Matthew 21:23-32 – By What Authority?

Read Matthew 21:23-32

Jesus smelled a trap. “By what authority?” the religious leaders asked. By God’s authority or Satan’s or maybe just of men. Jesus knew this was not a simple question. Obviously we know the truth. Jesus’ authority is from God.

Yet, Jesus wanted to take back the control. He was willing to provide an answer but needed to hear their response first. They evaded a response, so Jesus didn’t give them what they wanted.

Instead, Jesus gave them a story. We can glean truth from this illustration as well. There were two sons. The father gave them both the same instructions, yet each had a different response. Not only was the verbal response different the action was, too. Neither son did what they said they would.

So how does that speak to us? Think of your faith life. Have you said “Yes” to Jesus yet for what ever reason not followed through with what you said you’d do? Are you only following Jesus when it’s convenient?

I think of a congregation on Sunday. These people have made the commitment to show up for church. Will they also show up for Jesus throughout the week? Or was their appearance all they had to offer and now life would go on as usual? This is true for many. Sadly true.

On the other hand, there may be those of us who have turned away from God. Now we realize our need for a Savior. We recognize that the empty feeling inside is because God is missing. We closed him out. We are now full of enthusiasm to be the followers Jesus deserves.

Out of the blue we show up ready to serve. We have realized our dependence on God. Life just isn’t all that fulfilling when you have an empty place in your heart where God belongs.

We don’t need to be like the religious leaders who put on a good show. They know whose authority they represent, but do they really? Are they only fooling themselves into thinking they are righteous? Jesus seems to think so.

Jesus wants us to repent and follow. We can do that. Some of us won’t because we have that choice. The second son seemed to be the obedient one until he wasn’t. He didn’t follow through. The first one seemed wayward and selfish yet came through in the end.

Take some time today to reflect on this passage and what it is saying to you.

Let’s pray. Lord forgive me when I say one thing and do another. Help me be true to my word, especially in matters of faith and following you. Help me to stand strong against evil and the lies that abound in this world. Use me today and everyday to be your shining light to help others see you and accept your grace and mercy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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