Our scripture this week is Matthew 21:21-32.

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?” Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?” They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’  But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.”

The religious leaders have questions for Jesus regarding His authority. They ignore what He is doing for people and ask “who gave you permission to do these things?” Are we sometimes more concerned with “who said you could do this” and less with what is being accomplished?

God has blessed us to be a blessing to others in whatever ways we can. However, it seems that we sometimes face a choice between doing good and doing right according to human law. God’s law would never require such a choice, because good and right should always be in agreement. Notice that it doesn’t prevent the good and right thing from sometimes being a hard thing!

Jesus makes us think about such questions. He wants us to understand the call placed on our lives to care for one another. God has given us the means and the responsibility to love our brothers and sisters as He first loved us.

Gracious God, we are grateful for Your many gifts. Help us to use them in ways that benefit all Your children. Amen.

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