As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?’ Mark 11:27-28
None of us like someone else interfering in our business.
When someone insists on our attention or demands our obedience, we instinctively respond negatively. Generally speaking, we don’t want people telling us what to do, least of all in spiritual matters. It is always tempting to buy into the notion, particularly popular in our day, that our spirituality is no one else’s business—a personal matter to be known only to us.
In reading the Gospels, then, we may become distinctly unsettled as it becomes clear that Jesus interferes in our lives. Yes, it’s for our good—but nevertheless, He interferes. Indeed, in his autobiography, C.S. Lewis refers to Jesus as the “transcendental Interferer.”
From the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, people recognized that He spoke with authority (see Mark 1:22, 27). He said things in such a way that they couldn’t be sidestepped or simply dismissed. But they could be resisted and rejected. His authoritative teaching became a thorn in the religious teachers’ side, and they began to oppose Jesus, soon plotting to kill Him so that they would not have to open up their spiritual lives to Him (3:6).
Like the religious leaders, we often prefer a personal spirituality that is molded by our agenda and lifestyle: “This is what I believe. This is what I hold to. This is what we’ve always done. This is our tradition.” Jesus comes crashing into those notions, turning everything upside down, taking man-made values and upending them. In fact, at the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He declared that all authority had been given to Him (Matthew 28:18-19). He doesn’t share that authority with anyone. Our spiritual lives are, in fact, His business. We bow down before His authority and embrace Him as Lord and Savior now, or one day we will bow before Him and meet Him solely as our Judge.
Adding Jesus to a little corner of our existence is easy and nonintrusive; it’s another thing entirely to allow the “transcendental Interferer” to take over every aspect of our lives and command from us complete obedience. His perfect authority is an issue we must consider in every decision we make. So we are faced by the unsettling question: Am I living according to my natural desires and the rules I have fashioned? Or am I seeking to joyfully submit to my Savior on every day and in every way? It is only when we choose to bow down before Jesus’ authority, acknowledging His lordship over our time, our talents, our money—our everything—that we can truly begin to embrace Him as Lord and Savior and enjoy knowing Him as a friend and a guide. Are you keeping Him at arm’s length in any way? That is precisely the place where He calls you to let Him interfere; it’s the place where you have the opportunity truly to treat Him as the one who has all authority. He will certainly disrupt your life—but He alone has the right to, and He alone can set you free.
Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.