Faith Daily | 13 December 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - Advent Three APBA p 468
you have made us and all things to serve you:
come quickly to save us,
so that wars and violence shall end
and your children may live in peace,
honouring one another with justice and love;
through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord,
who lives with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 21: 23-27
23 When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’ 24Jesus said to them, ‘I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?’ And they argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will say to us, “Why then did you not believe him?” 26But if we say, “Of human origin”, we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.’ 27So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Hilary Bell
In 2021 we frequently heard the word AUTHORITY. Some question the authority of leaders, governments, medical and scientific experts. Who gives authority? Is it legal? Can those with authority mandate actions for all? Who must submit to “public authority” if it challenges personal will and opinions, and wants to overrule individual rights? Is it ok to be sceptical and to question authority? Is it ok to defy authority? Human authority seems to be a complex concept. God’s authority is, however, simple, profound and unquestionable.
In this passage the chief priests and elders who presumably believed that they had the right to question Jesus, confronted him and asked: “by what authority are you doing these things?” “who gave you authority?” in effect, is it authority given by humans or is it God given? We have read previously of attempts by the Scribes and Pharisees to accuse and trap Jesus with their “trick” questions. Jesus replies with another question which he knows they cannot answer.
The question concerns John the Baptist, God’s prophet and messenger, preaching and preparing for the coming of Jesus, calling on people to repent and seek forgiveness, to be baptized; John whose life and purpose we have been following this Advent season.
Jesus clearly has God-given authority to heal, to answer prayer, to make us whole. We believe only He saves us from sin. “God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16) Authority, Love and Grace.
FINAL PRAYER: [adapted from APBA p.218 a general thanksgiving]
God of Grace, we humbly thank you
for all your gifts,
for life and health and safety,
and for all that is beautiful in creation and in human life.
Above all we thank you for our Saviour, Jesus Christ,
for his death and resurrection,
for the gift of your Spirit,
and for the hope of glory.
Fill our hearts with all peace and joy in believing;
make us alive to your grace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.