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Reading: Matthew 21:23-27

Supplementary Reading: Matthew 10


Arriving back in the Temple he began teaching in one of the large and beautiful porches or porticos that ran around the vast temple. These covered colonnades were sandwiched between the temple wall on the outside and the Court of the Gentiles on the inside.

Dr Luke tells us he was teaching and ‘preaching the gospel’ in one of these places when the chief priests, scribes and elders rocked up. It isn’t clear if they were acting on their own or had been sent as an official delegation from the Sanhedrin. But as they are questioning Jesus’ authority it is certainly possible they were there in an official capacity. But nevertheless, their challenge is clear, show us your credentials. This was a blazoned attempt to trap Jesus. On the one hand, if he admitted he had no credentials this would embarrass Jesus. On the other, if he believed he was authorised to do ‘these things’ they could accuse him of blasphemy in giving himself rights that belonged to only God.

The question is what are ‘these things’ that Jesus was doing. Without doubt, the events which had occurred over the last couple of days. His triumphant entry into Jerusalem and accepting cries of Hosanna, salvation has come. Clearing the temple of traders profiteering from the pilgrims. The healing of the blind and the lame which they along with all Jesus attributed to the power of Beelzebub rather than the Divine. But Dr Luke seems to suggest that what infuriated the religious elite above all else was his teaching and more specifically the good news of the Gospel.

Jesus posed his own question of them before he would answer. ‘The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” Jesus had placed his accusers in the same corner they were trying to place him. If they said the Baptism of John was from man the crowds assembled would have turned hostile as John was respected universally as a prophet. However, if they said from God the question posed would have been then why did you not believe him. Hadn’t John pointed to someone greater coming and at Jesus baptism called him ‘the Lamb of God’.

Earlier in his book Matthew recounts instructions and advice Jesus gave his disciples as he sent them out to preach the Gospel and proclaim the coming of God’s Kingdom to the people of Israel. Their message would be received by many but rejected by others. It would sever friendships and even divide families. But in the middle of the persecution and hatred, Jesus encouraged them ‘to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.’ Our role is not to win arguments that can never be won but to preach the gospel, the good news of Christ, that can never be defeated or contained and will be victorious no matter how clever the schemes of men and women or the vanquished evil one.


Thank you, Lord, for entrusting me with the honour of declaring the good news of the salvation you won for the whole world on a cross of crucifixion. I ask again today for the presence of your Spirit to give me both the wisdom and power to share your grace and love with others. In the same way you were with your early disciples, please give me the words to speak and the courage to say them.

Based on today's reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?

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