Recognizing the Authority of Jesus
Reading: Luke 20:1-8
On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him, and they spoke, saying to Him, “Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority?” Jesus answered and said to them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell Me: Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?” They reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from. And Jesus said to them, “Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” [NASB1995®]
Jesus has entered Jerusalem as the King and cleansed the Temple of God from the thieves who had defiled it. If anyone can understand the weight of each of these actions, they are the Pharisees, priests, and scribes.
Every sign that Jesus has given is evidence of his identity as Messiah; every word of his reveals his identity as the Son of God.
The people, the humble, experience wonder at what they see, but the religious get angry.
And who are you? This is what people say in Argentina when they want to make it clear that they question someone’s authority. That is what the Sanhedrin members ask. They will soon judge Jesus, but in their hearts they have already condemned him.
By what authority do you do these things? But the Lord knows that in their hearts they are not truly longing to know the truth, and he answers them with another question. Where did John’s authority come from?
They cannot respond, because they fear the crowd. If they say that John’s authority came from Heaven, people will ask why they did not listen to him, but they fear the crowd’s reaction if they say it came from men.
In the face of their silence, Jesus also responds with silence. But the answer is obvious. With every action, with every word Jesus proclaims, “I am the Messiah. I am the Son of God. I am the One who comes to save all who recognize that they need to be saved.” But their hearts are hardened. They cannot see who Jesus is.
MEDITATE: A genuine relationship with Christ can only exist when we recognize that we need Him. Is this how we approach Jesus?
Scripture quotation taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Translation By: Emily Stader