This passage follows the question the authorities had asked Jesus about who had given him authority to do his ministry of proclaiming the good news.
Luke 20:3 – 8
3 He replied, ‘I will also ask you a question. Tell me: 4 John’s baptism – was it from heaven, or of human origin?’
5 They discussed it among themselves and said, ‘If we say, “From heaven,” he will ask, “Why didn’t you believe him?” 6 But if we say, “Of human origin,” all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.’
7 So they answered, ‘We don’t know where it was from.’
8 Jesus said, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.’
It appears that the chief priests and teachers of the law were hoping to trap Jesus with the question, but Jesus’s clever response meant they were trapped instead. Jesus also makes a point in his response. All authority is either from God or men; there are no other authorities. We are either trying to please God and obey him or we are trying to please men, to manipulate them or use them to gain something from them.
It’s easy for me to judge the Pharisees and teachers of the law as I read the Bible but if I think of my own life and reflect on the times that I have not obeyed God’s authority over my life but instead, tried to please men or seek my own gain; I know there is no room for me to be judgemental. There are times when I haven’t spoken up to defend the gospel because I’ve been worried of what people think of me, I haven’t taken an opportunity to tell about Jesus because I’ve been too scared to or I have often been selfish when I should have been sacrificial and countless other examples.
While in this passage Jesus didn’t answer their question because he knew they weren’t really seeking the truth, he does tell us very clearly in the Bible where his authority is from. One of the last things he tells us before he ascends to heaven in Matthew 28 is this: “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of age.”
Head: What was John’s ministry and what did a voice from heaven say when Jesus was baptised?
Heart: Who is the authority in your life? Reflect on your heart and your life. What areas of your life do you still want to have authority over? What would you risk losing if you gave them to Jesus?
Hands: If you felt convicted to give your whole life, or an area of your life to God’s authority – do it. Read Matthew 28:18-20 again. What has Jesus given you the authority to do?
Prayer: Father forgive me for not always submitting to your authority but instead doing things to please others or myself. Thank you for Jesus and his example and his sacrifice so that I can have my sins forgiven and this relationship with you. Show me the areas in my life that I still need to submit to your authority. Help me live my life completely for you and for your kingdom. Give me courage to speak your truth and love to the people who still don’t know you. Thank you for always being with us and for being the greatest and most awesome God. Amen.
A song to listen to: How Majestic
Living Church – Creek Road