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? 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: 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?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.” 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. (Matthew 21:23-27)
The Need For Authority
Religion is a very confusing thing these days. Have you noticed how many different flavors of ‘this’ religion and ‘that’ religion there are? Church buildings dot the landscape with different names, practices, faiths, teachings, programs, etc. We are a diverse group of people that enjoy freedom on a level unprecedented and sadly to our destruction when it comes to belief systems. What is the cause for religious division? Failure to appreciate AUTHORITY. I know. How exciting can that subject be? But it is fundamental to our basic system of faith.
The chief priests and the elders had the wrong motive in coming after Jesus but they had the right information. All that Jesus taught had to be established by authority and someone must give Him that authority. Think of it this way: if a policeman stops you for driving too fast what authority does he have and who gave him that authority to hinder you and even issue a ticket? He has the authority because he is a sworn officer of the law and the district he serves gave him that authority. Without the proper authority or being authorized to exercise that authority it would be illegal. All that Jesus did came from the authority of His Father who gave Him the authority to teach and show power through miracles by the Holy Spirit.
Let’s bring that to the religious world today. If the Bible is our authority then why are there so many different faiths? God’s word has not changed. The reason for such diversity is because few religions base what they do on authority of scripture and follow the will of God. It remains a simple question: can I find what I believe and practice in the word of God? This would eliminate 90% of most religion today because so little of it has the authority of scripture.
We study DOCTRINE on Tuesday. It is important to remind ourselves that we must build our faith on the word of God because faith comes from hearing the word of God. Nothing else can be the reason we believe something. Our challenge this week is to reaffirm our belief and practice – not because of our good looking preacher or this is the way we have done it for the past fifty years or my parents believed this or so forth. I believe what I believe because the Bible says so – authority. What I believe comes from God and Him alone. Find it in THE BOOK!
All teaching and all truth and all doctrine must be tested in the light of the Scriptures. (D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Authority, 1958)