What Jesus Did! 'By Whose Authority?' — Luke 20:1-8

Saturday, November 14, 2015

One day Jesus was in the temple area. He was teaching the people. Jesus told the people the Good News {about the kingdom of God}. The leading priests, teachers of the law, and older Jewish leaders came to talk to Jesus. They said, "Tell us! What authority do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?" Jesus answered, "I will ask you a question too. Tell me: When John baptized people, did that come from God or was it only from other people?" The priests, the teachers of the law, and the Jewish leaders all talked about this. They said to each other, "If we answer, 'John's baptism was from God,' then he will say, 'Then why did you not believe John?' But if we say that John's baptism was from someone else, {not God,} then all the people will kill us with rocks. They will kill us because they believe that John was a prophet." So they answered, "We don't know the answer." So Jesus said to them, "Then I will not tell you what authority I use to do these things!"
— Luke 20:1-8
Illustration of Luke 20:1-8 — "Then I will not tell you what authority I use to do these things!"

Key Thought

Jesus has now entered the battlefield. Yes, he is in the Temple of God. However, his opponents are now going to bombard him with questions in hopes of getting him to commit some heinous religious offense that they can use to make him seem scandalous. Jesus' agenda, on the other hand, is to share the Good News. So outwitting his opponents at their own game, he sends them away with a question they didn't want to answer. They won't answer him, so he sends them away without an answer to their question. He is there to minister. He won't get caught up in their games with the end so near. Let's remember that we must not let religious games ever take the place of God's mission and ministry through us.

Today's Prayer

Father, forgive me for getting so upset sometimes with religious questions. I know there are important issues of truth. Please help me see these. On the other hand, dear Father, I don't want to get caught up in the religious arguments and miss the opportunity to minister to others as you would have me do. Please remove any contentious spirit from me and help me to focus on the things that are matters of your concern. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

One day Jesus was in the temple area. He was teaching the people. Jesus told the people the Good News {about the kingdom of God}. The leading priests, teachers of the law, and older Jewish leaders came to talk to Jesus. They said, "Tell us! What authority do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?" Jesus answered, "I will ask you a question too. Tell me: When John baptized people, did that come from God or was it only from other people?" The priests, the teachers of the law, and the Jewish leaders all talked about this. They said to each other, "If we answer, 'John's baptism was from God,' then he will say, 'Then why did you not believe John?' But if we say that John's baptism was from someone else, {not God,} then all the people will kill us with rocks. They will kill us because they believe that John was a prophet. " So they answered, "We don't know the answer." So Jesus said to them, "Then I will not tell you what authority I use to do these things!"

Luke 20:1-8

Related Scripture Readings

Timothy, God has trusted you with many things. Keep those things safe. Stay away from people who talk about useless things that are not from God. Stay away from people who argue against {the truth}. Those people use something they call "knowledge"—but it is really not knowledge.

1 Timothy 6:20

Tell the people these things. You have full authority (power). So use that authority to help the people and to correct them when they are wrong. And don't let any person treat you like you are not important.

Titus 2:15

So I am proud of the things I have done for God in Christ Jesus. I will not talk about anything I did myself. I will talk only about the things that Christ has done with me in leading the non-Jewish people to obey God. They have obeyed God because of the things I have said and done. And they obeyed God because of the power of the miracles and the great things they saw, and because of the power of God's Spirit. I have told people the Good News about Christ in every place from Jerusalem to Illyricum. And so I have finished that part of my work. I always want to tell the Good News in places where people have never heard of Christ. I do this because I don't want to build on the work that another person has already started.

Romans 15:17-20

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.