Reading: Luke 20.1-19
Scripture: "Tell us by what authority you are doing these things," they said. "Who gave you this authority?" He replied, "I will also ask you a question: Tell me, John's baptism - was it from heaven, or from men?" - Luke 20.2-3
Observations: The religious establishment in Jerusalem decided to have a talk with Jesus in order to put him in his place. Who did he think he was coming into their city and harassing the temple merchants? He responded to their questions with a brilliant question of his own which put them in predicament. As John the Baptist didn't need their approval, neither did Jesus need it. He followed his question to them with a pointed story that left no doubt where he claimed his authority came from and what he thought of them.
These leaders were merely religious politicians who were only concerned about pleasing the people in order to hold on to their power. Jesus, on the other hand, wasn't concerned about political power because he knew from where is authority came. Pleasing his Father and loving the outcasts and underdogs were the motives of his heart.
Apply: Political power comes from pleasing (and using) people. Authority comes from pleasing God and loving people with pure motives. Self-sacrifice rather than personal power is the true test of a person's motives.
Prayer: Lord, help us to lay down our desire for personal power and popularity and fill us with your genuine love for others.