"By what authority are you doing these things!?!"
Can you imagine asking that of the State Trooper who just pulled you over? Just because of your lip, they might be a little bit rougher as they put the handcuffs on you. Or at least, they won't
feel so bad when they write up a big fine for you.
In fact, that's why they have their badges. It shows people that they have authority to do things like that. It's why any cops pull out their badge on C.S.I. when they want to search homes or pull people out of work for questioning.
The Pharisees were asking a similar question of Jesus. They wanted to know what authority he had to challenge their teachers and clean up the temple of marketers. Listen to his response.
23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."
Vintage Jesus. He knows that his answer will get them so upset that they will take him into custody. So instead, he puts the onus back on them. Now they have to decide how to answer this tricky question in order to get to Jesus' answer.
Because Jesus' answer was unbelievable.
John 10:25-30, "“I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe...My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
In other words: Jesus got his authority from the fact that he was God.
His whole life testified to this: The sick -- healed. The blind -- seeing. The lame -- walking. The storm -- calmed. The water -- walked upon (or changed into wine.) The dead --- ALIVE!
Jesus' miracles are like the policeman's badge. They show you the authority that he has to say what he says and do what he does.
Finally, it gives us confidence that he does have the authority to forgive sin. A feat he accomplished on the cross. A promise he made that "all who believe in him will not perish but have eternal life."
And if they were any doubts of his authority to do this?
Take a look at his shiniest badge. His resurrection from the dead.
PRAYER: O Lord, forgive me. Forgive me for reading your word and doubting your authority to command me in the ways of this life. Forgive me for the sake of your Son Jesus, who had authority to give up his life and authority to take it up again. Jesus strengthen me in the conviction that you are true God. Help me to share this conviction with my friends and neighbors. Amen.