Summary: An authentic biblical community submits to the authority of Jesus.

His Name is Jesus – Part 1

March 3, 2002

Big Idea: An authentic biblical community submits to the authority of Jesus.


A. When I was a kid, we had a way of putting someone in their place if they got a little bossy. Let’s say on the playground at recess a big game of kickball is being formed. Jimmy is a boy on one of the teams, and he thinks he knows a lot about kickball. He’s telling all of the other kids on his team what to do. “You! Play 2nd base on defense.” Later he says, “After you catch a fly ball throw the ball to me!” And reprimands a teammate, “You should have kicked the ball to the left side of field!” And on it goes. Until finally, Susie, a member of his team gets fed up and says, “Who died and made you boss?”

B. The TV show Survivor kicked off again this past week with Survivor Marquesas. It was interesting to see people’s roles within their tribes start to emerge immediately after arriving at the island. The Rotu tribe couldn’t get a fire started the first night. However one lady named Kathy thought she knew how to make a fire. She’d say, “Not like that. You’re doing that wrong. Like this!” The look on the faces of her teammates seemed to suggest, “Who made you boss?”

C. When Jesus entered Jerusalem for what would be the last week of his life he immediately went to the Jewish Temple.

And there he engaged in a little purification demonstration. He overturned the tables of the money changers and drove out all the people who were selling animals for sacrifice at unfair prices. They set up their tables and their cages and their market stalls in the area of the temple that was called the court of the Gentiles. So these non-Jewish people who wanted to worship God were greatly hindered from using the temple for its intended purpose. Jesus single-handedly drove out this crowd while saying “My house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘den of robbers.’” (Luke 19:46)

TRANSITION: Quite understandably, this little incident brought about some questions on Monday morning.

READ V. 1-2

1One day as he was teaching the people in the temple courts and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. 2“Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?”


A big group of Jewish leaders came and found Jesus to ask him, “Who authorized you to do what you did in the temple? We have the temple police force stationed to protect its sanctity.”

In other words, “Jesus, who died and made you boss?”

“Who told you that you could act like this?”

That question is behind all human behavior. When you refine any issue down to its essentials, what you have left is the whole issue of authority in life.

Why do you act the way you do? How do you justify what you do and say?

Whether we are have taken the time to examine the issue or not, something compels us – something governs our decisions. When we deal with the issue of authority, we are dealing with what is absolutely basic and fundamental to all human behavior.

Jesus’ answer to the Jewish leaders is amazing…

Verse 3 – I will also ask you a question. Tell me, John’s baptism – was it from heaven or of human origin? (TNIV)

He’s referring to John the Baptist. Notice He asked about the baptism of John, not the ministry of John. John’s baptism was something new, different and startling. It was something that had never occurred before. The Jewish priests had many ritual washings, but these were always performed in the temple. John wasn’t a priest, yet he baptized – and he did it out in the open – in rivers and streams.

Because John’s baptism was something new, it would immediately raise the question, “By what authority do you give us this new ritual in Israel?”

So Jesus asks, “What do you think of this innovation of John’s? Was is from God, or did it have earthly origins?” It was a question to see if they were capable of recognizing God’s authority when they saw it.

Read v. 5-6

5They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ 6But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.”

No matter what they said, they were trapped.

Read v. 7-8

7So they answered, “We don’t know where it was from.”

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