When Jesus went to the temple in Jerusalem the elders and priests challenged him, By what authority are you doing these things? they asked. And who gave you this authority? (Matthew 21:23) We looked at this several weeks ago and saw how Jesus turned the tables on them and revealed their own lack of authority.
At the end of his ministry Jesus claimed that all authority had been given to him (Matthew 28:18). Throughout his ministry Jesus made substantial claims to power and authority. Later the Apostle Paul wrote of Jesus saying, He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; … so that in everything he might have the supremacy. (Colossians 1.15-18). In the New Testament it is clear that Jesus himself and the people who followed him recognised Jesus is Supreme authority, Supreme power, Supreme truth, Supreme justice … and more! There is no wiggle room here, no ambiguity, and nothing that would say anything other than Jesus is Divine and that one day, … at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10–11). The New Testament is upfront about these claims and they are not hidden away, obscured or hard to find.
These claims are challenging for people in our modern age – they are also challenging for Christians! Jesus claims authority over the lives of all who follow him. The Apostle Paul wrote, Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, … You are not your own; you were bought at a price. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20) Your body is a temple! What happens when Jesus comes to that temple? Are we like the priests in the Jerusalem temple who question and challenge his authority or do we welcome him and accept his authority? Do we allow Christ the Lord to be Lord in the temple he has bought with a price?
The Supreme authority of Jesus can be a source of strength for us. Our confidence as Christians is not based in ourselves, in our knowledge, power or abilities, rather it is based in the person of Jesus who is Supreme in everything. In the week which lies ahead I encourage t you to allow him to be Lord, to recognise his Supreme Authority and to consider how that applies in the temple of your life. Draw confidence from Him, put your confidence in him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah.’ (Revelation 12:10)
For personal reflection:
Do I find the authority of Jesus a comfort or a challenge?
What could I do this week to respond to his authority?
Rev John Malcolm