Luke 19-20, Psalm 119:65-96
We must all face the question of who is the authority over our lives. Is it God and His Word or do we prefer to fall under the authority of society and it's norms and therefore compromise. In Matthew 5:27-30, Jesus authoritatively states the problem of committing adultery in the heart. Yet it is estimated that approximately 60% of Christian men are addicted to pornography, including 15-20% of pastors. God authoritatively states in Malachi 2:16 that He hates divorce, and Jesus expands on this concept in Matthew 5:31-33. Yet it is estimated that the divorce rate among Christians is high and not much different than those who are not Christian, depending on how it is measured as high as 25-50% of all marriages. God has clearly and authoritatively stated His view on murder in the 10 Commandments and expanded on by Jesus in Matthew 5:21-26. Yet almost 25% of all women who have abortions in planned parenthood claim to be evangelical Christians. So, as we read the interaction in Luke 20, where the authority of Jesus is being scrutinized, we must all ask ourselves which authority do we submit to.
We read in Luke 20:1-2, "...that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him and spoke to Him, saying, "Tell us by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?" The confrontation seems unfair from a numbers perspective, with Jesus completely outnumbered. But like when David confronted Goliath in 1 Samuel 17, and from a human perspective the confrontation seemed absurd, David states to Goliath in 17:45-46, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear , and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand,...". Jesus responds to their question with His own question in Luke 20:3-4, "...I will also ask you one thing, and answer Me: The baptism of John-was it from heaven or from men?" The religious leaders, not being under the authority of God, and fearing the response of the crowds chose to rely on the authority of their own intellect and the power of rationalization, when they answered that they didn't know the answer. The rest of this chapter shows the various religious leaders scrutinizing the claim and authority of Jesus. Each time He silences His critics quickly and completely. This interaction also has prophetic significance. In Exodus 12:3-6 the Jewish people were instructed to begin scrutinizing and searching for blemishes on their Passover Lamb for four days before being sacrificed. Here we see our Passover Lamb, who would be sacrificed for the sins of all humanity, being scrutinized and examined by the religious authorities beginning four days before He would be sacrificed on the Cross.
We all sin, in fact in 1 John 1:8, it says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." If anyone feels particularly self-righteous we need only turn to Hebrews 4:12-13, where we read, "...and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." God knows not only what we do in the open, but also in secret, and in our minds. Most of us would not want our past, present, or thoughts displayed on the News ticker of Times Square. But it is one thing to fall into sin and another to choose to live and practice it. To live and practice it requires one to submit under a different authority than God and His Word. We can rationalize and compromise and justify as not being different from what everyone else is doing. But society with it's norms are under the wrong authority. God's Word is clear and absolute. Jesus' authority is clearly established. Like the religious leaders above we simply need to ask ourselves which authority do we submit to?
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: