Who Gives Authority

Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question.  Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things.’  Mark 11:29 (NIV)

Jesus shows up on a scene where religion is clearly defined.  People know when to go to worship and where.  The authorities on the subject are well versed. There is no shortage of educated men to teach and to direct.  Yet Jesus comes and reaches past all the rituals.  He steps beyond the church walls.  He touches people where they are.  He cares about what is ailing them.  He teaches them to approach God with their hearts.  People respond to Him because it is their hearts that burn within them and reach out for God.

But not everyone is willing to embrace Jesus.  There are those who prefer to have their organization.  They like to have everything spelled out for them.   They like religion to be set in patterns where well learned men have set their seal of approval.  This kind of people approach Jesus and demand to hear who told Jesus He could act and talk like He does.  They want to know who gave Him authority to interrupt the familiar pattern.

We may be happy to judge those poor blinded souls.  We read of the elders and leaders of the church back then and easily see their short-sightedness.    How could they not see that the hand of God was at work?  Who could be so blind to miss the fact that only the Father gives this kind of authority? Without God who can perform such miracles?  Who can heal and teach in such a powerful Way?  Is it not more than obvious that God is with Jesus?

But are we blinded somehow too?

Are we Catholics?  Are we Methodists?  Are we Baptists?  Or are we any of a host of other organizations?  Are we each one well versed?  Have we all studied?  In theory we are all lifting up the same God.  Can we all claim to draw our authority from the same sources?  We all have taken our stand on who God is, who Jesus is, and what importance to place upon the Bible.  There is a mountain of authority here.  There are many people who are authorities on the subject.  BUT WHO ARE WE LETTING GIVE THIS AUTHORITY?

When Jesus was pressed upon the issue, He did not assert His opinion.  The One who had true authority to back up His case did not abuse that authority to enter debate.  Instead He turned the question around on us.  He says if we can respond to Him, then He will enlighten us.  If we care to examine first ourselves, then He will lead us forward.  The question He asks is “Who gives authority?”  Could we ask the same question to ourselves?  Are we too comfortable with the authority where we have it now?  Or are we willing to put ourselves on the spot?

Is the point really who is right and who is wrong?  Does it help to hammer it out and assert our authorities over the others?  Or are we stopping to notice where true authority comes from?  Are we making the most of our time by considering the Real Authority who is standing right in front of us?  Does Jesus need to convince other men before we are willing to take Him for His word?  Are we waiting for the confirmation of others before receiving Jesus as our connection between us and our Creator?  Do we look to Him or do we look to them for the final say?  To whom do we go to look for our authority?

Are we going to be able to break away from the habits of our race?  Can we stop looking for confirmation among men?  Can we lean harder upon Jesus?

Dear Jesus, we too come with a question.  But rather than question where You get Your authority, we would like You to show us where we are looking for our authority.  Are we coming to You seeking Your approval or are we looking for approval somewhere else?  Expose our hearts now.  Then let us turn to You we pray,

Amen

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