“CHRIST’S AUTHORITY REJECTED BY REBELS BUT RECEIVED BY THE HUMBLE”
Christ’s authority while only questioned in the last section of this chapter seems to be what the writer wants to engage. First, Jesus enters Jerusalem on the back of a colt (vv.1-11) and the people are shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD, Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David, Hosanna in the highest” (vv.9-10) is a Messianic allusion.
Second, the cursing of the fig tree as it pertains to the power of believing prayer is stunning (vv.12-14; 20-26) and also seems to point to Christ’s authority over nature. Third, the zeal of Christ for God’s house caused him to get angry at the merchandising of the holy, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the Nations, but you have made it a robbers den”. (vv.15-18) Jesus is ‘cleaning house’ without permission—from the established religious hierarchy, but this also is a demonstration of authority. Yet, the authorities upon hearing this wanted to kill Jesus (v.18).
Fourth, the inquiry by the scribes and elders is telling:
“By what authority are You doing these things [meaning his teaching and actions], or who gave You this authority to do these things?” (v.28)
I think Jesus knew they knew the answer to the question and thus answers with a question concerning the origin of John’s baptism—from heaven or man? Is this not the principle question to resolve when hearing religious truth claims? Do they originate in God the Creator or in mankind the creature?
Implied is that the former is greater than the latter and to not submit is madness. Nevertheless, many refuse to submit as the religious rulers demonstrate. The age old question Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do men say that I am” remains to be the single most important question to resolve. Why is this? The reason is because the extraordinary claims of Jesus’ identity and subsequent works point to us that Emanuel has come—God with us. That is, the word became flesh, the Son of David, the Light of the world, the Savior of souls, the Suffering Servant, the Triumphant King has come.
Jesus is offensive to rebels but he’s a delight to the contrite of heart. His authority is what all will eventually come under either willingly—unto joy everlasting, or reluctantly—into eternal doom.
Teach me Lord to submit to your authority in my life, keep my heart from rebelling against you since you are Messiah, and where the “fig tree” is barren of kingdom fruit, use me to awaken said dead souls.