Jesus' authority extended over nature.
(Image from Standard Bible Story Readers Book 2
Used with permission)
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Luke 20:1-8
TO CHEW ON: “Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and scribes together with the elders confronted Him and spoke to Him saying, ‘Tell us by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is it who gave You this authority?’” Luke 20:1,2
The religious leaders were justified, in their own minds, to challenge Jesus’ authority. As this IVP New Testament Commentary article points out:
“He has had no official training. He comes from Galilee, an area not known for its religious instruction or anything else of stature (John 7:52). He has never sat under a rabbi. Where does his authority come from? How can he justify the things he has been doing? This is really a fundamental question for the entire gospel (Luke 4:32,36; 5:24; 9:1; 10:19)” - IVP Commentary accessed through BibleGateway.com.
Jesus’ answer with another question was right in line with the back-and-forth discussion style of the day. (“This style of disputation was popular in the ancient world. It was designed to show who could ask the wiser question and expose the weaknesses in the opponent” - IVP Commentary).
His question (“’The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men?’”) accomplished several things:
- It equated the authority of His ministry with the authority of John the Baptist’s.
- It revealed the religious leaders as unwilling to believe that either John or Jesus came from God.
- It put them in a dilemma (Luke 20:5,6)
- It silenced them for now (but they would be back - Luke 20:19-22).
The claims of Jesus’ authority are still an issue today, to unbelievers and believers alike.
To unbelievers, His words, “‘You must be born again’” (John 3:7) are an affront to the human spirit, which is quite happy with its state.
To believers, His words: “‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it ‘“ (Luke 9:23,24) show how demanding living under His authority will be.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, when Your authority challenges my self-will, help me not to play mind games but to be honest with myself and deal with heart issues. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.