Summary: Jesus authority superceded all authority in heaven and earth. Unlike the chief priests and elders, who chose to challenge Jesus, we are to bow down to his authority and let His Most Excellency rule our heast, minds and souls.


It has been coming! It has been coming for a long time, the only surprise here is the fact that the Pharisees, Chief priests and the elders had held on for so long before running out of patience with Jesus. I mean, for a long time they had been wondering about Jesus, you know, what to do with him, how would they approach him? What strategy would they employ? What would they say? What questions would they asked him?

They might have even held a meeting regarding what to do with him. On top of their agenda for this hypothetical meeting would have been this Jew who claimed to be something, you know, who claim to be somebody like Elijah of old, Is he like John the Baptist? But who was he really? They knew that he was a Jew, son of Joseph the carpenter, who lived in Nazareth. Nazareth? Yes, Nazareth. But he goes around the place healing people who are sick. Some of the Pharisees and the elders can deal with that – they’ve had magicians before, may be he was one of those, one of those who used Beelzebub as a source of power.

But this Jesus is more than that, he was not only healing people, he had followers as well – his disciples and these people called disciples dress the same way, ate the same food and did the same things, and much more than that the crowd, that is the people follows them around whilst he teaches them. He teaches the crowd everywhere, even he comes in to the temple and teaches there in the temple. The Chief priests and elders have had enough and they have decided to challenge Jesus the next time they meet up again.

So in Matthew 21:23-32. Jesus came back to the temple. As he taught the word of God, the chief priests and the elders came to him and challenged him. “What right have you to do these things? Who gave you this right?” In other words or comically one could put it this way “Look, we’ve had it with you. You ride into town acting like the Messiah. You disrupt the activities in the temple. You accept praise and worship from little kids, and you curse an innocent fig tree. Who do you think you are? By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority?”

Well, let’s have a deeper look at these questions.

1. The Chief priests and the elders are feeling threatened by the presence of Jesus on their patch.

2. They felt resentment towards Jesus as Jesus did not attend the same college and trained in the same way as they trained. In fact, Jesus doesn’t need the type of rabbinic training and study like ordinary men.

3. Their popularity has gone down; crowds no longer take them serious, instead followed Jesus.

With these embellished mindset the Pharisees, Sadducees, chief priests and elders, who are all sometimes sworn enemies suddenly became friends and united in one purpose, to challenge Jesus and disturbed the salvific process for which our Lord was sent.

Application: Christians today must be wary of people who see you as a threat. In fact, whilst Christians must be wary of people with embellished mindset, we can also take courage and pride that we are doing something right. You see, brothers and sisters, the devil, Satan and indeed all his servants of darkness in our world today are not afraid of people who are not Christians, they are not afraid or feel threatened by people who are disloyal to God, no, they are not afraid of people who call God’s authority over their lives into question, because such disloyal people are not a threat to the devil and his kingdom, rather, they are already part of the devil’s kingdom of darkness. However, as we see, from the behaviour of the chief priests and elders who challenged Jesus, they only challenged Jesus authority because they perceived Jesus as a threat.

If you think Satan or people of the world feel resentment towards you, take heart, and be of courage as the Lord Jesus was in the same situation as you are. Do not be afraid, as the Lord will provide strength for you in your hour of need.

So back to their original questions, “what right have you to do these things? Who gave you this right?” It’s a trapped question. If Jesus says “God gave me the authority,” the chief priests and elders will say “You’re a lunatic. God never tell anyone to do the things you’ve been doing!”

And if Jesus says “I acted on my own authority, the leaders will say “You’re a heretic! Who do you think you are to act on your own accord?” They think they have trapped Jesus and got him where they wanted, with the crowd as witnesses.

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