Matthew 4: 1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3 The tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."4 But he answered, "It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. '"5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple,6 saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and 'On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone. '"
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Matthew begins and ends his Gospel by emphasizing the authority of Jesus. He opens with Jesus wrestling with the kind of authority he is given. We can hear Jesus asking: “Am I being given authority to feed the poor, or to do religious tricks, or to be a political player?” By the end of Matthew’s Gospel about the authority of Jesus is clear: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” There is no doubt here: His disciples are to tell everyone that all authorities – social, religious, political – are to acknowledge that they are accountable to an Ultimate Authority.
Let those who think that they are important remember that they owe their lives, and their power, to a Higher Authority – who calls us all to account for the ways we have used authority.
First Sunday in Advent
2. Preparing the Way
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 20.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.