Questions of Authority
If you pay attention to the news, you’ve probably seen reporters at a White House briefing firing questions at the president or at other government officials. Some reporters want to hear what the officials have to say about a certain issue; they are just collecting the facts. But other reporters—seems like most of them—ask questions in such a way as to trip up the officials or to make them say something controversial, for which they’ll attack them later. They are not seeking information as much as they are laying traps for the officials in the hopes that they can discredit them.
Such tactics are nothing new. The Jewish religious leaders did the same thing to Jesus. But unlike many government officials, Jesus never fell into these traps. In fact, Jesus usually turned the threat around to show his own command of the situation.
Remember that we are looking at events of the Passion Week, the final days of Jesus. He had arrived in the area on Friday, rested on the Sabbath, and cleansed the temple on Monday. Today we’re looking at something that happened on Tuesday of that week.
This exchange revolves around the concept of authority. The Jewish religious leaders question Jesus’ authority in an effort to discredit him, but Jesus turns the tables and ends up discrediting them.
All of us should consider the importance of Jesus’ authority. If God sent him, then there is no reason to reject him. If God sent him, all his claims are true. And if we say that we accept Jesus’ authority, then we ought to live in a way that demonstrates that commitment.
Let’s take a look at these questions of authority.