If I had to hear “because I said so" from my parents I knew I was going to explode! I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all heard that a few more times than we ever wanted. I have children and now I hear it again every time I say it. But now I can honestly say I get why my parents would say that; they had the right to say it, they had been given that authority. But I think I was confused on what they were trying to accomplish when they said “because I said so.” I always took it as “you must do what I say because I’m in charge.” They had every right to say that because they WERE in charge, but I think there was a deeper message behind their words. They weren't trying to be dictators. They were trying to get me to listen to them and follow their rules because they knew what was best for me. I’m sure it was really frustrating when I questioned their authority.
I wonder if Jesus experienced similar frustration? Like in Matthew 21 when he’s teaching in the temple after having just told everyone to stop these unacceptable behaviors (trading money, selling animals, etc.) and he's approached by the chief priests and elders. They come to Jesus and we read in verse 23, they ask “by what authority are you doing these things? … And who gave you this authority?” I picture Jesus, with a frustrated look on His face, saying “Wait, what? Where do I get my authority? Why do you question me? Have you not seen my miracles? Have you not seen me cast out demons, heal the sick, make the lame walk, make the blind see? All I’ve wanted is for you to see the truth because I know what’s best for you. Instead, you just question me.” I could see that being his response to someone who is ignorant or to someone who just doesn’t get it. The chief priests aren't stupid. They know what Jesus has done. They don’t like it one bit. They are trying to trap Jesus. Get him to stumble on his own words so they can have him charged with blasphemy. Instead, Jesus responds with his own lose/lose question for them so they have to answer the question for themselves. He knows their evil intent. They don’t deserve an answer from Jesus. The next time you find yourself questioning who Jesus is or why we have to live a certain way remember that Jesus gets his authority from a loving, eternal Father. Remember that Jesus knows what’s best for us.
Prayer: God, thank you so much for giving your Son the authority to make decisions, enforce rules, and to oversee right and wrong. Thank you for sending him to turn his life over for us so that we can enjoy heaven with you. I’m sorry for questioning your authority. I’m sorry for acting like the chief priests. Help me to remember that you know what’s best for me and that’s why you give us rules and guidelines. We pray these things in your name, amen.
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?”
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. 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?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.