Briefing: In your job as a LEO, have you ever had someone question your authority? If so, how did it make you feel? In my experience, the person questioning authority is usually trying to shake my confidence.
Dispatch (Assignment): Read Matthew 21:23-27. In your agency (local, state, federal or other) who or what gives you authority in your job?
On the Street: In this study, the authority of Jesus is questioned. Who is the highest authority in your agency? Who is the highest authority in your state? Who is the highest authority in your country?
Jesus comes into the temple courts and begins to teach. He is interrupted by the chief priests and the elders. They probably felt like Jesus was on their turf, therefore He had to give an answer to their question. Their pride flairs up and they ask Jesus, “Who gave you permission to come to our temple and teach?” In their own little way they are calling Him out, disrespecting Him in front of the crowd.
Jesus turns the tables on them. Why would you try to match wits with the creator of the universe? When Jesus responds, I can just imagine their reaction. Have you heard this story? Two people are talking. The first one has a bird in his hands. He puts it behind his back and asks the second one, “is the bird alive or dead?” If the second person says alive, the first person will break the bird’s neck and show him a dead bird. If the second person says dead the first person will show him the bird is still alive. The second person is in a no win situation.
The difference here is that Jesus is TRUTH and is not trying to deceive them. The chief priests’ problem is that they do not recognize Jesus as Messiah, Son of God. They are not interested in the truth, they want to please the crowd and save face.
The obvious answer to their question is that Jesus was teaching by God’s authority. In Matthew 17:5 God tells Peter, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am will pleased. Listen to Him”. If there is any question to Jesus’ authority to teach, God makes it clear, “Listen to Him.”
Highlights from this Read: There is a phrase in verse 23 that says, “the elders of the people”. In a democratic government, the people are represented by appointed or elected individuals. Unfortunately, the people we chose to represent us don’t always do a good job. I would not want these elders representing me.
In verse 25, wouldn’t you like to know what their honest answer to this question? I don’t think they ever stopped to consider what the truth of the question was, only how it would affect them politically.
As to verse 27, at this point Jesus’ answer would not have mattered. They already had made up their mind that He was a threat and had to be dealt with. Also, we know that it was not time to start the ball rolling yet. Jesus had a perfect timeline laid out and He still had a couple of days left to teach.
Investigational Resources: Romans chapter 13 is where the Christian law enforcement officers gets his/her ordained appointment from God. Also see Mark 11:27-33 and Luke 20:1-8.
Officer Safety Principle: Who is the authority in your life? If your first response is not Jesus, then who/what is it? It is time to submit to His power and give your life to Him.
from The Gospel of Matthew Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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