Jesus Authority Questioned and the Parable of the two Sons!!!
Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John—where was it from? From heaven or from men?” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.” And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him….. Matthew 21: 23-32.
In our previous studies, We saw how Jesus rode a Donkey triumphantly into Jerusalem and how He Cleansed the temple by driving out all those who buy and sell in the Temple. We also see Him Hunger and cursing a Fig tree which has only Leaves but no fruits. Here we see the Chief priest and the Elders questioning Him to know who gave Him such authority to do what He was doing in the Temple and the reply the Lord gave them by telling them a Parable.
Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”: There is something very interesting that we can learn from the attitude of Jesus to those who asked him questions. Whenever His Disciples asked him a question even if it was a silly question, He always made it a point to reply and explained it to them. But when the Scribes and the Pharisees came to Him and asked him things, Jesus did not give them a direct answer. Sometimes He did, sometimes he didn’t. He would often ask them another question in return and never answered their question at all and this was one of those instance. This was because they were not interested in a Godly life. They were only looking for ways to trap Him in whatever He says. There are many people like this also who come to us to ask questions just to trap us or just to bring up controversial issues. We must be sensitive and seek for discernment to know how to speak. This is exactly how Jesus lived. He lived with constant touch with the Father, so He could know exactly what to say to each person. He did not live by a rule book on how to speak. He lived by the leading of the Holy Spirit. And now the same Holy spirit that gave Jesus wisdom and discernment has been poured out. If we open ourselves and seek to be filled always with the Holy Spirit, we will know how to answer all those who come to us.
They asked Him, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”. This was a question they all knew the answer to. All His Miracles and signs was an attestation that He was sent from God. Even, Nicodemus who was one of their rulers who became a Secret Disciple said to Jesus, ” “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.(John 3:1-2)” So why ask again? They have deliberately shut their eyes against the Truth. They saw Jesus driving out those who were buying and selling and instead of rejoicing that the Den of thieves has been displaced, they were asking questions. First of all, why did the Chief priest and elders allow this people to turn the Temple to a place of merchandise and business? I have a feeling that they were collecting a huge commission from these traders. I can’t imagine the Chief Priest allowing that if there is no money attached to it. This is exactly what is happening in Christian churches today. What Pastor gets as commissions make them allow things in the Church which Christ will never allow. Because they get their salaries from the rich in the Church, their mouths are shuts and they cannot rebuke the Rich for Sins. Let us therefore not ask questions concerning what we know to be true and allow nothing to shut our mouth from rebuking people for their Sins.
” But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John—where was it from? From heaven or from men?” : Although the authority He had was from God, but He did not want to explain it to carnal people who came simply for argument. So instead He asked them a question which puts them in a trap. Behold the wisdom of Christ!!! He refused to answer their questions. There is no need explaining the Truth to those that have willingly shut their eyes against the Truth. There is no need providing an answer to those who have not asked questions in other to live a more godly life but instead to test us. We are to be wise as Serpent when dealing with people who come to us as wolves(Matt 10:16).
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.”: Here is the dilemma they found themselves in with the question Jesus asked them. They reasoned among themselves and they want to be Diplomatic in this Matter. If they said that the Baptism of John was from Heaven, He would have said, “Why didn’t you believe Him then?”. And if they said, it was from Men, the People would be against them. They were like, “If we answer like this, what will people say, and if we answer like that, what will people say?” I Have seen many Preachers like these who are caught in dilemma situation because they want to be Diplomatic and don’t want to offend people with their answer. I was in a Church one day, and the Preacher was speaking about drinking alcohol. But the Preacher was afraid to say boldly if drinking alcohol was a Sin or not. Because seated in front of Him were the rich who pay huge tithes but drink alcohol, and also there are Few Poor Disciples who are whole-hearted for God. So this Preacher could not conclude whether drinking Alcohol was a Sin or not. He didn’t want to offend the rich that drinks and at the same time he didn’t want to offend those who do not drink. So He just smiled over the matter and said, “God will help all of us o”. Can you imagine how evil people can become because they would not stand up for the Truth as they have seen it. These Pharisees ended up becoming Liars by saying, “we do not know”. If we also seek to please people and become Diplomatic, we will end up becoming Liars. If you are sure of a Truth as found in the Bible, proclaim it!!! If You are sure that a Lady must cover her head when she prays and prophesy, don’t be afraid to Speak the truth even when you stand before those who don’t veil their head. Don’t become a Diplomat because of what people will say or think about you. Let them say, You are Narrow minded. Let them call you old-fashioned Preacher, let them call you all sorts of names. Speak the Truth. If they like, they should obey it or not, that’s not your concern. But Your duty is to speak and teach the Truth. What God will judge you for is if you fail to speak the Truth because you were afraid of what people will say or do.
And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.: Jesus never get into an argument with them. Spiritual things are spiritually understood and not intellectually. You can never Understand Spiritual things by Human argument. It is not the condition of our heads that matters in Spiritual things but the condition of our hearts. The Disciples were not as clever as these Scribes but they understood. What did the Disciples had that the Scribes don’t have is a sincere heart and a Humble Spirit. God has hidden these things from the Wise and intelligent(Matt 11:25). The Lord refuse to tell them anything because they have rejected the Love of the Truth and they deserve to be deceived. Those who hate the Truth, God himself sends a delusion on them so that they would believe the Lie(2 Thessalonians 2:10-11). Let us therefore love the Truth about ourselves and Condition and let us cherish those Truths that saves us from Sin lest God Himself allows us to be deceived. If our Hearts, Flesh and Satan deceives us, there is still hope for us. But if God Himself allows us to be deceived, there is no hope for us. Let us therefore Love the Truth!!!
But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.”: Then Jesus spoke a Parable to them. Notice here the attitude of the first Son was, “I will go”. In other words, His words were right but his obedience was lacking. He did not actually do what He said. In order words, His Doctrine was correct but His Life was wrong. He was correct in His Doctrine but wrong in the matter of obedience. But the Second Son, His words were not right but his actions were right. There is a great emphasizes unfortunately in Christianity on Right words. Although Right words are important, we don’t devalue that but if it is right words without right actions then that is worse than someone else whose terminology is not exactly accurate but whose actions are that of obedience. That is the point of this parable. There is often disagreement among Christians about terminologies and Doctrines. Doctrines are important but a Doctrine that does not lead to a life of obedience is Useless. There are many who veil their heads, who speak the correct Language, who can explain all the terminologies in the Bible, who can explain the Tabernacle and even draw the Charts of how the end of the Earth as explained in the book of Revelation but they lack obedience. But there are others who don’t even know the difference between Peter and Paul or cannot even locate where Habakkuk is in the Bible but yet have obedience in their lives. These are those who did the will of the Father. Not those that knew so much and Yet fail to obey.
Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him: Who had the right terminologies? It was obviously the Scribes and the Pharisees. Harlots and Tax collectors know nothing about the Laws of Moses. But they Repented but these Great Bible Scholars did not. This is a warning that has come down to us today that repentant hearts that obeys God’s word will get into God’s Kingdom before many Bible scholars and Preachers who have the right terminologies but lack obedience and Repentance in their lives. This is the thing that Jesus kept on stressing and this is what we must stress today also in the midst of Christians otherwise Jesus would say the same words to us too, “The Harlots will get into God’s Kingdom before You because they Repented before you who speak so much about My words”. God has no favourite, He came to the Jewish people first and when they rejected Him, He moved to the Gentiles. This is the mistake that a lot of Christian Groups make. Just because God has used us to restore some truths that is unknown to others or Blessing to others, we can begin to think that we are God’s favourite and then we begin to become casual in our attitude to Sin. But there are others who may initially may not have responded alright but who later Repented. Let us therefore learn from this that it is obedience and Repentance that Jesus looks for and not Just right Doctrines. Paul said to Timothy, ” Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you(1 Timothy 4:16)”. If you take heed to your Doctrine only and not your life, you will go astray. Take heed to Your Life first. Your personal life first and then your Doctrine. That is the right attitude.
Dear Friend, why do you approach people with questions? Is it in order to trap and test them in Spiritual matters and not to be instructed? Are you a Diplomat in handling God’s word? You don’t want to offend anyone so you refuse to speak out on a matter. Instead you say, “I don’t Know”. Speak the Truth. Don’t try to please Man. Live a Life of obedience even if you cannot explain the Trinity. What is important is Obedience. May the Lord give us the Grace to obey His words. May our prayers, singing and praising not be empty words before Him because we lack obedience in our private life(Amen). God bless you. Have a blessed day.
#Everyday with Jesus.