Summary: The church leaders challenge Jesus and question His authority

Community Family Fellowship

This week’s Readings

October 1, 2017


I hope and pray that you continue to pray and extend a hand to every victim of these past Hurricanes that have left so many victims with great lost in their wake.

Sunday Reading and Message Overview

Matthew 21:23-32

By Whose Authority

This reading mirrors the attitude of many church leaders, from the pastor on down. We all want to stand on our own authority - be it traditional, denominational or delineated by church by-laws. As we read and study what’s going on here, we may just see some reflections.

In the reading the priests, scribes and elders of the temple – (ahem! – pastor and church board) are uncomfortable with Jesus exercising authority that directs the people to change their religious practice in the temple. The big issue is that Jesus has just cleansed the temple of money changers and practices that serve man and not God.

If changes are to be made, let the authority of the church make the changes - again the Sanhedrin, priests and elders. That would be their attitude. Besides who has the audacity to question their authority.

So, they have some committee meetings and discussions as to how they should address this issue. I would love to have been a fly on that wall, if for no other reason to see a bunch of self-centered men with all kinds of personal agenda coming to a unanimous agreement. Imagine that, they all appear to be on the same page. Let’s back this Jesus into a corner and when He cannot explain Himself and His authority, that will be His doom. It appears that they were all in agreement.

So, they gathered around Jesus and asked Him, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” v 23

Jesus immediately answered them and said that He would answer their question if they would answer His question, “The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?” v 24

Well that just threw them into a frenzy. If they agreed it was from heaven, He will ask why they didn’t believe him. If the said from men, they were afraid the multitudes would turn on them because they all saw John as a prophet.

That left them no choice but to say that they did not know. To which Jesus responded, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” V 27

Jesus knew exactly what He was doing in bringing the matter to a stalemate. Certainly, the Sanhedrin could drive Jesus out and destroy His ministry but there would be this lingering issue: Jesus offered redemption if they would but believe. Until they had a better handle on this salvation and eternal life, they weren’t ready to be hasty.

And so, Jesus continues on in His ministry, for now.

Next, our reading presents us with another parable as presented to the priests, scribes and elders. A father of two sons approaches the first son and tells him to go out and work in the vineyard. But the son refuses, Later, he regrets his disobedient attitude and goes on out in the vineyard and puts in a day’s work.

In the meantime, the father goes to his second son and tells him also to go work in the vineyard. This son immediately agrees to go work. However, he did not go.

Jesus asks, “Which of the two does the will of his father?”

They said, “The first.”

Now just why is Jesus sharing this parable with these church leaders now?

When John the Baptist preached repentance and baptism, the great church leaders and devoutly religious followed him and listened intently to what he taught. But they refused to humble themselves, they refused to repent of their sins and they refused to be baptized. They wanted to know who this John was and what he was all about but that’s as faras it went. In chapter 3 of Matthew, John calls them a “Brood of Vipers.”

Which son do you see in this description?

But John continued preaching as one crying in the wilderness to the lost, encouraging them to repent of their sins and be baptized with water. Multitudes did exactly that!

Which son do you see in this scenario?

This is a great lesson to us. Titles, degrees, positions of leadership don’t always mean that we are right. They certainly don’t mean that we ever get beyond the need to humble ourselves before the Lord and repent of our sins, daily!

Starting the day with prayers, worship and confession can be somewhat compared to starting our day, brushing our teeth, taking a quick shower, combing our hair etc. It does indeed help us Face the day with a refreshing attitude and appearance.

Let us pray.

We love and serve God by loving and serving each other!

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