the 17th sunday after pentecost
the PRAYER. . .
God of love, giver of life, you know our frailties and failings. Give us your grace to overcome them, keep us from those things that harm us, and guide us in the way of salvation, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
the READING. . .
When [Jesus] 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?”
the DEVOTION. . .
It was the day after Jesus had gone on a rampage in the Temple. Driving out the sellers and buyers. Overturning tables and chairs. Den of robbers he’d called it. And they were angry. Furious. The chief priests. The scribes. Now, Jesus is back. In the Temple. Teaching. So, they come to him. They come AT him! Challenging! Confronting! “Who do you think you are!” “What gives you the right!”
Of course, it all comes down to us as nothing more than a discussion. A conversation about authority. From heaven? Of human origin? But when all is said and done, the only answer is, “We don’t know.” Add insult to injury, not even Jesus says which it is! Truth is, that’s about all any of us can say about authority! Many who say they’re called aren’t. Many we think are sent haven’t been. And the only hint we have is in what they say. Christ and Christ crucified! That’s what Luther counsels. Look for Christ! Listen for the Cross! And if those two are front and center, odds are they’ve been authorized by god! Authorized by god and by god’s people!
Bob Barndt, pastor