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On good authority

Cross questions

Even people in positions of trust are required to show official credentials

PEOPLE are not always taken at face value nowadays. Practically every facet of everyday life requires some proof of identity. We need it to purchase our season tickets and bus pass and many employees have to wear a name badge in the workplace. Even people in authority and positions of trust, such as police officers, are required to show some form of official credentials when called to an incident.

The religious authorities in Jesus’ time, the Pharisees and Sadducees, soon recognised Jesus as a threat to their own influence and authority. In contrast, the crowds recognised him ‘as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law’ (Matthew 7:29 New International Version).

The authorities took every opportunity to criticise if they saw Jesus or his fol­lowers stray one iota away from what the Jewish Law dictated. And when he had the temerity to tell a paralysed man that his sins were forgiven, they were furious. Just who did he think he was – God?

Jesus replied: ‘The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’, and he told the man to get up and go home (see 9:1–8).

This conflict intensified. After his tri­umphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus over­turned the tables of the money changers in the Temple and instead used it as a place of healing.

Matters came to a head when he returned the next day to teach in the Temple. The chief priests and the elders of the people came to him, asking: ‘By what authority are you doing these things? … Who gave you this authority?’ (21:23).

Jesus replied with a question that he knew full well they could not answer.

When they failed to respond, Jesus said: ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things’ (21:27).

While the religious leaders were less than impressed by Jesus, the people whose lives he changed were in no doubt of his divine authority. Neither were the people who heard him describe God the Father in a way they had never heard before.

What more evidence do we need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God?

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