The questioning of Jesus’ authority is nothing new. But in what context do we see the authority of individuals questioned? In a similar context the authority of a pastor is not normally questioned within the congregation, especially within the Presbyterian Church (USA) where the session is the governing authority. If I were to say something on a Sunday morning I don’t believe that people would question that I would have the right to say whatever it might be, as long as it was Scriptural and followed what at least seemed like a lesson from the Scripture. Authority is that which allows one to speak freely and without reservation. Authority is that which allows a person to say something and even do something and the ensuing result is not questioned, but rather embraced. Does a pastor have authority within the church? Certainly the pastor has influence and hopefully that influence translated into authority. But even more fortunately within our church there are even more checks and balances than in most churches. You wouldn’t want me barging ahead thinking I could do anything I want. It wouldn’t be pretty.
Interestingly those testing Jesus aren’t even able to answer the question of authority in regards to John the Baptist. They were too afraid of what kind of a response they would get from the people. So those testing Jesus said they didn’t know by what authority John taught. Jesus responds in regards to his own authority not with an I don’t know, but rather with I’m not going to tell you. There is a big difference between these two responses.
The question about the widow and the resurrection is an interesting one. We fully believe that once we die then immediately we will be with Jesus. The question often arises, but will we recognize and know each other? Absolutely, I believe that we will. I don’t really have a Scripture to back that up, but I don’t have a Scripture that refutes that claim, but this one comes close. Jesus states that in heaven we will not be marrying and giving away in marriage. We will not be in the types of relationships that we have here on earth. Here on the earth we have relationships of give and take, of compromise, of trying to serve the other while making sure our own individuality doesn’t disappear. Relationships on earth are complicated, and become even more complicated when you have mixed and extended families. But Jesus says in heaven we will be simply children of God. When you are a child you don’t worry about marriage. You have a whole group of friends that you go out with and play.
As I was growing up in Ventnor, NJ we lived at the Overseas Ministries Study Center right there on Ventnor and Portland Avenues. It was a massive complex of building a block away from the beach. Every summer there would be tens of kids who would be back in the United States for the summer as their parents, who were missionaries, were on furlough. We would have a band of close to 100 kids that would play, roam around the town, make up games, and in short, just have an amazing time. It was an enchanted childhood. Every summer a new set of kids would come in, and over time since I was the one who was kind of permanent there, the kids tended to not shy away from me. It was a setting where during the summer you really didn’t have anything to worry about. The relationships were easy, quickly made, and then just as quickly the gang of kids was gone, only to be replaced with another a year later.
When Jesus speaks about being a child of God he expects and wishes for us relationships that are not complicated, or at least certainly relationships that we don’t complicate. So often we complicate the relationships in which we find ourselves.