(Matthew 21:23-27)

Prayer: O Jesus, you have all authority in heaven and earth.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching in the temple, confronted by the temple authorities.)


The day before, Jesus had cleansed the temple. As he comes back, the temple authorities want to know by what authority he took that action. Jesus avoids answering this question. Instead, he shames the leaders. They are embarrassed by their mistakes concerning the Baptist’s authority.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders asked, “By what authority do you do these things? Who has given you the authority?”

Jesus responded, “I have a question. If you answer it, I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Where did the Baptism of John come from? Did it come from man or from heaven?

They thought within, “If we say from heaven, he will ask ‘Then, why did you not believe?’ But if we say, ‘From men’, we are afraid of the crowds because all believed that John was a prophet.” So they said to Jesus, “We do not know”. Jesus said to them, “Then, neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. The temple authorities also strenuously resisted Jesus’ message.
  2. The temple needed a cleansing and the leaders resented Jesus’ purifying action.
  3. They attack the messenger, trying to discredit Jesus.
  4. However, they had foolishly resisted John the Baptist whom the people had accepted.
  5. Jesus’ reply catches them off-guard. They know they were wrong the first time.
  6. If they were mistaken about John, they are probably mistaken about Jesus.
  7. Jesus does not need to reply. They are discredited.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Cleanse my temple, Lord. I will not object at all.
  2. Jesus, I will not resist your message.
  3. Jesus, you have all authority. Your every word is eternal life.
  4. Lord, do not let me repeat past mistakes.
  5. My choosing you is no mistake. You are Messiah and Lord.
  6. Your message is from heaven, where you will take me soon.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

I will admit my past mistakes so I do not repeat them.

I will give Jesus total authority over my life.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Did John’s message come from men or from heaven?