“By what authority are you doing these things?” That’s the question isn’t it? The one question upon which hinges the Christian faith and the Church which professes it. By what authority? There are those who with a sneer will say, “by his own authority,” and chalk Christianity up to the selfish desires of a man from Nazareth. Others will laugh at the possibility of the resurrection and say, “by the authority of his followers.” For those of us in the Church, who confess Jesus Christ as Lord, the answer is quite simple, by the authority of the LORD, God Almighty.
The struggle between Jesus and the Temple all comes down to authority. They each claimed the authority of God. One group, the Temple, claimed that through adherence to the laws, handed by God to Moses, and perfected by the tradition, a good Jew could be saved. Jesus, on the other hand, claimed that through adherence to the law of love, all of creation could be saved. The Temple sees these two ways as mutually exclusive, and the only way to exert their authority is to rid themselves of the rival party.
Ironically, in order to exert their authority, the Temple must first abdicate it by reaching out to the true authority, Rome, for the punishment they desire. Jesus shows the authority of love through the ultimate sacrifice; dying for us while we were still sinners. Come Friday, it’ll look like Jesus had no real authority at all, but come Sunday, the truth will ring out. Jesus Christ is Lord!