By what authority You (you) are doing these things?
Luke 20:1-26 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him, 2 and they spoke, saying to Him, “Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority?” 3 Jesus answered and said to them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell Me: 4 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?” 5 They reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 7 So they answered that they did not know where it came from. 8 And Jesus said to them, “Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
9 And He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey for a long time. 10 At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the produce of the vineyard; but the vine-growers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 And he proceeded to send another slave; and they beat him also and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And he proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out. 13 The owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 But when the vine-growers saw him, they reasoned with one another, saying, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others.” When they heard it, they said, “May it never be!” 17 But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
‘The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone’?
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”
19 The scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on Him that very hour, and they feared the people; for they understood that He spoke this parable against them. 20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, in order that they might catch Him in some statement, so that they could deliver Him to the rule and the authority of the governor. 21 They questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You speak and teach correctly, and You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. 22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 23 But He detected their trickery and said to them, 24 “Show Me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” 25 And He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26 And they were unable to catch Him in a saying in the presence of the people; and being amazed at His answer, they became silent.
In today’s text the religious leaders questioned Jesus authority to teach, to preach and to do miracles. Jesus did not answer their question that day, but at the very beginning of His ministry, in Luke 4:16-21 it says: He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” That was and is the source of Jesus authority. Rather than answering their question, Jesus rebukes the religious leaders for rejecting Him and His message. He says: ‘The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone’? Jesus was and is that chief corner stone. He is the one on whom anything of value must be built. In John 14:6 He says: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” In Matthew 7:24 -27 Jesus says: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” Many today also reject Jesus words. They choose to build on some other foundation. They choose to follow another way. Jesus does not need to prove His authority. For any who choose to build on another foundation, it will be as the parable says: “great was its fall.”
In Matthew 16:13-19, Jesus also speaks of authority and of building on a foundation. It says: Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are ]the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” It is upon the foundation of the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Lord and Savior, that Jesus builds His church. Any foundation other than Christ as Lord and Savior is not the church that He builds. Many people believe and teach that the foundation is love. Love is vital and it is foundational, but love is really the motivation for the foundation of Christ as Savior. John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Love was and is the motivation for God to establish the foundation of Christ as Lord and Savior.
The religious leaders questioned Jesus authority, but in Matthew 16, Jesus gives His authority to the church He builds. Christ means Anointed One. When Jesus walked into His authority He said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” In the same way, Jesus says to and of His church, built upon the revelation that He is the Christ: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) We too have been anointed by the Holy Spirit, in Christ. We too have authority to be His witnesses, to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. We have the authority in Christ, through the anointing of the Holy Spirit to bind on earth it shall be bound in heaven, to loose on earth and it shall be loosed in heaven. When we stand on the foundation of Jesus the Christ, when we build our lives and stake our authority in and on Him, the gates of Hades will not overpower us.
In today’s text Jesus says: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” It is much more than about money or taxes. It is about rendering our lives to Him and His authority. It is giving ourselves to His authority so that in exchange we may have that same authority and foundation.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit; Like Jesus, I say: The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. Thank You for the revelation that You are the Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. Amen.