Daily Devotional Thursday 9th January 2020

by William Moody

Luke 20:1–8

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

20:1 One day, as Jesus1 was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.” He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from. And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”


[1] 20:1 Greek he


It is in light of what Jesus did in clearing the temple that this group ask Jesus about the authority He had (v1-2). Jesus has come unto their turf, they see Him as interfering and want to know what right He had to do this.

We need to understand that Jesus does not want to placidly stand by and observe our lives, Jesus wants to come in to transform us and this can be very challenging and uncomfortable.

How Jesus responds to this challenge about authority is so wise (v3-6). They have quite a dilemma and no matter how they answer they are going to lose as Jesus’ question exposes their hypocrisy. Saying John’s authority was not from heaven would be difficult due to how people revered him. Saying John’s baptism was from God would open up the question as why they did not obey.

The chief priests, scribes and elders bale out and don’t answer (v7). Jesus then refuses to answer their question (v8). His refusal was due to their insincerity in seeking the truth.

Jesus will reveal truth when we sincere seek it but Jesus will not teach us if we’re just looking for excuses not to believe. Are there things Jesus has been teaching you which you refuse to believe or obey? Pray about this.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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