Lenten Devotional – Day 36 – Authority
Authority. Where does it come from? When Jesus reentered the temple he was approached by the chief priests and scribes who demanded to know who gave him the authority to do the things he was doing (Mark 11:27). The scribes and Pharisees considered themselves to be the absolute authority and did not want to consider any alternative.
In our current society we are surrounded by authority—it can be respected, obeyed, ignored, circumvented or questioned. When my grandkids were visiting with me, I heard Bryson say to Brooke, “You are not the boss of me!” He was really not questioning her authority or who gave it to her, he just wanted to do whatever he wanted to do without interference from her. To be told that the Bible tells us to obey our parents and she was doing what her mother would have told him to do didn’t make much of an impression—at least not at the time.
The elders knew where Jesus’ authority came from. He did not need to tell them, for the works he did told them plainly he had authority from God since no man could do the miracles which he did unless God were with him. When Jesus asked them, “Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” (Mark 11:30) they knew the answer but also knew that if they answered correctly their perceived authority and esteem would be lost. They really did not want the truth but just wanted to undermine Jesus’ authority.
The Lenten season is a time of reflection—a special time for us to reflect on spiritual things and examine how they are shown in our daily lives. A lot of people give up something for Lent: e.g. candy, computer, gossiping, etc. I have found it more meaningful to “take on something.” The something can be a habit, a person, a situation or whatever stands out as needing special time and attention in my life. This year I am planning on examining my reaction to authority and how I make decisions. In other words, how do I look for answers—by praying, seeking spiritual help, reading books or by just making snap decisions?
Jesus’ answer to the chief priests and elders was brilliant. By giving them a question to answer he forced them to accept the truth about who he was and who gave him his authority, but they chose to not answer. I hope that I will be able to recognize answers and respond accordingly.
Prayer: Lord, give us the strength and courage to seek answers from you and accept them. Help us to look to you for the ultimate authority. Amen