The Authority of the King

Posted: December 3, 2012 in Matthew

Matthew 21:12-27, “The Authority of the King”

For those who think of Jesus only as a meek and gentle teacher, without any harsh word for anyone, Jesus’ days in Jerusalem can come as quite a shock!  He publicly throws out the money-changers, curses a tree to a withering death, and stands up to the religious authorities.  This is the confrontational Jesus, the Son of God who is also a Man of action.  He came with a greater authority than all of the religious authorities of the priests put together, though they refused to recognize the obvious.

When Jesus entered the city in triumph, among palm branches waving & the people crying out His praises, the King came with His own agenda.  The people had desired for Him to reign over them as their King, but according to their will & not His own.  What they did not realize is that His reign would come, but Jesus needed to suffer for their sin first before they could even be brought into the kingdom.  The agenda of the King trumps the agenda of the people.  Now, as Jesus continues His ministry in and outside of the city, He shows that the King comes with His own authority.  He has the right to reign because He has the authority of God.  The question becomes: how do the people respond to His authority – in rebellion or in faith?

Matthew 21:12–27
12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.

  • Cleansing the temple.  What was going on here?  Remember that the temple was supposed to be the house of God where His people (and people from all over the world) would come and worship Him in faith.  They would come to offer sacrifices of praise, of thanksgiving, of repentance, etc., all in worship of God.  Birds and bulls would be killed, showing a substitution for the person.  Because of the person’s sin, blood needed to be shed – but it wasn’t the person who died; it was a substitute in his place. (And of course, all of this points to Jesus’ substitution for us when He died upon the cross.)  All of this is great & holy, as instructed by God in the OT, but problems develop when men get involved.  Corruption can easily set in, and it did.  What happens when someone comes to the temple, and they didn’t bring a sacrifice with them?  Worse yet – what happens when someone comes to the temple and the priest determines that the animal they brought isn’t good enough?  That’s where the temple authorities step in, providing sacrificial animals for sale right there in the temple court.  Oh – and don’t forget that the temple did not accept the regular money of the land; they had their own special currency.  So your money would have to be exchanged too (for a slight fee, of course) before you were able to pay both your temple tax and purchase your sacrificial animal.  Obviously, this was a racket.  The people of God were being fleeced by those who purported to care for them, and the system was entrenched.  Imagine walking to a church building and being forced to purchase tickets before you could worship, and being told that God would only accept your prayers if you purchased the pastor’s own special prayer cloth that he prayed over.  That’s the basic idea.  It was evil, and Jesus wasn’t going to stand for it.  The Messiah walked straight into the temple and started turning over tables, and tossing chairs around.  Coins were scattering everywhere, and birds were flying off.  It would have only have taken a few moments, but all of the commerce and activity in the temple courtyard would have come to a complete standstill as they watched Jesus in disbelief.
  • This wasn’t the first time Jesus did this.  To read the account of the synoptic gospels in comparison with the gospel of John, it’s interesting to see that all four gospels record the temple cleansing, but at vastly different times.  In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it’s shown at the close of Jesus’ earthly ministry.  After three years of proclaiming the gospel throughout Judea, and on the cusp of going to the cross, Jesus drives out the money changers from the temple.  Yet in John’s gospel, it’s at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, just after His very first miracle was recorded (turning water into wine) that Jesus goes into Jerusalem at the Passover, makes a whip of cords and drives out the money changers (Jn 2:13-17).  Obviously His reforms did not last (surely the money changers went back to work within minutes after Jesus left the temple), but He book-ended His ministry with a claim of authority over the temple.  He showed His superiority over the priests in that Jesus stood firmly for the purity of God, where the priests ignored it in light of their own greed.

