And so the attempts to trap him begin. You can almost sense the desperation in the religious leaders. This thing is spinning out of control and they need to stop and stop it now. They’re like basketball team furiously launching threes to get back in the game, but the shots are so poorly selected and executed that they have no chance of going on (I’ve been watching a lot of basketball the last couple days- forgive me).
So they start out with the basic question by questioning his authority. They’re basically asking him for his credentials. Who ordained you? What seminary did you go to? Is it accredited? Is it United Methodist approved? Have you gone before the Board of Ordained Ministry? Who and what gave you authority?
And Jesus turns it around on them by asking by what authority John baptized, and they can’t answer it, because regardless, it was apparent that it came from God. He was a prophet, and the people all felt it. What is subtly happening here is Jesus is continuing to expose their corruption. He’s exposing that no human made entity has the power and authority to decide in whom and through whom God will work. The proof will be in the pudding. Authority is not something any human or institution can give. They can only see it and call it out.
That’s how it is for Jesus. It doesn’t matter who or what gave him authority. He has it.