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I Have a Question for You

Daily Reading: Matthew 21

Scripture Focus: And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” (Matthew 21:23)

Devotional Thought: Jesus' very entry into the city on a colt clearly signaled his identity as the king, the son of David. The Jews would have recognized this as a fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. And yet, the religious leaders continued to challenge the authority of Jesus.

They were understandably stirred up after Jesus cleansed the temple, overturning the tables of the money-changers. How blinded we are by our own self-righteousness at times! The chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things Jesus did, how he was healing the blind and the lame, and heard the praise he was receiving, and they were indignant. Their priorities had shifted from worship of the Lord to profiting from the spiritual needs of others. What misplaced indignation!

They challenged him, asking him who gave him the authority to do these things. Jesus answered their question by asking them a question, designed to guide them to think through the answer for themselves. This is such a wise response, and one that Jesus uses often. When we are trying to persuade others of the truth of the gospel, would this also be more effective for us? Rather than engage in heated arguments that get us nowhere and leave everyone feeling defensive and furious (I’m thinking mostly of the arguing that happens on social media and elsewhere online), why not respond to the challengers of our faith by getting to the root of their own beliefs? This gives us a much better starting point. It helps us gain the trust of others as they see that we are interested in their perspective and not just in forcing our own beliefs on them. This was a technique used by Jesus himself, so let’s adopt it ourselves as we spread the good news!


Prayer: Lord, please give us wisdom as we witness to the lost around us. Give us a heart of humility, full of confidence in you and you alone. And let us speak only the words that your Spirit would have us to say.

Psalm of the Day: 6 You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep. 7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah 8 You have caused my companions to shun me; you have made me a horror to them. I am shut in so that I cannot escape; 9 my eye grows dim through sorrow. Every day I call upon you, O LORD; I spread out my hands to you. 10 Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah 11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon? 12 Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? (Psalms 88:6-12)

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