Originally written by Robert Chamberlain of “A Yorkshireman’s take on life, death, and eternity“.
“And said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.” ~ Luke 20:2
Jesus was authoritatively teaching in the temple courts, unlike the religious leaders of the time. But they were envious of the hearing He got from the people, and attempted to trip Him up in His words. So they came to Him and asked this question. It might seem innocent, but they were trying to catch Him out.
If Jesus straightforwardly answered their question, they would have condemned Him for blasphemy (as they would eventually anyway). If He claimed His own authority, they would have accused Him of the heights of arrogance. If He claimed His Father’s authority, they would have understood Him to be claiming to be God’s Son, putting Him on a par with the Father.
But Jesus didn’t directly answer their question. Instead He asked them whether the baptism of John was from heaven or men. If they admitted it was from heaven they would condemn themselves for rejecting John’s teaching. If they claimed it was from man the people would turn against them who revered John as a holy man.
If you read the gospels, you’ll see that Jesus rarely gave a direct answer to a question. Instead He got to the heart of the issue and challenged people as to where they stood before the Lord. All of us, wherever we’re at spiritually, must repent of our cleverness and submit to the authority of Christ.
“Dear Lord, I praise You for Your authoritative teaching. Thank You for convicting me and causing me to come to faith in You. Help me to lead others to You, for Your glory, Amen”