By What Authority?

photo credit: Philerooski via photopin cc
photo credit: Philerooski via photopin cc


Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16

Exodus 17:1-7

Philippians 2:1-13

Matthew 21:23-32


God directed Moses to strike a particular rock.  When he obeyed God, living water rushed out to the people.   As the Psalm put it:

he split rocks in the desert,

let them drink as though from the limitless depths,

he brought forth streams from a rock,

made waters flow down in torrents.

Leaders went with Moses to witness the miracle so that they could tell the people about God’s great work.  People were always present when Jesus ‘struck the rock.’  Witnesses spread the news of those who were healed and feed.

When the Temple authorities questioned Jesus about his authority, he refused to answer, knowing it was only a trick.  The point we often miss with this passage is that the authorities had the answer already.  They asked, By what authority are you doing these things?  The things Jesus did were the things promised by God as signs of the Messiah.  Jesus said as much when, in Matthew 11:4-5, he answered John the Baptist’s question with:  Go back and tell John what’s going on:

The blind see,
The lame walk,
Lepers are cleansed,
The deaf hear,
The dead are raised,
The wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side
.   MSG

Each of us must follow in those giant footsteps.  We do that by following the instructions of Paul:  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. NIV


Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

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