13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”

  • Jesus puts His finger on the problem.  There was corruption in the house of God.  It was given by God to the nation of Israel as a place of worship & prayer.  This was the place people were to God to seek the face of God, and provide sacrifices for their sins.  Nothing was supposed to get in the way of that, certainly not the priests who were supposed to assist the people in their sacrifice and worship.  Yet that’s exactly what happened through the deeds of the priests & others running the temple.  They turned it into a “den of thieves” (Jer 7:11) by forcing the people to go through extra hoops before they were allowed to pray and seek God.
    • God desires purity in worship.  Certainly the people were supposed to bring certain clean animals for sacrifice, according to the law – that in itself was a picture of purity.  But the priests were also supposed to demonstrate purity within the temple.  Their whole mode of dressed was designed to point to the purity and holiness of God – their whole function was to be the pure mediator between God and His people as they brought the sacrifices of the people.  Yet the priests became corrupt and defiled.  There was corruption in the OT temple, and there is (sadly) corruption in the NT temple, the Church.  Men calling themselves “pastors” routinely fleece people who trust them by manipulating them to give more and more money.  Individuals (pastors and more) who are a kingdom of priests walk in ways that are defiled and impure.  That’s not God’s desire for us as the Church!  And God won’t hesitate to overturn the “tables” in our own lives to call our attention to our sin, when necessary.
    • God desires freedom in worship.  People were restricted from coming to God in worship.  The “house of prayer” was to be a house for all nations (Isa 56:7), but instead not even all of the house of Israel was allowed through the gates it was so narrowly restricted.  Verse 14 makes this clear…
  • BTW: Whose house?  “MY house…”  Jesus could have quoted Isaiah 56:7 by introducing it as “God says, ‘My house…’” or said (much as He did in John), “My Father’s house…” but He didn’t.  He quotes the prophecy directly from the first person.  And He could.  The house of God IS Jesus’ house, because Jesus is God.

14 Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.

  • We’ve seen many instances of healing in the book of Matthew – that Jesus healed is not unusual.  What makes this interesting is the timing, coming immediately after Jesus throws out the money-changers and other vendors.  Were the people who really needed the Lord excluded from coming to worship Him due to the presence of the money changers?  In a way, yes.  There were restrictions against certain diseased people coming to worship in the temple…based far more in priestly custom and tradition than the Scripture.  The OT law prohibited deformed and diseased men serving as priests (though they could still partake of the gifts), and obviously leprous people were kept outside of the camp entirely (as a means of hygienic safety), but the Jewish tradition went further.  (Carson) “Most Jewish authorities forbade any person lame, blind, deaf, or mute from offering a sacrifice, from ‘appearing before Yahweh in his temple.’”  Even beyond all of these restrictions, should a blind or lame man actually get into the temple, with what money is this person (most likely a beggar) supposed to exchange in order to purchase the temple-approved sacrifice?  A whole section of the population were effectively cut off from worship.  They weren’t wanted by the Jewish authorities, and thus they were punished by refusing them access to the worship of God.
    • How careful we need to be as Christians not to engage in a similar sin!  It can be so easy to put up so many restrictions to Jesus that someone who is in desperate need of Him feels like there’s no way to get to Him.  “You can’t come in here – you’re not dressed the right way!”  “You better clean your life up first before you even think about praying!” “Do you really think God can forgive someone like you?  You’re too far gone!” …
    • Some of you may have been told something similar in the past.  You need to know that despite the protestations of some, Jesus Himself calls you to come.  Jesus invites ALL to come to Him, to know Him as God, and to receive of His saving grace and forgiveness.  When Jesus died upon the cross for you, the Bible tells us that the temple veil was ripped in two…the things that separated men and women from God were done away with.  Jesus invites you to freely come, and out of anyone, He has the authority to do so.  He is the God who died for you and rose from the grave, and He promises to save any and all who come to Him in humble faith.
  • The fact that Jesus did heal in the temple (especially after His act of cleansing) underscores His authority.  This wasn’t some guy off the street with a wild idea, but no credentials.  He couldn’t be written off by the temple priests as some crazy man.  Jesus came in with the full authority of God to do what He did – His subsequent acts of healing ought to have removed all doubt.

15 But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant 16 and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?”

  • Not only did Jesus heal in the temple, but He received praise in the temple.  The children (young children, apparently) took up the same refrain that the people had proclaimed earlier when Jesus first walked through the gates of the city: “Hosanna to the Son of David!”  It was the proclamation that Jesus is the Messiah King, giving praise and honor to Him, and expressing faith that He would save them and grant them deliverance.  To be sure, it’s doubtful that these children understood the full theological import of what they were saying.  Most likely, they simply repeated what they had heard earlier.  But that doesn’t make it less based in faith.  These humble children knew instinctively what the rest of the priests and people should have known all along: the Man standing before them was no ordinary man.  He was someone worthy of all praise!
  • All of this was too much for the chief priests and scribes.  They had seen the people rejoice over Jesus as the Messiah – they had seen their corrupt system of temple finances exposed and over-ruled – they saw this Prophet of the Lord demonstrate His miraculous power – and now even the young children who happen to be in the temple join in the celebration of Jesus as the Messiah.  The priest became “indignant” – other translations say “incensed.”  The idea is that they were beside themselves in rage, and they couldn’t take it any longer.
  • Note the contrast here.  Jesus had ministered to the unwanted (the blind and lame).  Jesus had received praise from the humble (the children).  Yet Jesus angered the important & elite.  It’s quite the turnaround!  We would expect the King to come in and have all of the important people come and flock to Him, whereas the “little people” eventually get brought in through the right pecking order.  But that’s not what happens.  As Jesus had taught so often: the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.  The foolish things of the world (us) are the ones that Jesus calls to Himself and uses to change the world.

…And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?”

  • Gotta love Jesus’ simple answer.  To the chief priests’ foaming at the mouth, angrily asking Jesus, “Don’t you see what’s happening?!”, Jesus simply answers “Yes.” J  Jesus knew exactly what was happening, and He was fully in agreement with it all.
  • Quoted Psalm 8:2 in response to them.  Psalm 8:1–2, "(1) O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! (2) Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger." []  In the original context, the psalm speaks of the witness of creation all around us that testifies to the work of its Creator.  Jesus uses the picture of the awestruck child when looking into the heavens to describe the children who were giving Him praise at that moment.  To look at Jesus is far better than looking at the reaches of outer space!  He’s better than the Northern Lights and the comets and the planets, and anything else that leaves our mouths gaping open with wonder.  Jesus is worthy of all of that praise and more!
  • This was the praise that God had prepared for Himself.  As Jesus quoted the Greek translation, He quoted God “perfecting praise” or completing/preparing praise.  God had desired the children to praise Jesus, and they did.  God has placed within all of us the desire to praise and worship, though only a few ever worship God.  Most choose objects of worship other than God – but everyone (including atheists) worship something…even it is themselves.  God’s design for us is that we would worship HIM – and this is what the children were doing.
    • Be careful not to ignore the capacity of a child to worship God.  It may be easy for adults to write-off, but honest worship from a child is a beautiful, God-ordained thing.

17 Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and He lodged there. [Where?  Most likely the house of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha…] 18 Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry.

  • To match this statement up with Mark’s account, this might get a bit confusing.  According to Matthew, it would seem that Jesus cleansed the temple, left the city, and on the next day returned hungry.  Yet according to Mark, Jesus entered Jerusalem one day in the triumphal entry, left after a day of celebration, came back and encountered the fig tree, then went to cleanse the temple, and came back the next day to see it withered away.  Is there an error in our Bible?  No…simply a different arrangement of material.  Matthew is known to arrange things a bit more topically, which seems to be the case here, in order to keep all of the teaching about the fig tree together.
  • Don’t miss the acknowledgement that Jesus got “hungry.”  Does God need to eat?  Not in eternal glory – but when God the Son dwells among us in human flesh, he most certainly does.  Jesus is just as much human as He is God, and in His incarnation, He is subject to the same physical weaknesses as we are. 
    • How much does the eternal infinite God love you?  Enough to humble Himself to the point of experiencing hunger…just like any human being.

