Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Matthew 21:23-27


23 When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, ``By what authority are You doing these things and who gave You this authority?'' 24 Jesus said to them, ``I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 ``The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?'' And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, ``If we say, `From heaven,' He will say to us, `Then why did you not believe him?' 26 ``But if we say, `From men,' we fear the people ; for they all regard John as a prophet.'' 27 And answering Jesus, they said, ``We do not know.'' He also said to them, ``Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

The Temple leadership questions Jesus' authority. "Where did you go to school?" In order to be a teaching Rabbi, you were to have 2 to 3 witnesses who affirmed you-witnessed you. They want to nail down Jesus' authority as to who were the ones who laid their hands on Him in order to teach with authority. Jesus gained His authority on the day of His baptism. There were 3 witnesses present from heaven-the Father's voice, the dove (Spirit of God) and John who was the primary baptizer.

It was customary for Rabbi's to sort of spar with one another by answering a question with a question. It's almost like a chess game. Jesus tied them in knots with His question, forcing them to either side with John as a man from heaven or as coming from men. Their predicament was that the people liked John and John identified Jesus as the Messiah.

NOTE that Jesus does not feel compelled to bring the conversation to some kind of conclusion, but lets it stay in the air for all to consider what was being said. It's like scattering seed indiscriminately to determine what kind of soil (heart) each person possessed. Jesus was content to let the seeds to fall where they will. So, don't you stress over "closing spiritual deals" with people. Just keep on planting the seeds and keep on watering. THEN God will work in their hearts and change them inside out!