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21:23 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?” 24 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. 25 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?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Then he said, ”Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

– Matthew 21:23-27 NIV

While He was here on earth Jesus was doing His ministry with absolute authority. He was unlike any other religious teacher or religious leader of His time. Most of them inherited their offices through their family lineage and others joined religious ranks for some benefit or artificial gain. However, Jesus came from the region of Galilee out of nowhere and started to teach with absolute authority and perform so many works of power.

This authority that Jesus was manifesting in His mission and ministry among men were clearly manifesting three powerful things. The first manifestation was disruptive manifestation. It was disrupting the status quo and tradition of His time. It’s not something that was deduced from culture or lineage, but it was something that came straight from heaven. So, for thousands of years the status quo that was established in tradition and culture of religious circumstances was disrupted by what Jesus was doing.

The second nature of Jesus’ authority was revealing authority. This authority that was exercised by Jesus revealed the person and identity of Jesus. This authority clarified to everyone listening and watching the mission and ministry of Jesus that this Jesus was unlike any other religious leader. There was no one like him before and there is no one like Him now. Therefore, the authority that was displayed in the mission and ministry of Jesus clearly indicated that He was the son of the living God.

The third impact of Jesus’ authority was attractional authority. When He was teaching with that authority and when He was performing so many miracles, particularly miracles of healing, thousands and thousands of people were attracted to him. The ultimate goal of Jesus’ mission and ministry was not for them to only benefit from the miracles that Jesus was performing but to bring humanity to the saving grace of God — disruptive authority, revealing authority and attractional authority. Even today that authority of Jesus is still working throughout the world disrupting the status quo, revealing the person of Jesus Christ and ultimately drawing people closer to the saving grace of God.

Prayer: May God continue to disrupt our reality, may God reveal Jesus Christ fully to us and may God draw us closer to Him so that we can work with Him and experience the miraculous saving grace of God. Amen.

Advent Action: For the rest of Lent, each morning when you get up, make the sign of the cross in remembrance of your Baptism. Remember who, and Whose, you are.

Devotion written by the Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba

Watch a video recording of the devotional daily: facebook.com/thenalc

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After a challenging year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

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