The Story of Jesus

By What Authority?

This trip to the Passover would be Jesus' last.

Early the next morning Jesus and his disciples left Bethany where they had spent each night during the feast. They were on their way to the temple at Jerusalem. As they walked along Jesus became hungry. By the roadside he saw a fig tree. When he looked for figs on its branches, there were none. As he 

walked away, he said, "Never again will anyone eat fruit from this tree."

When they reached Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples went to the temple. Here Jesus saw men buying and selling animals for sacrifices. Others were changing money into temple coins. Jesus knew they cheated the people. Once before he had driven these men out of the temple.

Again he drove them out. "In the Scriptures it is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' " Jesus said, "but you have made it a den of thieves."

When word spread through the city that Jesus was at the temple, the blind and lame were brought to him. Jesus healed them all. While the chief priests and scribes watched him do this, little children came singing, "Hosanna to the Son of David," as they gathered around Jesus.

In anger the chief priests and scribes asked him, "Do you hear what these children are saying?"

"Yes, I hear them," Jesus said. "Have you not read these words in the Scriptures, 'Out of the mouths of little children comes perfect praise'?"

How angry the chief priests and scribes were! They wanted all the more to get rid of Jesus, but they could find no way. They were afraid to do anything here, for all the people listened eagerly to his every word.

In the evening Jesus and his disciples walked back to Bethany to stay with their friends. When they returned to Jerusalem the next morning, they passed the fig tree they had seen the day before. Its leaves were all withered, dry and dead. How could this happen in one day?

Jesus told his disciples, "Have faith in God. If you have faith to believe that God hears your prayers, you will do greater things than this. When you ask anything of God in prayer and believe in your hearts that he hears you, it will be given you."

As they entered the temple this time, many people were already waiting to hear Jesus teach. Of course the chief priests and scribes were there too. Since they did not want Jesus to teach the people, they tried to start an argument. "By what authority do you teach and work miracles? Who gave you this authority?" they demanded.

Jesus said, "I will answer your question if you will first answer mine. Was the baptism of John from heaven or of men?"

The chief priests and scribes did not know what to say. They talked among themselves. "If we say John's baptism was from heaven, he will ask us why we didn't believe that John was God's prophet. We dare not say his baptism was of men, for all these people would rise up against us."

Because they were afraid to answer Jesus' question, they said, "We cannot tell whether John's baptism was from heaven or of men."

Then Jesus answered, "Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things or who gave me this authority."


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