Who gave you this authority?
This is the fundamental question of our lives. Who is in charge and can they be trusted? Is the authority Wikipedia? Our own personal sense of what’s right and wrong or some vague pluralistic, culturally relevant amalgamation of morality that shifts about? Who has THE answers to life’s fundamental questions? Jesus? Mohammed? Deepok Chopra? Buddha?
To answer this question is to understand who we are and how we should live. It’s a piercing, honest question that the Temple elite are asking Jesus. It’s also a trap they are attempting to set for him. The answer comes in the forms of parable and metaphor and continues to challenge us today.
” ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.’ Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” Luke 20:17-18
I have walked under beautiful European stone arches that have stood for centuries. In the very center is the capstone or keystone. If you pull that one stone away, the entire structure will collapse. We should choose very carefully who or what is our life’s capstone. Building our lives on a defective or inadequate authority ends very badly. It has consequences that play out well beyond our lives here on earth.
Dare to ask the question repeatedly, “Who is my authority, right now, in this place?” The answer determines the outcome of the small day to day questions as well as the big life questions (ex. who do I marry? what job do I take?). It’s not always a simple process, but knowing the truth of WHO is in charge brings me peace. Jesus is that authority and I believe what Paul said about him:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17
I pray that God’s grace covers me as I find out what this means today.