19 And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away.

  • When a fig tree has leaves, it’s usually accompanied with figs.  Apparently this was not the right season for figs (Mk 11:13), which is likely the reason it stood out.  The problem with this tree was that it looked to be fruitful, but in reality was not.  So Jesus cursed the fig tree, and it was at once affected.  
  • To a first-time reader of the gospels (or even someone who’s read them many times!), this looks rather strange.  What on earth is going on here?  Is Jesus throwing a temper-tantrum with the tree?  No.  Jesus has a purpose to His actions.  He certainly had emotions, but He wasn’t ruled by them (like so many of us).  He knew what He was doing, and there are a few lessons being taught.
  • Lesson #1: Jesus has authority in His word.  It was His word that caused the tree to wither.  God’s word is powerful.  God’s word is enough to give life or to take it away. …
  • Lesson #2: Jesus has authority over Israel.  What seems rather random to us would have stood out dramatically to a Jewish reader or Jewish observer.  The fig tree isn’t just “any” tree to the Jews – in the OT prophecies, the fig tree was often a symbol of the Jewish nation. (Jer 8:13, 24:1-10, Hosea 9:10, Hab 3:17, etc.)  Knowing all of that, look again at what Jesus did here: He saw a fig tree without fruit, cursed it, and it withered.  Jesus often taught in verbal parables – this was like a visual parable.  The Jewish nation was like that tree that outwardly appeared to be healthy and vital, but upon closer inspection was fruitless.  It wasn’t producing what God desired for it.  It offered nothing good for the Creator, nor for anyone else who might need to partake of it.  Thus God is shown cursing the nation, and it is immediately affected as it withers away.  This is a pre-cursor to the events yet to take place with Jesus.  The nation will reject their Messiah King – the Son of God had come unto His own people, but His people will utterly reject Him.  As a result, the nation will experience the hand of God in withering discipline.  The gospel of the kingdom will be preached among the Gentiles, and the nation of Israel will be so smitten that it will hang by a thread for two thousand years.  The temple will be destroyed, and the people scattered.
    • Yet there is a critical difference between this particular fig tree and Israel.  The fig tree will die out long before the plan of God is accomplished (which is why it would never bear fruit again), but the nation would not fully perish, because the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable (Rom 11:29).  The nation would be unfruitful for millennia until the time was right again…and there are indications that we are the generation that witnesses this.  Since the time Jerusalem was decimated by the Romans, Israel is a nation once again – and despite the various wars that it faces from its surrounding enemies, it plainly survives by the grace and desire of God.
  • That Jesus has authority in His word, and authority over Israel speaks of His power as God.  Jesus does not merely come in the authority of God, but He comes AS God.  And as such, He has the authority to answer prayer – which is the third lesson that the fig tree shows.

20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?” 21 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.

  • You can bet that was an amazing thing!  There’s no mention at all of Jesus touching the tree, or doing anything to it other than just speaking to it, and there was an immediate response.  As Mark’s gospel indicates, the next day the plant was completely dried up from the roots (Mk 11:20)…all from merely speaking to it.  To be sure, the disciples had seen many miracles done by Jesus – some from Him only uttering a few words, but it never ceased to amaze them.  And rightly so…whenever God displays His power, it is an awesome thing!
  • The disciples asked how it happened, but Jesus doesn’t address the “how” so much as the “what.”  The “how” was obvious – it was the power of God at work.  What Jesus did was not to be seen as all that unusual by the disciples.  In fact, causing a fig tree to wither was a pretty minor act in comparison to what Jesus told the disciples that they would be capable of doing.  It’s one thing to dry up a fig tree; it’s another to throw a mountain into the sea!  Yet that’s exactly what Jesus told them they would be able to see done.  And it wasn’t the first time.  After Jesus had been transfigured on the mount, He told them much the same thing.  They had encountered a man with his son, who was possessed by a demon.  Although the disciples had tried to cast it out, they couldn’t, so they brought the boy to Jesus.  Jesus did what the disciples didn’t, and told them why they failed: Matthew 17:20, "So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." []  Of course there is no historical record of any mountain being ripped from its roots and thrown into the ocean – there is not even a Scriptural record of the disciples attempting to do such a thing.  So was Jesus just speaking in hyperbole?  Obviously He gave them an extreme example, but He gave it twice.  It was indeed possible – but there’s more here than a promise of power.  People tend to look at this verse and concentrate solely on the power that is available to the believer in Christ.  Yet that shouldn’t surprise us.  Of course we’ve got access to incredible miraculous power…we have been made the children of God!  If GOD moves, there’s no limit as to what He can do.  The book of Revelation makes it plain that objects the size of mountains (perhaps comets) will be thrown into the sea.  God will remake the entire earth after the Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom, so there’s no doubt that God has the ability to move mountains around at will.  There is a promise of power to the believer here, but that power has a key: faith.
  • Jesus says, “if you have faith and do not doubt.”  That’s the point where these miraculous things are possible.  We’ve got to have faith – unwavering faith.  And when we do, there is no limit as to what can happen.  BUT…be careful here.  This is the point when many Bible teachers run to talk about the power of our faith, but when Jesus teaches us about faith, it’s always within a greater context.  Faith (simply defined) is belief.  We have got to believe something in order for this to happen.  The question then becomes: what do we believe?  Should we believe in ourselves?  No – that wouldn’t accomplish anything.  We don’t have any sort of supernatural power in ourselves.  Should we believe in God?  Absolutely – but surely we’ve got to have something more than just the belief in the existence of God and Jesus as the Savior.  Many of us believe that, and we certainly can’t move mountains at our will.  So what do we need to believe?  The whole context here has been the authority of God.  God has the authority to do whatever He wants, because He is God.  So if God commands something to happen, it will happen.  We have faith in God and in His word!  If God commanded us to tell a mountain to move, then guess what will happen if we have faith in God and walk in obedience?  That mountain is going to move.  We cannot command that mountain to do anything, but if God commands it, it’ll jump!  Have faith in the word of God.

