Power and Authority – Luke 20 (20/24)

Read Luke Chapter 20

You can imagine the Pharisees wondering who this upstart was who turns up and acts like He owns the place. Up until now, no one would have dared to challenge the authority of the Pharisees, especially in regards to the temple and the things of God. Yet, here was Jesus throwing tables around, teaching about Scripture like He wrote it and constantly insulting them as though they didn’t know God at all.

Luke 20:2 “Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority?”

So now the Pharisees challenge Jesus about His authority to do these things. Jesus responds cleverly by referring to John the Baptist and then tells a parable clearly outlining how the Jews have treated those whom God had sent to them. What could be a clearer outline of Jesus’ authority, His coming and rejection than this parable.

Psalm 118:22 “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone. 23 This is the Lord’s doing; It is marvellous in our eyes. 24 This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

The Pharisees recognise Jesus’ impartiality when He speaks the words of truth to all and that catching Him out is not going to be easy. They try to lure Him into saying something against Rome, but His response is again full of wisdom and is also an opportunity to point them towards God in truth (Earthly authority belongs to earthly kings; heavenly authority belongs to a heavenly king):

Luke 20:25 “And He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.””

Now we look to the Resurrection. The Jews had a very different idea of what this might look like, that we might be resurrected to a life similar to this one. Jesus explains that not all will be raised, only those worthy of it (believers) but that the ‘sons of the resurrection’ will be like the angels, unable any longer to die (1 Corinthians 15:42-49), the power of God is able to completely change us. Our hearts are changed (2 Corinthians 5:17) when He redeems our spirit and deposits His Holy Spirit within us (Ephesians 1:13-14). Our redemption is complete at our bodily resurrection where our bodies are completely renewed into something quite different. We will be very much alive, we don’t actually die and perhaps we will be more alive than ever before, as God is the God of the living not the dead.

Not only is Jesus’ authority shown by His power to spectacularly change us, His authority also lies in His (human) royal bloodline, that of King David. The Jews knew full well from Scripture that Messiah would come from King David’s line (1 Chronicles 17:11-14, Isaiah 9:6-7).

Psalm 110:1 “The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”

Jesus never really gives a straight answer to the question, but continues to place Himself, using Scripture, in that place of authority; thereby claiming to be God the Messiah. His reference to Psalm 110 shows what real authority and power looks like, which is complete unlike the religious leaders who strut around like they are something when really they are not. They have no power to effect the changes God requires. They should have known better, but mislead the people, so their condemnation will be all the more greater.

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