I also will ask you a question.

One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.” He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from. And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

In hindsight it is clear that two authorities are present - spiritual authorities. The chief priests and elders certainly had the weight of tradition, position and even possibly scripture on their side. Jesus on the other hand was at odds with them and seemed a bit out of step with the Judaism of that day … he seemed to have a different kind of authority. The authority of Christ seemed to be truly spiritual in nature having it's roots in love and compassion.

Yet even today there seems to be two different kinds of authority in church circles. There is certainly still the type of authority that the religious leaders of Jesus' day exhibited. This type of authority doesn't like to be challenged. It is heavy handed and has it's base in carnal power or position. Then there is the Christlike spiritual authority that is gained by loving someone unconditionally. We would do well to place ourselves under this kind of authority.

Help me today dear Lord to influence the people I meet by simply loving them.


  1. Having seen and been involved in church leadership for many years, I am convinced that if leadership tries to demand things based on its authority, it has already failed. Real spiritual authority is based on the love and respect of those who follow it. Once we have lost that we are just spinning our wheels.

    1. Spinning our wheels is a great description Mike.


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