Summary: After three and a half years of teaching these disciples, Jesus was bringing His teaching to a critical point: His followers are to exercise the authority He was giving them, by the working of their faith.
In Matthew 21:1-11, we see Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey that had never before been ridden. People were putting their cloaks in the pathway, as well as laying down palm branches, and that’s why we call the Sunday before Easter, “Palm Sunday.” Palm Sunday begins a section that is often called, “the last week of Jesus’ life.” More than one third of all the material of the gospels is designated to this last week of Jesus’ life, so it is very obvious that some very important things took place in these few days.
The first thing that Jesus did after arriving at Jerusalem, was to go into the temple and expel the people who were using it for purposes other than that which was pleasing to God. The church house application to that is that we’ve always got to be sure that the things we do are things that will please Him. Above anything else we might think we are about, we are to be God pleasers. Somewhere back down the line, this church adopted a mission statement that reads simply, “to please God.”
The church house is not the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament temple. Our physical bodies are the New Testament equivalent. God has given you a physical body to house your soul and spirit, therefore, 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “...glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Matthew 21:14 says, “Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.” There is no indication here, or any other place in the Bible, that people came to Jesus for healing, only to be told that it wasn’t God’s will for them to be healed. Many people have accepted an idea that they are supposed to be sick, diseased, and afflicted. There are no Bible verses that say that. Many would point to Paul’s thorn in the flesh, but I am convinced that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was persecution, not sickness. Look at verse 14 again: “...He healed them!”
The Bible doesn’t tell us how He went about healing these people, but from other Bible verses that do tell us how He did it, I think we are perfectly safe to infer that He touched them and spoke to them. He always spoke to them. Perhaps, He simply said, “Be healed.”
Immediately, after healing these people, He was confronted by one skeptical group after another. First, there were the chief priests and scribes, who took issue with people calling Jesus the “Son Of David.”
The next morning, according to verses 18-22, He was spoke a curse on a fig tree, and it quickly withered away. He used that as object lesson to teach His disciples that they had the same kind of authority. In verses 21-22, He told them that they had authority to speak to obstacles and adversities, and by the working of their faith, those things would be removed out of their way. He also told them that they had authority to pray, by the working of their faith, and receive whatever they pray for. Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t it amazing that the Lord would give that kind of authority to people?
In verse 23, the chief priests and elders confronted Him and demanded to know who gave Him such authority to do the things that He was doing. He wouldn’t tell them, but we know the answer, don’t we? That authority came from Almighty God, because Jesus wasn’t just representing God, He was God in flesh! So, if He wants to give people spiritual authority, it is His to give.
The big question that needs to be asked and answered is, “Did Jesus only give the authority for speaking to obstacles and hindrances, and praying and receiving, to the twelve immediate disciples, or did it include us, also? There is really no indication that this was only limited to the twelve. As a matter of fact, the Bible teaches that all born again people make up the body of Christ upon this earth, over which He, Himself, is the head. In every life form that I know anything about, the body carries out what the head determines. It would make no sense that the church should have less authority than these twelve. In Matthew 16, after Peter’s great confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son Of The Living God, Jesus said, “...I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Now whatever else all that might mean, it surely means that the church has tremendous authority. We are the church!