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

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

One day as Jesus was teaching the people and preaching the Good News in the Temple, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. They demanded, "By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?" "Let me ask you a question first," he replied. "Did John's authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?" They talked it over among themselves. "If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn't believe John. But if we say it was merely human, the people will stone us because they are convinced John was a prophet." So they finally replied that they didn't know. And Jesus responded, "Then I won't tell you by what authority I do these things."
— Luke 20:1-8 NLT

Key Thought

Jesus had now entered the battlefield. Yes, he was in the Temple of God. However, his opponents were now going to bombard him with questions in hopes of getting him to commit some heinous religious offense that they could use to make him seem scandalous and to give them an apparent basis for killing him. Jesus' agenda, on the other hand, was to share the Good News. So, outwitting his opponents at their own game, he sent them away with a question they didn't want to answer. They don't answer him, so he sent them away without an answer to their question. He was there to minister. He wouldn'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 properly identify these issues. On the other hand, dear Father, I don't want to get caught up in 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.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 1 Timothy 6:20
  • Titus 2:15
  • Romans 15:17-20


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Illustration of Luke 20:1-8 NLT — "Then I won't tell you by what authority I do these things."

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.