Lenten Devotion: Who Gave You the Right?

…And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold (Luke 19:45).

Read Luke 20:1-8

The Jewish Sanhedrin or high court led by the high priest is the recognized authority in Jerusalem. They aren’t crazy about Jesus driving the animals and moneychangers out of the temple and teaching huge crowds right under their noses. So a group from the Sanhedrin comes to ask who gave Him the authority to do these things.

They expect Jesus to say His authority came from God. Then they will demand proof, which they will refuse to recognize, thus discrediting Him in front of the crowds. Jesus recognizes their intended trap. He politely answers, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell Me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?”

Suddenly, their trap is sprung, but they are the ones caught in it! They could give an answer that would please the crowds, saying John’s authority was from God, but they know Jesus will ask why then did they not obey him and receive his baptism. If they tell Him what they honestly think, saying John’s authority did not come from God, they fear the crowd will rise up and stone them to death because the people held John to be a prophet.

So the only answer they can give is no answer at all: “We don’t know where his authority came from.” This is hardly a suitable answer, since they are considered the leaders who are responsible for religious instruction in Israel. They are completely humiliated by the answer they have to give.

Jesus turns it back against them. If you will not answer Me, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, Your authority indeed came from God Your Father, the same source of John’s authority. Help me accept Your authority and trust in You always. Amen.

*Thank you to Lutheran Hour Ministries for providing this devotion.

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