"By what authority are You (Jesus) doing these things? And who gave You this authority?" —Matthew 23:23
There are two ways to ask the above questions. One way is to honestly examine the astounding works Jesus did and to humbly seek out the source of His power (see Acts 17:11). Such an individual wants to know Jesus' ultimate authority because he wishes to submit to it. This person can be said to be seeking the Father.
Another way to ask these questions is not so much to find out the true answer, but to inquire with the aim of handcuffing Jesus and preventing Him from exercising further authority. Such individuals wish to control their own lives, and don't want interference from Jesus or the heavenly Father (see Jn 5:40). As long as the Lord allows things to go as they prefer, they will allow Him to continue to work in their lives. When the Lord takes authority in a manner opposed to their will, they start asking questions. Modern versions of these 2000-year-old questions might be:
- "My sins aren't as bad as hers. Who are these people to say I should go to Confession?"
- "Who gave the Church the right to say that I can't use birth control?"
- "So I cheated on my taxes. The Church gets enough money from me. Who does Father Smith think he is to tell me how to run my finances?"
Sadly, when we question Jesus for the purpose of tying His hands in our lives, He will respect our decision for quite some time — before He exercises final authority on Judgment Day. May many thousands of people accept Jesus' authority today, while there is still time.
Prayer: Father, have Your way in my life. I am all Yours.
Promise: "Good and upright is the Lord, Who shows sinners the way." —Ps 25:8
Praise: Ron returned to the Lord and the Church after an absence of many years, thanks to the quiet, persistent prayers of his mother.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend David L. Zink, June 12, 2002
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 13, 2002