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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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WHO’S THE BOSS

A man was asked, "Who is the boss in your home?" He replied, "Well, my wife bosses the children, the children boss the dog, the dog bosses the cat, and I say anything I like to the geraniums." Bosses can be seen everywhere in human society. In offices and schools and factories, in the Army and Navy and Air Force and Marine Corps, on football and baseball and basketball teams, and yes, in our homes.  Someone is ultimately in charge.  From the White House to the local court house to the house where we live, someone is boss.   Someone is vested with the power and right to command and make decisions that are binding on everyone in the group. Someone has authority. That someone, as we say, is the boss.

An incident in the life of Jesus reminds us that ultimately there are only two sources of authority as it relates to religious questions and practices. Mark 1 1:27ff records that Jesus was confronted by religious leaders who demanded to know, "By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority to do these things?" Rather than answering them directly, Jesus countered with a question of His own - "I also will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John; was it from heaven or from men?" (11:28, 29). Read the text and you will see that the religious leaders refused to respond to Jesus, not because they didn't know the answer, but because they feared losing face with the people. Don't miss the crux of the matter as revealed by Jesus in His question:, "the baptism of John, was if from heaven or men?"  What Jesus was really asking was, "Who was the boss behind John's baptism? Who authorized it? Who had the power and right to command it and expect it to be obeyed?" Don't miss the fact that in Jesus' mind, ultimately there are but two sources of authority behind religious teachings and practices - heaven or men!

We don't hear much about authority in some religious circles today. People "shop around" for churches whose messages and ministries and music fit their own personal style and taste and morality. Church councils, creeds, and clerics approve and practice things which are patently anti-biblical, showing little or no concern for whether their decisions, teachings and practices derive their authority from heaven or from men. Jesus points to the ultimate authority in John 12:48 - "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him; the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." Who's in charge in the Lord's house? The Bible is clear: in God's Book Jesus is still the Boss.'

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