Commentaries
English
Matthew
  
4. Jesus Questioned by the Elders of the Jews
(Matthew 21:23-27)
23Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” (Mark11:27-33, Luke20:1-8, John2:18, Acts4:7)


The religious leaders were confused when Christ cleansed the temple, and they discussed how to arrest Him. Yet, Christ slept safely outside the city and taught publicly in the temple and taught publicly in the midst of His enemies.
The chief priests and the elders (that is, the judges of the two distinct courts) were Jesus’ primary adversaries. The chief priests comprised the ecclesiastical court and presided over all matters of the Law. The elders of the people were judges of the civil courts who handled civil matters (2 Chronicles 19:5, 7, 11). These two groups united to attack Christ. How sad that the governors in both religion and state, who should have been the promoters of the Messiah’s kingdom, were in fact the opponents of it! Here we see them disturbing Jesus “when He was preaching.” They would neither receive His instructions themselves, nor let others receive them. An official delegation from the supreme council came to interrogate Jesus about the source of His authority. They had felt His extraordinary power and could not deny His wonderful miracles, but they did not understand the origin of His authority because they were not born of the Spirit of God. Christ was very disturbing to them. They accused Him of being demon-possessed and closed their understanding to His call. Many people did not understand that Christ was the incarnate Son of God, who had been given all authority in heaven and on earth.
Most of the Jews did not understand the essence of the One who cures the sick, raises the dead, and casts out demons. Their hearts were hard and unreceptive. He that will not recognize the essence of Christ remains ignorant and shows that he is still dead in his sins.
Christ’s authority is the greatest power in the world. He who believes in the power of His love will be born again. The word of Christ continues to break the hardest chains of sin and cast out demons. Thank God! There is still hope in our world. Christ works among us as He did during His incarnation.
This authority is not hidden from believers, for they know that it is the source of divine love. Christ is not a hard master, and He does not show His greatness in order to destroy us. He is a kind and merciful comforter. We have seen these qualities as He employed His power for the salvation of the poor and needy. Open your soul and mind to the authority of Christ so that you may be changed from your sinful ways.
It is good for all who act with spiritual authority, to ask themselves this question: “Who gave us that authority?” Unless a man is clear in his own conscience concerning the source of his authority, he cannot act with any hope of success. They, who run without their warrant (that is, official authorization), run without their blessing (Jeremiah 23:21-22).

Prayer
Almighty Christ, we thank You because Your heavenly Father has bestowed on You all authority in heaven and on earth. You keep the keys of Hades and of Death. We rejoice and feel assured for there is no power in the world more powerful than Yours. We believe in Your love, and receive the Spirit from You to pray for the salvation of our neighbors and friends. We seek salvation even for our enemies that their minds may be changed, their hearts renewed, and that they may live for You and in You forever. Amen.
Question
Why did the delegation of the chiefs of nation question Jesus as to His authority?