By Whose Authority?

The song “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty” is ringing in my ears and in my heart – against the background of Monday morning and the feeling of being a little bit overwhelmed by all the opportunities God is giving me (3 preaching turns from next week added) and with that the responsibility of carrying them through in a manner which gives Him glory. So many gaps?

So He speaks: “Yes I am holy – totally other; completely ‘other’; completely pure – huge and awesome and pure – but the good news is that through the death of Jesus the gap has been bridged and you can now relate and speak to me and hear from Me. In Him (Jesus) you are made instantly and completely holy and yet you still have to grow into My holiness – this is a mystery to you, but very real.

“Now remember my invitation to you to come to me when you feel heavy laden and I will give you rest? You first have to release your striving and your agenda and turn to me and accept My agenda, My program, from that acceptance will come the power and the ability and the gifting to do – that is why I follow this invitation with the instruction to take my yoke upon you – it is only in the light of the above that my yoke is ‘easy’ – fits perfectly and you are not pulling alone, I am right there pulling with you. So come to Me continually for my rest and peace which will keep ‘recharging’ you to be responsive in the yoke I have given you – which is planned and perfect for you”.

My reading over the last two days is Luke 20:1-19. Two separate stories with lots of teaching, but I am going to focus on just one aspect which I think is the main point of the two stories. Why don’t you read through the two stories and see how they are connected and what you feel is the main point Luke wants the reader to assimilate. Actually the second is a commentary on the first.

In the first the religious establishment (20:1) come to challenge Jesus, in the light of what He had been doing in the temple. So their challenge was, “By what authority do you do these things?” This is not really a question, rather an open challenge to Jesus’ authority. Because they actually know what He is claiming and simply want to trap Him into saying it. Jesus then neatly sidesteps the question. However Luke shows in the next story what Jesus’ answer actually is. By telling the allegory/parable first then summarizing it in vs 17, Jesus is claiming to be none less than the Messiah Himself. The quote comes from Psalm 118, which is a messianic Psalm and we have already seen how Luke has used this Psalm to identify Jesus in the quote in 19:38 with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The allegory in vv 9 -16, has historical significance in describing the whole attitude of the religious establishment towards carrying out God’s intended wishes.

But the focus is vs 17. Don’t underestimate the importance of that quote. The capstone or rather cornerstone was going to be the key stone on which the whole of God’s future kingdom was going to be built. This was the Man, rejected as of now, (cf vs 19) due to die at the hands of the very people who were questioning Him, but in that death the full power of God released to break into the world with the life-giving, awesome kingdom, of which we are the blessed citizens.

But then I ask what are you saying to me today from this passage, dear Jesus? Firstly, He has all the authority in heaven and on earth and everything I do, I do under His authority. So I need to think this through. Am I consciously submitting to His authority in all the spheres of my life? If I am then I have His authority to act, in my speaking, in my heart’s thoughts which lead to action, in all my teaching. The second thing that arises from this passage is how diligently am I in tending God’s vineyard which is in my reach? How effectively am I tending each vine so that they may be able to produce the very fruit which God intends for him/her? And an oh so welcome and timely a reminder that Jesus is God and deserves all my worship.

What do you hear Him saying to you today? Lets hear that in the blog response.

8 Replies to “By Whose Authority?”

  1. I’m sitting at Hans’ PC….. commenting on Ian’s last blog when whoosh the next one is in. My brother you are on fire for Him who holds us in the palm of His Hand.

    Open our ears, Lord, we want to hear Jesus.
    (Learnt this from Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz as she taught us from Genesis!!)

  2. I know that each one of us has been given talents by God. And to use that which we received from Jesus, is a blessing. And we who listen for us it is also a blessing being built up in our faith and love for God and our fellow believers. To everyday be thankful for Jesus paying by death and rising again, to set us free and looking forward to the day we meet Him face to face.

  3. The fact that Jesus is the cornerstone of my faith stabilizes me day by day. Challenges and tribulations during these times are inevitable but He asks that our hearts not be troubled and He asks us to trust Him for He has overcome the world. His authority was stamped on my very being the day I stood up and acknowledged that JESUS IS KING!!

  4. It seems I can post my comments again and I therefore want to add an example of false power. It was written by Charles Colson from prison . Colson fell from great power because of the Watergate scandal.” I was blind. Indeed only in the breakdown of great power, did I finally understand both it and myself. For my view of life was through such narrow openings as the elegantly draped windows of the White House and my vistas were of lush green lawns, manicured bushes and proud edifices housing the corridors of power. But looking at the world from the underside through the bars of a dark prison cage and the barbed wire of forced confinement, i could for the first time really see .I began to understand why God views society not through easily corrupted kings but through peasant prophets who in their own powerlessness could see and communicate God’s perspective.”

  5. Amen Lilly. So much of what is going on in the world has to do with authority. The Christian view turns everything upside down.

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