Sunday, March 5, 2017

Acknowledging Authority

Luke 20:1–8 (NKJV)
 Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?” But He answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, and answer Me: The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men?” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it was from. And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Sometimes preaching makes people mad. 
"Your stepping on my toes, Preacher!" 
"Now your meddling!"
When I was a young man, my pastor said something that I never forgot. He said, that yes, sometimes people get mad about what the preacher preaches. But, if he's preaching the Word of God, then they don't really have a problem with the preacher. They have a problem with God.
Right? If the preacher is accurately and faithfully explaining the text. And its that accurate a faithful explanation that causes us to get upset, then the preacher is properly fulfilling his role as a mere "messenger." We are upset because of what the Bible said.

The Bible says many comforting and encouraging things. But it also says a lot that is convicting. It highlights the failings of the carnal mind. And shows us shortcomings in ourselves. In Christian circles, it might be faux pas to disagree with the Bible, but unless we've achieved perfection (and we haven't), the human, fleshly, unredeemed part of us is going to find plenty to disagree with.

The question is, are we going to acknowledge God's Authority?

If we disagree with the Bible in our personal beliefs, will we yield?
If we disagree with the Bible on our societal principles, will we humble ourselves to God's Word?
if we disagree politically with the Scripture, will we accept that we are wrong, and God is right?

 In the passage we find that the ultimate error among the chief priests, scribes, and elders was failure to acknowledge God's authority. They did not believe John a prophet, but were more concerned with people's opinions, and the threat of losing their own lives to say so. To acknowledge him as a prophet meant admitting to being wrong, something their pride would never allow. They were stuck, mired down in their arrogance. But the solution was actually simple. They needed to acknowledge the authority of God. He was literally standing before them. There was no answer Jesus could have given that would not have been subject to their own authority. The authority of their egos, ideas, and personal beliefs. So Jesus answered them not at all.

And neither will we find the answers we're looking for. Not from a preacher. Not from the Scripture. Not even from prayer. Until we are willing to set aside pride, prejudice, and the desire to be accepted by others and acknowledge the authority of God.

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