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Daily Devotional for December 6

December 6                                                Matthew 21:23-32

Challenged by the Sanhedrin in the Temple, Jesus is asked by
what authority he teaches there. In asking "by what authori-
ty," they imply that he is not rabbinically ordained by the
Temple authorities. Jesus affirms that both he and John the
Baptist have no need of rabbinical or Temple credentials,
because their credentials, confirmed by the people, have come
directly from God.

Jesus' story of the two sons emphasizes the difference between
religious people like the Sadducees, who claim to be obedient
to God, yet are not, and the followers of Jesus and John, who
though they are sinners, repent of their sin as a result of the
Gospel and do God's will. "The tax collectors and the harlots
go into the realm of God before you. For John came to you
in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but
the tax collectors and the harlots believed him." Thus Jesus,
while not rejecting the authority of the Temple to ordain
preachers and teachers, says that ordination that truly comes
from God must also involve the confirmation of the believers.

This principle is very important for people who are struggling
to claim their own liberation and freedom. It is too easy to
allow those who say they are called to leadership to have their
way. But true leadership in the church comes as a result of
God's call, which is then confirmed by the Body of Christ,
the believers. We rely on a collective wisdom that we believe
is imparted by the Holy Spirit. The support that true leaders
receive from the community of believers is crucial in discern-
ing those who are acting according to God's will.

                Beautiful Creator, help me to discern true
       leadership and to know your will. Give me wisdom to
    make way for leaders whom I see emerging in response
              to God's call in their lives and confirmed by
                            the people of God. Amen.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.


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