Summary: Jesus expressed His authority as the Son of God most fully in the gift of repentance; the offer of salvation by faith.
“By What Authority?” Matthew 21:23-32
A young second lieutenant at Fort Bragg discovered that he had no change when he was about to buy a soft drink from a vending machine. He flagged down a passing private and asked him, “Do you have change for a dollar?” The private said cheerfully, “I think so, let me take a look.” The lieutenant drew himself up stiffly and said, “Soldier, that’s no way to address an officer. We’ll start all over again. Do you have change for a dollar?” The private came to attention, saluted smartly, and said, “No, sir!”
Today’s Scripture reading is found in the 21st chapter of Mathew. In this chapter we see Jesus expressing His authority. The whole chapter is built around Jesus declaring His authority as the Messiah sent on the authority of Almighty God.
This morning we will be talking about the authority of Christ as it is laid out in the pages of Holy Scripture. The authority of Christ rests solely on His having been sent from God the Father. Time and again Jesus says that His authority comes from Yahweh, Almighty God, not Himself.
It is from the very words of Jesus Himself that we learn that He was not merely a man, but a man sent from God. In John 5:30 Jesus says, “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” (ESV)
The authority of one who is sent rests not in the one sent but in the one who has sent him. The Protestant Reformers of the 15th and 16th century, from who we gain our theological, biblical, and ecclesiastical heritage; that is simply, they are our spiritual forefathers and Christian forbearers; they held, first and foremost, to a simple 5 point statement of faith, a simple 5 point article of faith.
# 1 Sola Scriptura (“by Scripture alone”), # 2 Sola Fide (“by faith alone”), # 3 Sola Gratia (“by grace alone”), # 4 Solus Christus (“Christ alone”), and # 5 Soli Deo Gloria (“glory to God alone”) these are each emphatic imperative statements – each one entirely true in light of the other, never in conflict, only in complement.
Today we will search out Christ alone as we find Him revealed in the Scriptures alone. Solus Christus, in Christ alone is exemplified the power, majesty, glory, and authority of God alone, Soli Deo Gloria, to God alone be the glory.
In the first part of Chapter 21 we see Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey in fulfillment of Scripture in relation to the Messiah. Zechariah 9:9 says, concerning the Messiah, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (ESV)
It is at this point in Jesus ministry, at the beginning of the week of the passion, that we see the people’s expectation of the fulfillment of every Messianic prophecy, on the part of Jesus. Those who had been following Jesus had begun to see Him as the promised Messiah more fully; the only trouble was that they still did not understand that He would ultimately suffer and die in order that He might reign in our hearts, in our lives, and in Heaven.
While the ultimate expression of Christ’s authority will one day be seen on this earth. The people who hailed Him as King, crying Hosanna as He entered the gates of Jerusalem, believed that He had come to cast out the Romans and reestablish the earthly throne of David. The phrase “Hosanna” literally means “O Lord Save” in the Hebrew Tongue.
Upon making His way into the city of Jerusalem, the text says that the whole city was literally “shaken” or as it is translated in verse 10, the whole city was thrown into an “uproar.” It gives interesting insight into the human condition, the sinful state of man, that in only a few days time from so many people hailing Jesus as King, crying Hosanna, as He rode in on a donkey, Jesus would die on the Cross.
How capricious and corrupt are the hearts of men that on Monday Jesus was hailed as King and on Friday He hung on a Cross with the inscription over His head, which read, Jesus King of the Jews. This is interesting because in Roman crucifixions the charge of the crime for which the criminal was being executed was normally placed over the criminal in this way.
On Palm Sunday Jesus was hailed as King and on Good Friday He died for it.