputations. They didn’t give an answer because they didn’t want to lose what they had.
And, of course, in that encounter, we have a lesson for all politicians and religious leaders and all those who hold positions of authority in society today. The claims of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are intense. And all in political and spiritual leadership are called to moments of decision that will have profound impact for our future. Are we prepared to stand up for what is true and right in the eyes of God and to live out our ministries by the teachings of Jesus Christ? Or will we seek to deny the truth because we do not like the truth, or because we want to protect position and status in the eyes of society, or because dealing with the truth makes us stand out ?
The authority of Jesus was of a completely different order altogether. The authority of Jesus was worked out in his welcoming of sinners and prostitutes. The authority of Jesus was worked out in his welcoming of little children. The authority of Jesus was worked out in his welcoming of the outcasts and those on the margins. The authority of Jesus was worked out in his forgiving rather than judging. Jesus never needed to labels because there was only one label – a son or daughter of God.
Ultimately, the authority of Jesus was worked out in a life of service, not ruling; a life hallmarked by betrayal and personal sacrifice, rejection, torture and a criminal’s death on the cross. That is where the authority of Jesus lay: not in some sort of power game that brought with it prestige and wealth and the respect of the people.
That is where the test of your faith lies. Will you stand up for the truth? Will you stand up for the teachings of Christ? Will you live those teachings? The banner of Christ needs to be carried forward. The light of Christ needs to be shone in every dark crevasse. Never before have we ever been called to stand up, to be counted and to don the armor of those who proclaim Him as the Lord of their life. What is your answer today?
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Let your light shine in my heart and mind that I may know your truth and will for my life and find freedom and joy in living according to it.
We must never forget that God the author of our lives. Every day God authorizes us to enter into his vineyard, to act in this world with his authority and on his behalf through the gifts he has bestowed upon each one of us.