Perhaps you had a bossy sibling while growing up, you know, the one who always felt it their duty to tell you what to do. I grew up in a family of four boys and one girl, so there was plenty of pseudo-authority being imposed from the older down to the youngest. Very soon, I learned to parry every command on my independence with the determining question, "Says Who?" I did not have a problem with authority, but I did want to know from whence the directive came. If the authority was from Mom or Dad, there was no further questions; if however, the authority was from a sibling source, then most likely the reply was, "You are not the boss of me!" or some similar statement.
In our text, the chief priests questioned Jesus' teachings on the basis of His authority, effectively saying, "Says who?" They sought some power behind His teachings. Was He trained by a respected Rabbi? Did He hold graduate degrees and honors from prestigious institutions of learning? Basically, they wanted to know from whence came His right to teach such things. Their acceptance was based not on the Truths themselves, but upon whether they recognized and agreed with the source.
The same conflicts arise today. Because we are a nation founded upon Law, we appeal to the authority behind those laws when questionable. We want to know, "Says who?".
There are times when authorities conflict and we must decide whom to obey. In Acts 4:19, for example, Peter and John were faced with a moral dilemma as to whether they should continue preaching as commanded by God, or to desist as commanded by man. They appealed to the higher authority and declared that they would continue to do as God commanded and let man determine their consequences.
When moral issues become political issues, Believers are put in a place of determining whether to obey God or man. We must ask ourselves, "Says who?" Morality is something to be decided, not on the basis of the majority of public opinion, but upon the authority of God's Word. It is a matter of to whom you will give the greater authority in your personal life. When civil laws agree with God's moral law, there is harmony, but as is often the case, disagreement between civil law and God's moral law brings conflict.
Today, many moral issues have become political agendas and laws are passed, promoted, even forced upon Believers who then must ask, "Says who"? When man's decrees concerning such moral issues as marriage, abortion, sexuality, etc. become legal, Believers must ask, "Says who?" and determine to obey the Highest authority, remembering that God's Word is our firm foundation.
The song "How Firm A Foundation" comes to mind...written by an unknown author, identified only as "K", this song was first published in 1787. by John Rippon. It was a favorite of President Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt and was sung at the funeral of Robert E. Lee, as his testimony.