x143......By What Authority?
23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? 24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? 26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. 27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things. (Matthew 21: 23-27)
Jesus, in these verses of the Bible, is being questioned by "the chief priests and the elders" as to where--or from whom He has received the authority to teach in the temple.
They were questioning Him because they were the delegated authority within that temple--they held the "office of the high priest"--they were the official "authority" over the rest of Israel --"appointed and anointed" to teach within the temple.
This is the same situation some of us have faced when we wish to teach or speak the word of God within our churches today--We are asked--"Are you the delegated authority in this place?" In the pastoral system that we choose to rule the church, we strongly follow after the very same ideas about ministry and authority over others that the high priests and the elders of Israel did.
We are trying to operate the new testament church by the old testament concepts of ministry, leadership and authority. By teaching in the temple, Jesus, a non-Levite, was disobeying the law of God--apparently. Of course we know that He was by His actions demonstrating a change in ministry from the Old Testament to the New--In the new covenant all believers are "made kings and priests unto God" (Revelation 1:6 & 5:10)--this is a big and important change from the Old to New Covenant. The authority of God is now to all them that believe--not just to the Levites--the right to serve God--to do ministry--is not just for "some" people--not just for those of the tribe of Levi--but rather now ministry--(teaching in this case)--is now "unto every one of us"--not just for the Levites--the anointed appointed delegated authority within Israel.
The question that we pose is this: do we still operate the new covenant church of today by the principles of old covenant leadership , ministry and authority?
Jesus, born of the tribe of Judah, had no lawful right to teach or minister within the temple--He had no authority to do this--this is why the elders and priests are asking Him this question.
I believe that Jesus does not answer the question because He was not yet to reveal Himself as the Messiah--He could not answer the truth which would be that He was the Messiah--come as the Servant of God--to bring in the New Covenant with His blood. Rather he left this revelation to be brought forth by His apostles--after he went to the cross--specifically by the apostle Paul when he wrote extensively about the new covenant in the book of Hebrews. This book clearly tells us that the new covenant is brought forth through a new priesthood--or rather a priesthood which predates the Levites--Jesus is a high priest by he order of Melchisedeck--a man who predated the Levites. His priesthood is better that theirs, His sacrifice is better than theirs, and the book of Hebrews clearly states that these aspects of the old covenant are to be done away with--Levitcal priesthoood--blood animal sacrifices--all offering for sin (which was the substance of the tithe!)--and authority to be given only to the Levites--the high priests and elders of Israel.
But lets' read on it the Bible--directly after Jesus speaks to the elders and priests--He speaks a parable--
28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. 29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. 30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. 31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him. (Matthew 21:23-32, KJV).
33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet. (Matthew 21:33-46, KJV).
Both these parables relate the rejection of Jesus by the Jews--the rejection of Him as Messiah--and also the rejection of His teaching--His ministry--His right to minister--His authority to teach.
43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
The nation that the kingdom of God has now been given to is the church, the body of Christ. We are here on the earth to bring in God's kingdom--to serve God --all of us--by bringing in the fruits of His kingdom--by harvesting souls for His kingdom--to function in the authority that Jesus, a non-Levite, functioned with.
But to this day--we operate our churches by the old covenant rules and concepts--when we question one another's authority--when we believe that with the church there is a "delegated authority"--an "anointed and appointed authority" --who is "over us"---we render ourselves outside of the new covenant blessings which are supposed to be to all of us.
We can preach empowerment from the pulpit from now until doomsday--as long as the pulpit is in place, the empowerment will not be real.
Hebrews 5:12* For when for the time ye ought to be teachers....."
This simple statement shows the intent of the Bible New Covenant church---"by this time all of you ought to be teachers"--but we would rather question one anothers authority to teach--to believe that teaching is only for "some" within the church--yet the New Testament Bible questions a group of Christians for not all being teachers!
But we would rather pretend that the pastor is the Levite. It's much more comfortable for all of us. We can ignore what Jesus did--and continue in the "half-way" move of God that makes us so comfortable. That makes some of us take ona job that God never asked anyone to do--and allows the rest of us to live 6 days in the world, and have one morning of watching God on an altar.