And when He had come into 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?” Matthew 21:23 (NASB)
When we’re challenged it’s easy to get off the subject as we try to defend ourselves. At that moment many of us focus on protecting our honor and character instead of bringing the focus back to the problem. Defense and justification have a way of quickly turning into the blame game.
Jesus never defended or justified Himself to anyone. Then by what authority did He do the things He did? He did not quote scholarly rabbis, as was the custom but said, “You have heard it said…but I say to you…” The Jews recognized in Him speaking as He did there was some authority for it. The authority of Jesus did not threaten or try to impress with self-importance. To be sure, there were times when His temper flared righteously as when He called the religious leaders ‘sons of the devil (John 8:44)’ and when he angrily drove the money changers out of the Temple (Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15). But He didn’t do it with hatred or pride. What He said was steeped in love and later He even wept over the lost souls of Israel (Luke 13:34).
The life and words of Jesus Christ were always truth and revelation. Even though He was often critically questioned by the Scribes and Pharisees He remained unquestionable in whom He claimed to be. He held those He interacted with accountable while modeling decorum and healthy relations-even with those who disliked Him. The witness of who He was was qualified by His Heavenly Father. God spoke from heaven on two occasions confirming that Jesus was His Beloved Son (Matthew 3:17, Luke 9:35). His Heavenly Father alone qualified Him with the authority to do what He did. There was no justification needed, for God alone speaks perfect truth.