July 11

Text: Matthew 21:23

And when He had come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him as He was teaching, and said, "By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?" (NASB)

“Here is the troublemaker again!  This time we are ready for him.  We will not be blindsided again!” You can be sure that after Jesus’ disrupting sales and overturning the tables of money changers, those in charge of the temple area recognized Jesus quickly!  I suspect it was an, “Oh, no!  Here he is again!” type of recognition.  It was like seeing someone who did not know the proper rules of behavior.

These leaders had decided the best way to handle Jesus was head on—take the lead and intimidate.  The problem: Jesus was not intimidated!  The power structure in control of the temple area asked Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things?”  We would say, “Who gave you a permit to do what you are doing?”

The Sadducees controlled the area commonly referred to as the temple.  Nothing occurred in the complex of court yards leading to the Holy and Most Holy Place without their approval. They did not believe in resurrection, angels, or spirits (Acts 23:7, 8).  That Jesus would use this area for his own purposes was unthinkable to them.  No one operated in this area without their knowledge and permission!  Jesus did not have proper permission to do what he did!  “Jesus, explain your right to do what you do!  Who do you think you are?”

The resurrected Jesus will appear in our lives in areas we would prefer him not to be.  We might even say to him, “What gives you the right to be here?”  If he is to transform us, he will often appear in our “off limits” areas.  His objective is to make God’s character and values our character and values.  As a result, He will appear in the lives of his followers anywhere they are out of step with God.

Suggestion for reflection: What are your “off limits” areas to Jesus?  (Read Psalm 139:1-12.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell