Daily Devotional

By What Authority?

Jesus had healed blind Bartimaeus. He had gone into Jerusalem in a processional on a donkey, a celebration fitting for a king. He had done His wild cleansing of the temple, knocking things over and driving people out. He claimed the temple as His Father’s own, and He taught the people there as one in authority.

The next time He came to Jerusalem He was challenged by the chief priests, scribes, and elders.

And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple,
the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him,
and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things,
or who gave you this authority to do them?” Mark 11:27–28 ESV

Jesus in turn challenged them with a question about the origin and authority of John the Baptist. They would not answer. So He refused to give them an answer to their question.

Lynn and I got saved in separate encounters in our house in 1976. Six years later we heard the call for me to become a pastor. The salvation came from God. The pastoral call came from God. A few months later the church would acknowledge it. A month after that the church ordained me, and I took on the role as their pastor, a position I held for 16 years.

But where did my authority come from? If it was from the people of the church, I am in trouble. If it was through the leaders and pastors in the denomination, then I am only a pawn and a figurehead to them. Our salvation came from God. The anointing to become a pastor came from God. The call to take a pastoral role came from God. If I took that role beholden to men, I could be God’s servant. I then would only tell them what they wanted to hear, that I might please those who selected and appointed me. But God told me what to do. He directed me on what to preach. I followed Jesus as I led in that church.

We need to be extremely careful in our day. In the verses cited from Mark, Jesus’ authority was challenged. The very men who were the overseers of God’s people, who should have been the first to discern the work of the Father in Jesus, could not accept it and fought against it.

As present-day believers, we must be careful about our dogma, our denominational preferences, and our favorite doctrinal treatises written by men. Let us not draw our boxes too small, nor color our lines too darkly. Let us not be puffed up in our learning and our knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies (I Corinthians 8:1, NASB).

It is the most natural thing to become an authority unto ourselves, and then become those who can no longer hear God. We can become the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of our day, imprisoned by the very tenets of faith and the Word that are supposed to bring light and life. This group of leaders should have been the first to hear, but they stopped up their ears and crucified Jesus!

By what authority shall we live? It cannot be by some doctrinal book, pet dogmatic positions, or denominational demands. Our authority is God alone, one person by one person. We can never serve Him if we have to serve all those other entities.

May the Spirit of God drive us and the truth from God’s word lead us. Mat it all be a source of wondrous life and fruitfulness. Always hearing God. Always following Christ. Rejoicing and singing as we go! Not to us, but to You be the glory!
Read: Zechariah 2:3–5, John 14:16–31, I John 2:20–29, Revelation 1:4–8
Sing: Lord, Achieve Your Holy Purpose, Jimmy & Carol Owens.
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

"New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation"