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The Authority of Jesus

John Collins04/13/2012
Matthew 21 tells the story of how Jesus hungered on his return to the city.  Passing by a fig tree along the way, he went to it and found nothing on the branches except leaves.

Jesus looked at it and said, "May no fruit ever come from you again!"  The fig tree withered right before their very eyes.

When the disciples saw it, they were amazed.  "How did the fig tree wither at once?" they asked.  Jesus responded that if they have faith, and do not doubt, they could do not only the same thing to the fig tree, but much greater things.  They could tell a mountain to lit up and be thrown into the sea, and it would happen.  Jesus told them anything that they asked in prayer would be received if they had faith.

As He entered the temple, the chief priests and elders came forward through the crowd to ask Him who gave the authority to do these things.  They asked by what authority He did these things.

Jesus answered them, "I will also ask you one question.  If you can tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things:  The baptism of John, where did it come from?  From heaven, or from man?"

They discussed it amongst themselves, careful how to answer.  If they answered 'from heaven', Jesus would then ask them why they did not believe in Him.  If they answered 'from man', then the crowd would be angered.  All in the crowd believed that John was a prophet.

They answered, "We do not know."  

Jesus replied, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."

As Christians, we should ask ourselves: Do we think that answer to prayer comes only through men we respect, or do we realize that we have the same access to God?  Do we think that a pastor or evangelist has a faster channel to God for divine healing?  Do we think that they have more authority to ask God for the things we need in prayer?  Shouldn't we be close enough to God to ask Him ourselves?  As Jesus asked, does the authority come from heaven, or from man?