Matthew 22:23-27

“We’ve been advised of turbulence ahead.”

In other words, fasten your seatbelts it’s about to get a little bumpy.

Sometimes I wonder if it was like that for the disciples as they followed Jesus. Like the scene, Matthew describes when Jesus is confronted by the chief priests and elders of the people. I like that, elders of the people … maybe I’ll write about that someday.

So here is Jesus inching ever closer to the cross. The leaders are anxious because the crowds are captivated by Jesus. The religious elite already thinks of Jesus as an instigator; upsetting the status quo and messing with their little dollhouse. It’s a turbulent time because the chief priests felt their authority challenged.

Then comes the question, “Who gave you this authority?”  Clearly, the elders and priests recognized the weight of Jesus’ teaching. They realized there were an edge and force to the words and actions of Jesus. The ill-fated plan was trap Jesus so they could arrest him on charges of blasphemy.

The disciples had to feel the tension building as the priests and elders tried to stare down Jesus. These kinds of encounters are becoming more frequent. Nevertheless, Jesus once again confounds his accusers by asking them a question about John the Baptist. The scene closes with his antagonists pleading ignorance and Jesus telling them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.” (v 27)

The disciples wipe the sweat from their foreheads and know they will live to see another day. Eventually, though the religious leaders get the job done (or so they think) when Jesus is arrested, tortured, and crucified. Talk about turbulence!

Even then though, Jesus confounds his enemies.  Three days after his burial, the stone is rolled away and no one can seem to explain the empty tomb.

Except for Jesus, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last, the Living One. I was dead, and behold, now I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of Death and of Hades.” Revelation 1:17b-18)

Following Jesus is not without turbulence. Even so, Jesus is the one who holds our lives both now and forever. At this moment, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are conspiring on your behalf to confound your enemies and bring you through to a place of peace and rest.

Fasten your seatbelt of faith – Jesus is in control.

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