Tuesday: Jesus Authority and John’s Baptism
”I will also ask you a question.“ Luke 20:3
With those words, Jesus begins His final assault on the leaders of errant religion, those who have led the People of God astray. In the temple courts Jesus has spent the day teaching the gospel of Christ to crowds of people, both locals and those who had come from afar to celebrate the Passover. He may have performed a miracle or two because the priests, the elders and the Pharisees want to know ”by what authority you are doing these things?“
Instead of giving answer to those who have no authority to ask in the first place, those who would seek credentials from the One who needs none, Jesus poses a question in response: ”Tell me, John’s baptism… was it from Heaven, or was it from men?“
A seemingly simple question. Easily answered, but only two responses in answer are possible. And only one for those who have no spiritual discernment. But here, in front of dozens, or perhaps hundreds of witnesses, those who would fain to be Israel’s spiritual leaders are dumbfounded. They cannot respond because to be truthful in their response would be to admit to the people that when they look at the world they see only flesh and the power of the flesh. Just so, also, when the look at the word of God. They only see it in terms of the flesh and not its deeper, more powerful spiritual meaning.
To answer truthfully would be to admit that they deal only in shadow and have no concept of substance, (the real substance). The truth is, for those who claim to hold the keys to knowledge of the scriptures, their grasp is tenuous at best. For though they have a form of Godliness they deny its power and lead their followers into a fiery pit; the blind leading the blind. What was true then is true today and a church functioning in the flesh has denied the power offered it by Christ Jesus. To answer otherwise, to say that John’s baptism is from Heaven would draw into question their actions. ”Why didn’t you believe him?“
Why did you not repent and be baptized? Why do your actions not line up with your words? Why does your life not reflect the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Why does the church look so much like the world it lives in? So, ”I will also ask you a question. John’s Baptism – was it from Heaven, or from men?“