May 132017

Matthew 21:23-32

The Authority of Jesus Challenged – Again

23 And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”

  • “By what authority” Read the end of Matt 28 – All authority has been given to Jesus.
  • Doing what things – using what authority? What are the Jewish leaders seeing / hearing that they are objecting to?
  • Using his authority over other people’s donkeys – over the temple – over the sacrificial system – even over nature (the fig tree).
  • This doesn’t even take into consideration walking on water, raising the dead etc.

24 Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things.

  • Jesus as we have seen a couple of other times turns the table with a question of his own.

25 The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’

  • Again note that he does not ask them what they think of John the B – but what they think of his baptism.

26 But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”

  • Notice that they are aware of what the masses believe … and it’s not what they have been teaching them.
  • Gotcha!! The Pharisees were not asking faith questions – but gotcha questions.
  • Jesus is much better at playing the gotcha game.

27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

  • I would have to look closer but I don’t think Jesus ever had to answer one of their questions.

The Parable of the Two Sons –

This would be a good place to note that Jesus uses judgment stories against his enemies and parables of the kingdom to his New Israel.

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’

29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went.

30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go.

31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.

  • Can you imagine what was running through their minds at this point?
  • Every time they think they have Jesus just where they want him – he pokes them in the eye.
  • How much longer are they able to take this?

32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.

  • This is the point about unbelief – seeing does not cause belief, especially when you already think you have it all together.
  • The ‘sinners’ know their problem – this is why Jesus said he did not come for the righteous.
  • Jesus even says that John came to them first – it’s not like John was offering the leftovers.



  4 Responses to “The Weekend Word”

  1. “This is the point about unbelief – seeing does not cause belief, especially when you already think you have it all together.”

    If you were a chief priest or elder in perhaps the greatest temple on earth, considered one of the greatest structures in the Roman empire at that time, it is almost impossible to imagine you would listen to, much less submit to, John and his baptism. They probably ridiculed his appearance, dress, lifestyle, and poverty. We judge by outward appearances.

    John did offer spiritual advisor services to Herod A.

  2. #1 Jean

    The “Faith Advisory Board” might consider how that worked out for John… just saying…

  3. What’s the difference? John walked out without his head – the faith board walked out without their balls. They paid a price. 😉

  4. And I would feel the same way if the board were made up of Al Sharton, Jesse Jackson and the Dali Lama.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



%d bloggers like this: