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?” Mathew 21:23
Read: Matthew 21:23-27
Listen: Matthew 21
The chief priests (elite religious leaders) focused on themselves instead of God. They ask Jesus the first question, “Who told you it was alright for you to teach and disrupt the temple?” They knew they hadn’t. The temple was their space. They didn’t want anyone worshiping or sacrificing unless they permitted them. They wanted to control access to God and use God for their personal gain.
Unfortunately, we still do this today. We try to control access to God by creating rules about who real Christians are. We think that if people aren’t all about this social cause or voting for that political party, then there is no way they could be real Christians. We act like the religious leaders by telling people when and how they can be Christians. We use God for ourselves when we see the church as a place to build our business network for financial gain, instead of a community of believers worshiping together. We can also try to control God by thinking if we keep certain rules, God is obliged to bless us financially, relationally or physically. Too often, we are like the chief priests.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Jesus calls us to something different. He calls us to a life of trust where we follow God for where God is going, instead of where we want to go. In your journal, write the following question at the top of a page: “Where might I be using God for my personal gain instead of following Jesus to get where he wants me to be?” Pray and ask God for insight and clarity, then begin to journal about the question.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.