22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

  • This is the logical follow-up.  Faith is essential to answered prayer.  When we come before God, praying for Him to move according to His word and His will, fully believing that God is going to act as such, we can be absolutely sure God answers that prayer.  That is a prayer fully-pleasing to the Lord, offered in the faith in which He delights.  Think about it from a different perspective: Imagine you told your child you were going to give her ice-cream for dessert.  You’ve made it clear, and it’s something to which you were looking forward to, but it was something that she was to ask for.  What would be your response if he/she came up to you & said, “Mom/Dad, I don’t know how you really feel about this – but I was hoping that maybe you could give me some ice cream sometime.  I don’t know that it’s even in the house right now, and I don’t know if you really want me to have it, but I’m going to ask for it anyway.”  What would be your response to that?  Obviously the child either wasn’t listening to you, or didn’t believe you for what you said…neither scenario is good.  If we would desire a different kind of attitude from our children in what they ask, how much more do we think God desires an attitude of faith from His children?  Especially in the areas in which He has already told us how He is going to move & act – we should ask Him for those things as if we really believe Him for what He said He would do.
  • Objection: “OK, wait a minute.  What about all those times that I really prayed with faith, and I didn’t receive the answer to my prayer?”  Keep in mind that vs. 22 is not a blank-check for us to get anything we want.  God is not somehow obligated to give us whatever our hearts desire from one moment to the next.  God WILL act in accordance to His word and will…the problem is that our will doesn’t always match up with His own.  God is God; we’re not.  We are not the ones to boss God around and have Him take orders from us – we are the ones in loving submission to our Heavenly Father.  So we do ask in prayer and we do believe that God will act according to His will, and we will receive whatever it is that God wills for us to receive.  Our faith and belief is in Him and His authority; not us and our own.

23 Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”

  • So Jesus has come back to the temple, and started teaching the people again.  The chief priests decide to publicly confront Jesus, attempting to undermine His credibility.  They had been incensed by Jesus, yet they had a tough time confronting Him.  They couldn’t complain about His work in cleansing the temple – He was obviously righteous in doing so.  They couldn’t complain about His work in healing the blind and lame – He was obviously empowered by God to do it.  At the same time, they couldn’t have the people praising Him as the Son of David, and looking to Him as the authoritative Messiah.  After all, Jesus was “just” that prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.  So they go for a technicality.  What He did may have been righteous, but if Jesus didn’t have the authority, then He didn’t have legal standing to be able to make the case.  They basically asked Him for His credentials & degrees.  Which rabbi had Jesus studied under?  Who was the priest that told Jesus (as someone who wasn’t even a Levite) that He could go into the temple and change the system there?
  • Of course Jesus’ authority was obvious.  That is exactly what had been on display all along!  The priests are just grasping at straws here.

