You’re the general manager of a restaurant that is a national chain. Soon you’re to open for dinner, so you gather the staff to speak to them. A call briefly diverts you. When you return a mystery man is rearranging the furniture, telling the employees to take certain things down and throw them in the dumpster, while instructing them as to how things will be done from now on. You run up interrogating, “Who do you think you are? By what authority do you do these things?”
This is what the Jewish leaders are doing here. They do not realize that the Owner is in the house. They are getting themselves fired.
Why did I identify you with these corrupt managers? If you read this text and identify with Jesus as a rebel bucking corrupt authority you need to realize this—you are not Jesus. If you are shouting “Yeah, boo authority,” you are just like the high priests. Don’t identify with Jesus as a rebel against authority. Identify yourself with the leaders as rebels against the supreme authority. Jesus isn’t a rebel for you to identify with. He is a King for you to submit to. Jesus isn’t subverting their authority, He is saying He trumps it. He is showing that the authorities have no authority over Him.
Two parties have clashed rejecting the authorities of one another. This is not a meeting of a south-going Zax meeting a north-going Zax. This isn’t the meeting of two equally stubborn creatures. The crucial issue here is who has the authority. That is whose rejection matters. If an officer pulls you over and starts to give you a ticket it does you no good to say, “I reject that badge, toodeloo.” Likewise, when you reject Jesus, you’re not the one in authority. Worse yet, the one rejected, is King, so your crime becomes treason. Even worse still, He is the King of kings; there is no higher court of appeal.
Repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.