And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
The contrasts of authority in this passage are so amazing. In the chief priests, scribes and elders we see the dark and fleshly side of authority. It is the type that is external and filled with ego. I understand this kind because I once embraced this image of power. But in Jesus we see an authority that has a foundation of love. This kind is spiritual in nature and often does not come with titles or fleshly positions. It's motive is love and it has great influence.
Interesting to note how cowardly the religious leaders reacted when asked a simple question about John the Baptist. Their answer revealed a dark process on intellectual rationalization. Such is the way of those who seek and hold on to fleshly power. Instead of processing the Lord's question with their heart they chose to lean on their own understanding instead. A reminder to us about how we are use our heart and not our head in these matters.
I bow to your authority Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to influence others with love today.