Jesus in the Critics Den: Matthew 21:23-27
“23) When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?” 24) Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25) The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?” And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ 26) But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the people; for they all regard John as a prophet.” 27) And answering Jesus, they said, “We do not know.” He also said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” Matthew‬ ‭21‬:‭23‬-‭27‬
It is one of the oldest ploys in the book. If you disagree with someone and cannot match their reasoning ability or effectiveness, just challenge their authority. That’s what the chief priests and elders now attempt to do with Jesus. Because they could not discredit His teachings or miraculous powers, they openly questioned His credentials.
It is the same as asking; “What college did you graduate from?” “What kind of degree did you earn.” Or, “Show us your government license and permits to do these things.” They were openly mocking Him. By this time they knew He was an uneducated carpenters son from Nazareth. He had no authority to preach, teach or lead the people. He was merely a country hick self taught preacher.
This is a good time to consult 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. God usually uses the foolish, weak and base things of this world to shame the wise. It is better to have the anointing of God than the credentials on men.
Jesus was suddenly in the critics den comprised of the chief priests and elders of the people. They wanted Him to bow to their authority, but Jesus turned the table on them. He simply asked them a question about the authority of John the Baptist. Was his ministry from heaven or from men? Either answer exposed their hypocrisy and foolishness. The debate was over!
Many times people have no desire to seek God or truth. They merely want to argue or create a diversion. They are insincere. Jesus did not waste time with them or fall into fruitless arguments. He provided everything they needed to find truth, if they were sincerely seeking. He pointed them in the right direction and quickly moved on!
There is much to learn from this story. There are many who are sincerely seeking for truth and seeking salvation. Don’t get distracted by critics or be discouraged by mockers. Focus on your calling to share the gospel, minister to people and lift up Jesus. Don’t get stuck in the critics den! Move on and share the good news with more and more people.
You need anointing from God and not credentials from men! Unction is generated in the prayer closet and not the class room. By all means sharpen your tools, but let the Holy Spirit become your anointing and your genuine relationship with Jesus Christ become your authority.
Those who are connected to the true vine will bear much fruit. Self appointed critics who carry the mantle of man made religion become fig trees that bear no fruit. They look good to the eye, but there is nothing there!
The previous paragraph in the book of Matthew and the barren fig tree suddenly takes on new meaning. Jesus wasted no time with the barren fig tree and He wasted no time in the critics den. Both were fruitless.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global