The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by Matt Windsor-Richards. A dad, devoted to his boys (on a good day) and his wife (on all days!), with his job as an actor getting any days left over (when people can employ him after COVID19!!).

Luke 20:1-8

The Authority of Jesus Questioned

20 One day as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. 2 "Tell us by what authority you are doing these things," they said. "Who gave you this authority?"

3 He replied, "I will also ask you a question. Tell me: 4 John's baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin?"

5 They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Why didn't you believe him?' 6 But if we say, 'Of human origin,' all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet."

7 So they answered, "We don't know where it was from."

8 Jesus said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."


If ever there was a moment when my authority as a parent would be challenged, homeschooling during Lockdown is right up there with trying to prise a sticky, sweaty 6year old from a Jungle SoftPlay Zone. Maybe my 11 and 14yr olds are given too much freedom to argue back and stake their claims, as Sadie and I navigate their testosteronic teenage tempers.

We read all scripture in light of the resurrection, and we know that the authority Jesus has, as the Son Of God, is without question. And yet he had to walk on earth as both man and God. In today's eyewitness account, it describes a specific moment in time where the expertise of Jesus is shown in handling the slippery chief priests and teachers of the Torah. His actions and miracles "spoke" of his authority, but declaring it categorically to those around him, at this particular time was not appropriate. It's fascinating to ponder why. All three Gospels follow this exchange with tomorrows EDWM Parable of the Wicked Tenants, which answers the authority question indirectly. Today, however, we marvel at one of the many examples where Jesus tackles tricky questions from unrepentant stubborn ears that won't listen. Jesus is tactical in his minimal use of words, answering with a parable that will resonate far further than a direct answer to the rude, religious rulers.

I love the guile and strength Jesus demonstrates here. It reminds me of the charity Christians In Sport. Be the best you can be in and out of the game and let friendship speak out the love of Jesus (my words). They gave me "training" during my university years in how to share my faith effectively. "Tactical evangelism" resonated with me. Jesus scores a decisive 3 pointer today, just as the buzzer sounds the moment after the ball has left his hands.

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