The authority of Jesus in his day and in ours rests on his resurrection from the dead. When Jesus rose again, he proved his power and his identity, and he fulfilled this prophecy from John 2 – destroy this temple and I will raise it again…
18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
When the religious leaders asked Jesus about his authority, he went to the same place we should when we need clarity on the power and authority of Jesus in our lives. He went straight to the resurrection. Jesus’ authority to clear the money changers out of the temple and his power to forgive sins and heal the sick all relate to the resurrection because the resurrection is based on and rooted in the power of God.
He rose again. And if he didn’t, he was not God. If he didn’t we are still in need of a Saviour. If he didn’t, the punishment for sin is still in front of us when we make our Maker. 1Corinthians 15:17 says it better than I can: “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile.”
That’s it. There is nothing more to say. There is no Christianity with a Jesus that is not alive.
And so when they ask him about authority, Jesus said destroy this temple and he would raise it back up. And he did. And that power is at work within us. All power and authority and glory is his.