“When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’” vs. 23Matthew 21:23-27
The chief priests and the elders were concerned about Jesus’ credentials, and they had a point. They had responsibility for what went on in the temple and it wasn’t appropriate for just any random teacher to come in and say whatever they pleased. When the Church took shape and began to expand, leaders realized that the question of authority was going to be important for ministry. Teachers and preachers would need to be properly credentialed before they could take office or carry out a function. Most congregations require that their pastors be duly authorized by the larger church before they can be installed–it’s a way to ensure that their words and actions can be trusted. But sometimes charismatic leaders come along with no credentials but with tremendous personal appeal–and like Jesus they can become a huge threat to the status quo. Pastors and bishops are threatened by these interlopers. Often they use television and the internet with amazing skill and are able to gather millions of followers. People in congregations are confused. Some wonder if credentials are that important anymore. But for others authority is closely aligned with trust. All of us need authority figures, but in these changing times, just who is that going to be?
Thought for the Day: Who are my authority figures?