Mat 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
Mat 21:24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Mat 21:25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
Mat 21:26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
Mat 21:27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
Mat 21:28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
Mat 21:29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
Mat 21:30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
Mat 21:31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
Mat 21:32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
It is not what we claim to believe that saves us, but belief followed by repentance and obedience. Jesus had authority from God the Father and the chief priests and elders did not believe in him. They supposed that by their high positions of importance that they could ignore or even kill Jesus who was under a higher authority. They claimed to serve God but their actions proved otherwise. Later Jesus would say that they were of the synagogue of satan.
Joh 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Joh 8:45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
Rev 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
Belief requires repentance, acknowledging Jesus as your Lord and master and a life of service in his name. He calls all who will hear him to believe and repent. Even the worst sinner he will love and receive, if they have sorrow and trust in him.
Psa 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.