And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” [Matthew 21:23-25 ESV]
That phrase, "From heaven or from man?", hits at the heart of the issue of authority.
And, to be sure, the authority Jesus is speaking of is not merely religious authority.
Although the religious leaders of his day wanted to frame the discussion in that light.
Their challenge to Jesus basically asked the question:
"Why did you not get our permission to do these things?"Their issues were all earthly. Their concerns were fleshly. They feared losing their authority.
In contrast Jesus magnificently showed them, and us, what heavenly authority looks like.
His authority was a blend of spiritual power, wisdom and love.
The power was displayed in miracles and demonic exorcism.
Wisdom emanated from his teachings.
He was moved by compassion when He healed or performed a miracle.
Unlike the religious elders His authority had a basis in love.
And so it is with us - our authority is heavenly when we love.
If you want to influence anyone simply love and care for them.
And you will have more authority than you'll ever want.
Forgive me for not loving Lord. Help me to love.
... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.