READ: Luke 20:1-8
Key Verses: Luke 20:7-8
I can just imagine the scene. The chief priests and scribes have been watching Jesus teach in the temple for days. They see the number of people who follow Him and gather to hear His teachings. They become jealous and angry, and they make a plot to trap Him.
They approach Jesus and ask Him, “Who gave the authority to teach and heal here? Where does your authority come from?”
Jesus responds, “I will also ask you a question, and you need to answer Me. The baptism of John-was it from heaven or from men?”
The priests and scribes turn and look at each other. They huddle up, scratching their heads, and I imagine that their conversation went a little something like this:
“Oh, man! What do we do?”
“This is a trick question. It is a trap.”
“He is trying to make us look bad.”
“But we have to give an answer.”
“If we say that John’s authority came from heaven, then we have to say that His comes from there too because John proclaimed Him the Messiah. And then He is gonna ask why we didn’t believe John.”
“But if we say that John received his authority from man, then the people are gonna be upset and try to stone us because they believed John. They believed in his authority and that he was a prophet. “
“So what do we do?”
“How do we answer this question?”
“I wish he hadn’t asked us this.”
Then turning to Jesus and saying that they did not know where John’s authority came from, and because they refused to recognize where John’s authority came from, Jesus refused to answer where His authority came from.
As the chief priests and scribes of the temple, these are the people who had studied the Scriptures and prophecies. They were the ones who should have been the first to recognize that John’s authority came from heaven and that Jesus was the Messiah, but they didn’t.
They didn’t want to because if they recognized Jesus as the Messiah and if they recognized that John’s authority came from heaven, then what did that mean for their authority? These were powerful men, men who the people came to and asked questions of.
They were afraid of losing that power, losing their positions of authority because to do so would be to admit that they were wrong. They were prideful and self-righteous. They didn’t want to admit or submit to Jesus’ authority because they thought it meant losing their own authority.
There have been many times and there are many areas of my life where I have been like the priests and the scribes, questioning Jesus’ authority because I wanted to seek my own way. I wanted to continue doing what I was doing and did not want to admit that I was wrong. I have let pride stand in my way.
I continue to do so, but Jesus wants me to recognize where His authority comes from for myself. Because that is what faith is…recognizing and submitting to the authority of Jesus Christ.
He can tell me and has told me where His authority comes from, but unless I am willing to recognize it for myself I have no faith.
I have to humble myself and admit that I was wrong. The priests and scribes weren’t willing to do that so Jesus didn’t answer them. Am I willing to do that? Are you willing to do that?Do you recognize His authority in your life?
Or do you struggle against it, refusing to recognize it? Whose authority are you under? By whose authority do you act?