Yesterday we read how Jesus returned to the temple and cleared it of the merchants and those taking advantage of the poor. Today we see Jesus and his disciples returning to the temple. We can read about the events in all the gospels.
Matthew 21:23-27 (Mt 21:23-27, Mk 11:27-33, Lk 20:1-8)
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
23 When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?”
24 “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. 25 “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?”
They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask us why we didn’t believe John. 26 But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet.” 27 So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”
And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.
Jesus has a busy and stressful day, teaching in the temple then spending time with his disciples teaching them with parables and then another confrontation this time with the Sadducees. As we read the passages that follow this account we can almost sense the urgency in Jesus to say as much as he can before the end. Things seem to be rushing towards that moment when Jesus makes the ultimate sacrifice. We know what is coming but there is still something within us that wants it to stop. Maybe we can understand Peter and the other disciples wanting to make Jesus step away from the journey he was on when he tried to tell them of what was to come. In Luke 9:51 it says, As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He was focussed on the work that his Father had sent him to do. He was not going to be persuaded to change course. Ultimately he would go to the cross without the support of his followers, he would suffer unimaginable physical pain and die the cruellest of deaths but he did not turn away.
Today as we think on this what about us? how easily are we swayed or turned away from what God has called us to? Are we able to keep walking with Him no matter what the circumstances?