The Gospel of Luke | Authority | Luke 20.1-8 |

by | Nov 10, 2021

”One day as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. “Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?” He replied, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me: John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin?” They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” So they answered, “We don’t know where it was from.” Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.” Luke 20.1-8

It’s so ironic how the religious leaders completely missed the teachings of Jesus. He was out proclaiming the good news, and all they could think about was by whose authority he was teaching. They ignored the good news he was offering and were more worried with the permit he had to preach! The “red tape” of authority was more of a pressing question than the miracles of God before their eyes.

And so they asked, “By what authority are you doing these things?” “By what authority….?” There aren’t many answers to that question. Perhaps it was a particular rabbi that he studied under, as they had. Or maybe it was the Prince of this World, Satan himself. It could have been his own authority, picked up his Torah and went to preaching. Or maybe, just maybe it was God’s authority. If this was the case, the Jews were in deep trouble for rejecting not only Jesus as prophet by Jesus as the Christ.

So Jesus answers their question with a question — “John’s baptism, was it from heaven or of human origin.” John’s baptism? Meaning his message, his offering, his authority — did it come from God or himself? Instantly, the Jews knew they were trapped. If they said, “From Heaven,” the will ask, “Why didn’t you believe him?” But if they say, “Of human origin,” the people will stone them because they believed John was a prophet. So the religious leaders said, “We don’t know where it was from.” And Jesus replied, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

Classic Jesus. No one can out think, out wit, or out argue him. Being God in the flesh gives him a distinct advantage! But we know from whose authority he was speaking — it was his Fathers. God was giving Jesus every bit of authority and power to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God.

By whose authority do we speak? And are we using this authority? Are we proclaiming the Kingdom, preaching to the lost, feeding the hungry, loving the sick? We have the same authority Jesus had. The same power which raised Jesus from the dead lives in us! (Romans 8.11). Let’s use that authority to be the hands and feet so the world might know the hope we find in Christ.

”O Lord God, you are good. The work we are doing for you is worthwhile. It is not subtle, is not weak. The authority we have is straight power from the throne of God. We have been given the gift to walk in the power. To let the world know your name. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill us with your love and grace. Help us take your word to the streets, to give you honor and to make your name great. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen