“Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. ‘By what authority are you doing these things?’ they asked. ‘And who gave you this authority?’ ”

– Matthew 21:23

As powerful, authentic, and impactful as Jesus’ ministry was on earth, you would wonder why the religious leaders of his day would question His authority. As Jesus teaches in the temple courts, He engages in a debate with the Pharisees. Many amazing miracles have been performed by Him, and people have been healed and raised from the dead. The blind can see, the deaf can hear, and sinners are running back to God’s kingdom! In His presence, hearts are transformed, chains are broken, and yet, the Pharisees ask Him, “Where did you receive your ordination?”

The passage speaks of authority, but I believe this refers to the Hebrew word “semikhah,” which was used to refer to Moses’ formal transfer of authority over generations. In spite of the fact that they knew Jesus was clearly from God, they had to present Him in an unfavorable light somehow. It was on these grounds that they questioned Him about where He got His authority, His semikhah, and His ordination. Today we would ask at what seminary did you study?

Friend,  Jesus answers with brilliance and wisdom: Where did John the Baptist obtain his authority and ordination? In response, the Pharisees struggle for an answer, knowing their insincere hearts have been exposed. The people trusted John the Baptist as a prophet who prepared the way for Jesus’ ministry. It is safe to trust Jesus as your Lord and Savior and to rely on the authority and love He has for you!


It is a blessing to be able to trust you as my Lord and Savior, Jesus.


Are you confident that Jesus can transform hearts? Are you able to rely on the authority and love He has for you?

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