The Authority of Jesus.

`J.B.'s Sermon
Matthew 21:23-32
Jesus' Authority Questioned”

One of the most important things for a Christian to appreciate is the Authority of Jesus and what it means to us today. This is not a trivial matter and goes to the heart of whether we walk in spiritual victory or if we live by our wits and our flawed human ability.

Before we analyse the gospel reading perhaps we should consider what the Authority of Christ represents. Let's look at Acts 3:16..

Act 3:16 “And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all”.

When we pray “in Jesus' name” we are saying that we are praying in and with the Authority of Jesus.

When we mean it and have faith, seemingly miracles occur. In His name, the result will be: the lame walk; the deaf hear; the blind see; and we preach the gospel! Many follow and become disciples.

This is what Jesus said that believers would be able to do. Believers, not pretenders! Believers who have faith in His name!

So realising the power behind the Authority of Jesus we can look at the Gospel reading above and see why the Pharisees sought to undermine this authority - the Authority of Jesus!

In today's Gospel reading we were told that those unbelievers asked Him, “By what Authority do you do your miracles”?

Mat 21:23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

Previously ,they had tried to claim that Jesus cast out devils by the power and authority of Beelzebub (Satan). Jesus turning that claim back on them showed in front of everyone that they were skating on “thin ice “ or speaking carelessly, by attributing the works of the Holy Spirit to Satan!

This time they try to get Him to state categorically where His Authority came from, so they would have concrete evidence with which to build a case against Him!

Jesus knew their wiles though. Remember He told them on another occasion that they were of their father, the Devil! So Jesus was not fooled and turns this question back on them, by asking, “Where do you say John got his Authority?”

It was “Check Mate”. They could not answer! One answer would indite them and the alternative would inflame the crowd! They were caught between a rock and a hard place and so said: “We do not know!”

Jesus then used the opportunity to teach the crowd and the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God is not made up of people who say they obey God but in fact serve themselves. Rather it's made up of people who have been at odds with God but have repented and now actually obey Him out of love. He said to them....

Mat 21: 28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ 29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

Therein is a lesson for us today. Which group are we most like?

Are we like the Pharisees who specialized in looking good while lining their own pockets with things meant for God, as in Luke 7:11; or are we like the tax collectors and prostitutes of Jesus' day who believed, repented, turned to God, and were made righteous. Not having their own self-righteousness but the righteousness that comes from God.

And what did those who exercised faith in the Name or Authority of Jesus achieve?

They healed the sick; cleansed lepers, raised the dead; and cast out demons! Not bad for ordinary folk like tax collectors and fishermen! They passed on the method to those simple believers (like us)who wanted to become disciples.

The Name or Authority of Jesus through faith in that Name and Authority will make people whole and do all the things that Jesus did!

We know where Jesus got His authority. He said that He could do nothing by Himself, but Holy Spirit did the works through Him.

Well Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth and has delegated that Authority for us to use, if we believe.

My brothers and sisters in 2 Timothy 3:16 – We read:

2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of god, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”

We all have Holy Spirit within us just as Jesus did. He said that He was sending us out into the world Just as the Father sent Him.

Do you want to have an excellent life full of glory and success? There is a way..follow God's word and do not neglect the details in His instructions. Always remember that His wisdom is greater than man's wisdom; therefore be sensitive to the guidance given in His word, and by the Holy Spirit, and you will have a beautiful and exceptional life, gloriously fulfilling His call and destiny for your life now, and for Eternity!

If Jesus said it.

I believe it.

So that settles it!

All the blessings, promises, power and authority that we have as believers is set out in our manual, the BIBLE!

I trust that we are all reading it and getting to know the charter that Jesus has given you. Then as you learn and believe in your heart I trust that you will put into practice what you learn the believer is capable of doing! As shown in....

Acts 19: 11-12 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.

Because one of these days Jesus will come to judge the world and He'll be asking the question...

What good did you do for Heaven's sake”.

I'll let you punctuate that in the manner that suits you!

We are, my brothers, and sisters,a new creation! ...we come Sunday after Sunday to worship , praise, honour, love and bless His Holy name! We encourage and show loving kindness to one another. We partake of HOLY COMMUNION in imitation of Jesus as we put faith in Him.

A new creation who draws close to God and so does all the works that Jesus did. And, as we grow in grace even greater things will be done.

My Sermon, my preaching is not with enticing words of man's wisdom but as 2 Corinthians 2:4 states- “in demonstration of the spirit and of power”!

The wisdom of God, gives insight into esoteric events; things that people of the world find difficult to comprehend. It is called living in consonance with the word.

You received the wisdom of God when you were born again-

I urge you,my brothers and sisters ,put that wisdom to work today----stir it up by reading ,meditating and speaking the word of God----BELIEVE and be doers of the word and not hearers only !

And so,

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God,and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all now and forever”.