Monday, December 16, 2013

“Modern intelligence won't accept anything on authority. But it will accept anything without authority.”

“Don't be scared by the word authority. Believing things on authority only means believing them because you've been told them by someone you think trustworthy. - ― C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity

Gospel Text: (MT 21:23-27)
When Jesus had come into the temple area,
the chief priests and the elders of the people approached him
as he was teaching and said,
“By what authority are you doing these things?
And who gave you this authority?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“I shall ask you one question, and if you answer it for me,
then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things.
Where was John’s baptism from?
Was it of heavenly or of human origin?”
They discussed this among themselves and said,
“If we say ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say to us,
‘Then why did you not believe him?’
But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we fear the crowd,
for they all regard John as a prophet.”
So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.”
He himself said to them,
“Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

After reading today’s gospel from Matthew, the theme that stuck the most was the concept of authority. What scenarios exist in your life when your authority is called into question? It could be a situation where your motives are questioned, a scenario when you had a disagreement, or when someone doesn’t see things the same way you do.

Do we ever find ourselves caught in the dilemma similar to that of the religious leaders in today’s gospel? In other words, do we say we believe Jesus to be truly the Son of God, but live daily life as though that were not so? What difference will it make to me in my routine today to say that Jesus is the Son of God? Will I let him have “authority” over me, my schedule and my choices today?

There are times when we can become blinded to Jesus’ authority—and to the authority he has given us. We don’t necessarily question his awesome power. We’re just not sure he’ll use us to demonstrate it. We may have an “inner Pharisee” who tells us, “Keep your faith to yourself”. But if we focus too much on ourselves or what others think about us, we will become reluctant to step out and take a risk.

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