A reading for Wednesday, December 4: Matthew 21:23-32

Authority is a difficult concept for us.  We are a culture that values freedom and independence over authority, and sometimes the idea that somebody has authority over us doesn't sit well.  Especially when it comes to faith, we make our own decisions.

In the ancient world, however, authority was expected.  It was part of life.  There were just those who had power over others.  That's just the way things were.

So the question to Jesus about his authority is not an illegitimate one in and of itself.  The priests were obligated to inquire about such things.  Jesus too would have been obligated to offer his answer. Yet he doesn't...

Instead, he challenges them not that they don't have authority over religious teaching but that they aren't using it appropriately.  They are lording over the people with political infighting and abusing their authority by failing to observe God's ways for life.

Jesus reminds them with a pointed story that others might even have more authority over such things because they have answered the call to life life differently, even those that such religious leaders would not expect.  For Jesus the authority for faith comes from God and God's ways for life.

What is the source of our authority?  Are we using it appropriately?  Are we abusing it?  Are we even aware that we have it?

The good news is that our authority is Jesus Christ, who was in the form of Almighty God, but who chose to use his authority for devotion to others, even dying for them on a cross.  It is our mission to do the same.  We are not solely independent, but belong to Christ who grants us the abundance of life, even life forevermore.  To God be the Glory!


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