Authority?

Exodus 17:1-7
Matthew 21:23-32

I warned our dog, Bella, that she’d be in the blog this week. She didn’t care. She prefers to be stubborn. The current problem involves antibiotic pills that I am hiding in her doggie treats. I say, “Trust me.” She doesn’t. She eats the treat and spits out the pill. We argue. She growls, “Who made you an authority over me?” It’s the same place Moses was in as he led people across the wilderness. People were grumbling because Moses picked camping sites without regard to water.

 

 “We’re thirsty,” people said.   

 

“This is where God said we should camp,” Moses replied.

 

“Who made you boss?”

 

“God.”

 

Am I wrong to see the people acting like my dog, and myself, as her Moses?

 

I was hoping that what Jesus said in Matthew 21:23-32 would clarify things. This is where Jesus gets asked who put him in charge of bringing spiritual healing to the people. Jesus, like Moses, is leading people across a transitional wilderness. They have left the Old Testament world where they were the independent, theocratic, nation of Israel. Now they must learn to be both compassionate and religiously distinct in the pluralistic Roman world. Not too different from Christians in a Postmodern world. The people want to go back to easer times. They want their leaders to be more like Pharaoh or a previous pastor. They want authorities who give them treats and provide abundant water, without ever inserting medicine or asking them to walk across a dessert.

 

Jesus points to  John the Baptist. This is the type of authority God is providing for you now. He will take you out into the wilderness and teach you to camp in strange places. You won’t always have what you need. You’ll be thirsty. You’ll be baptized with sorrow. It will take faith to trust in God and this new type of leadership. It is a bitter pill to swallow. Moses was known for his humility. Wilderness leaders lack dogmatism. They don’t provide easy answers. They don’t put you up at the Holliday Inn.

Pentecost 21
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Bella the church dog, loves comfortable dogma