By what authority?
Verses 1-2, “Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?”
“That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1.9).
Solomon had it right. Many people say what amounts to the same thing today. The words may be different, but the heart attitude is the same, a refusal to recognize the authority of God and His Word.
“What right do you have to impose your religion on me?”
“What makes you think the Bible is true?”
“By what authority do you have a National Day of Prayer?”
“How can you say that Jesus is the only way to heaven?”
But before we get too self-righteous about the words and attitudes of non-believers, we need to first take the logs out of our own eyes.
“I know what the Bible says, but …”
“This is 2016 …”
“Me … submit to my husband. What if he’s wrong?”
“What’s wrong with living together? A marriage license is just a piece of paper.”
“Sex isn’t wrong if you’re committed to each other.”
I read a book recently and one of the chapters started out like this, “There is a God. I’m not him.” A simple truth, yet we constantly choose to go our own way, believing we can make our own rules as if the Bible is a book of divine suggestions.
Abuse of Authority
But what about the abuse of authority? How should one respond when mistreated, falsely accused or abused?
Mistreatment and abuse of authority happens in a fallen world. It isn’t anything new. The Israelites were enslaved in Egypt for the better part of 400 years. The Jews were mistreated, beaten, killed and enslaved by the Babylonians, the Romans, and others. They were imprisoned, stripped of rights, property, and even life itself, by Hitler and his henchmen. Today they are hated by various Islamic groups and nations who are determined to see them annihilated.
Nations from every continent in the world have been enslaved and abused by other tribes and nations at various times in history. Ungodly people with power and authority have often abused that power.
Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
So what should Christians do?
Well, first we should stand up when others are mistreated, especially those who can’t defend themselves. The Bible specifically mentions widows and orphans. I believe this speaks directly to unborn babies. We can stand up in this area by educating ourselves through organizations like the Life Training Institute and learning how to respond to desperate unwed mothers and their boyfriends in a loving, yet truthful way. We can stand up by supporting our local pro-life organizations. Here in El Paso the Pregnancy Help Center does great work to protect the unborn and minister to their mothers, fathers, and those who have suffered the pain of abortion already.
When we’re mistreated
And how should we respond when we are mistreated or have been in the past? The book of 1 Peter has some things to say on that subject. Continue reading