3rd Week of Advent
Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17; Psalm 25:4-9;Matthew 21:23-27
Who gave you this authority?
Have you ever seen people wearing dark glasses when there is no bright sunlight? It makes you wonder about their motivation. Perhaps they want to be able to look into other people’s eyes without being seen themselves. Or perhaps they think it’s “cool.” In any case, they surely can’t be seeing what you’re seeing. Because they see only a bland version of reality, they are missing out on much of the beauty in God’s creation.
Those unfortunate people are like the Pharisees who asked Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things?” (Matthew 21:22). They just couldn’t seem to see God at work in him. He wasn’t one of the “established” teachers, and he talked too much about loving the poor. He made outrageous claims about God being merciful to everyone and expected the people to be just as forgiving. So although Jesus’ question about John’s baptism challenged them, they weren’t about to lose any credibility in front of this upstart!
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” or “You’re too sinful to be a good example.” 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.
But Jesus needs our witness. The world needs the living testimony of people who go about “doing the stuff” of Christianity with joy, peace, and confidence. It may be hard to believe, but you can become one of those people. It may not happen overnight, but it can happen over time.
Start today. Look for one situation where you can inject a sense of hope. Even if all you do is tell someone in a rough situation that you will pray for him or her, you are opening a door for the Lord to work. Step by step, you’ll gain more confidence in God’s grace—and in his ability to work wonders through you.
“Lord, open my eyes to authority you’ve given me as your child: authority to speak and act boldly in your name. Give me the courage to proclaim your truth and love.”