“Jesus said, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.’”
The array of religious leaders asked Jesus by what authority He was doing what He was doing. Jesus was healing people, teaching people and most recently, driving people out of the temple who would have been better placed in the marketplace. Authority was a big deal to these men. As far as they knew, none of them had given Jesus the authority to do what He was doing. Jesus’ authority could be easily seen, however, even by them. They recognized it for sure! He had great influence over the crowds of people. They felt it since it was slipping out of their hands and into His! Jesus’ question about John’s baptism placed them in a quandary (Mark 11:31-32). There was a simple solution for them. If they would have been concerned about pleasing God rather than people, answering Jesus wouldn’t have been a big deal. Either you can live for God and be concerned mostly what He thinks, or you can play the political game and be concerned about what people think. The religious leaders’ obsession with authority and power over people makes it clear where they landed.
True spiritual authority comes as I listen and follow God. My greatest concern is to please Him. Not that I try to displease people, but pleasing them is a distance second to pleasing God. To not have this straight could lead me potentially to be like the religious leaders in Mark 11. They used God’s Name and Scripture to hold authority over people without actually responding to God’s authority themselves. I don’t want this! If I get this right, people will respond to my leadership because I am following Christ. The change is not with God nor people – the necessary change comes within me. I am sure that people will be pleased (most of them) if my priority is to please God. The ones who will not be pleased may need to get this issue right themselves.
Father, help me to follow You whole heartedly today and to be concerned with pleasing You. I want to love You and love people; bearing that good fruit that you would like to produce through me.