24 But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: 25 The baptism of John—where was it from? From heaven or from men?”

  • Answered a question with a question…and this one cut them to the heart.  This was the perfect response at the perfect time – a word of wisdom from the God of wisdom.  Jesus displays a bit of His wisdom here, but much more will be on display in Ch 22 when the Sadducees, Pharisees, and scribes line up to test Jesus.
  • Notice that Jesus does indeed offer to answer their question freely.  The answer should have been obvious from the earlier events, but Jesus indulges them and promises to answer.  They simply needed to be honest in their interaction with Jesus.  If they would be willing to come to Jesus honestly, He would deal with them straightforwardly.  The problem was they were not willing.
    • God still deals with honest skeptics straightforwardly today.  To the person who earnestly seeks after the truth of God, ready to humble him/herself before the One True God, Jesus does not hide Himself.  Jesus is made plain to the honest humble heart.  It’s the heart that is proud that is blinded to the truth.  There are many people who claim to be skeptics who simply aren’t being honest.  They don’t want the truth, because they are convinced that whatever the truth might be, it certainly cannot be the God of the Bible.  That’s not honest skepticism; it’s pride.  And God will always resist the proud, while giving grace to the humble. (Jas 4:6)

…And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.”

  • They trap themselves in their dishonesty and pride.  They knew the truth about John, but they could not bring themselves to admit it to Jesus in front of all the crowds.  They had publicly confronted Jesus in order to undermine Him, and all of a sudden THEY were the ones at risk of being discredited!  If they lied and claimed that John was insane, and only had authority he gave himself, the people would be in an uproar and they would lose all credibility.  If they answered truthfully, saying that John’s ministry had the authority of heaven, then they were bound to follow John’s teaching – which pointed directly to Jesus as the Messiah.

27 So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.” And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

  • IOW, they lied.  They technically abstained from the question by not giving any response, but the truth was they DID know that John was a prophet of God.  They had simply ignored his authority, just as they were now ignoring the authority of Jesus.  Jesus’ authority was just as evident (and more-so) than John’s.  They had no excuse not to listen to Him.
  • Because of their answer, Jesus refused to answer them…at least directly.  In response, Jesus is going to use this to a launching point to teach what happens to those who reject the authority of God, and there’s not going to be any doubt whom Jesus is referring to.

When Jesus came into Jerusalem, Jesus came in with all the authority to do what He needed to do. 

  • Jesus has authority in the temple.  He is the ultimate High Priest, the one Mediator between God and man, and He had the right to bring correction to a corrupt system of worship. He supersedes it all, and desires for His people to worship God in spirit and truth – freely & purely.
  • Jesus has authority in His word.  He is the Creator who spoke creation into existence – there is power in the word of God!  When God tells us something in His word, it is absolutely true.  That’s something we can take to the bank.
  • Jesus has authority over Israel.  He is the King who desires fruitfulness from His people.  When Israel produced none and rejected Him, He allowed Gentiles to experience the grace and provision that He brings.  He still has a plan for Israel, and one day they will see Him as their King.


Jesus has the authority of God because Jesus IS God.  He proved it in abundance through His teaching, His testimony, and His actions. Do we have faith in what He says?

Do we believe that Jesus truly has authority in our lives?  So often it would seem that Christians agree with their lips that Jesus is the King with authority, but practically live as if He has none.  We don’t believe that Jesus has truly forgiven their sins, so we live with guilt.  We don’t believe that Jesus truly wants us to walk in love with one another, so we carry unending grudges.  We don’t take Jesus at His word regarding His power over the cycle of sin in our own lives, so we struggle with the same besetting sins that we always have, living a life of defeat and despair.

Christian: have faith in the word of your King!  Believe the words of your Savior and God!  Especially as we enter this Christmas season, and we wonder at the fact that God would dwell among us as a human, to take our sins upon Himself and serve as our substitute in sacrifice – have faith in the authority of Jesus.  He can forgive your sins because He has the right to do so.  He can promise you life and eternity because He has the right authority.  He can promise you abundant living through the power of the Holy Spirit because He has the right to make that promise.  The King who became a babe in a manger is the King with the authority of God because He is God.


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