“Tell us by what authority you do these things …” (v2). The religious leaders didn’t believe in Jesus’ authority, so they sent spies who “pretended to be sincere” and asked Jesus tricky questions (v20). Their religion was all about justifying themselves and condemning others, and their self-righteousness closed their hearts to salvation. They wanted to be the ones to “teach the way of God,” and so Jesus’ popularity and power offended them.
Answering questions about marriage, taxes, and life after death, Jesus demonstrated His Lordship and the Father’s full authority. He is “before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col 1:17).