Matthew – God’s Purposes
Isn’t it annoying to work for a leader who gives you solutions to your question off the top of their heads without really knowing the answer or thinking about what is true and right? You question it but you obey the boss hoping it will be okay. Do we do this to our kids at times? Wouldn’t it be better (and safer) to just say, “I don’t know”? Even better, is to follow “I don’t know” with “I will find out the Truth and get back to you”. There would be a lot less confusion in the world if we would think first then respond.
The Pharisees, however, consistently trying to trap Jesus, expressed concern of His authority at the Temple in front of everyone gathered there. Jesus, knowing their hearts, answered their question with a question. After a leadership committee meeting, they respond, “We don’t know”. Best response they could have given. They DIDN’T know. They didn’t know Jesus, Son of God. They didn’t know God’s Word was meant to help not burden people. The didn’t know the intent of God’s Word and commands. Worst of all, they didn’t know God anymore.
They only knew of their present positional power over people along with greed and dishonesty passed down to them. The Pharisees and other religious leaders were going to hold on to this unholy tradition as long as they possibly could. Can you imagine going up against God, in the flesh, and asking, “By what authority are you doing all these things?”
Wow. They were right about ONE thing…They didn’t know.
They watched as Jesus healed the lame, sick, blind and broken. They watched Him love ALL people with unconditional love. They heard Him speak as no one had ever spoken as He read God’s Word. People responded to Jesus openly said, “He speaks with such authority, as one who knows”, but they didn’t know.
They didn’t know Jesus, Son of God, Messiah. They didn’t know or recognize the ONE they had been waiting for because they stopped looking for Him long ago.
Matthew 21, NLT
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
23 When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?”
24 “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. 25 “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?”
They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask us why we didn’t believe John. 26 But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet.” 27 So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”
And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.
Parable of the Two Sons
28 “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. 30 Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go.
31 “Which of the two obeyed his father?”
They replied, “The first.”
Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. 32 For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.
Parable of the Evil Farmers
33 “Now listen to another story. A certain landowner planted a vineyard, built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. 34 At the time of the grape harvest, he sent his servants to collect his share of the crop. 35 But the farmers grabbed his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. 36 So the landowner sent a larger group of his servants to collect for him, but the results were the same.
37 “Finally, the owner sent his son, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’
38 “But when the tenant farmers saw his son coming, they said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Come on, let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ 39 So they grabbed him, dragged him out of the vineyard, and murdered him.
40 “When the owner of the vineyard returns,” Jesus asked, “what do you think he will do to those farmers?”
41 The religious leaders replied, “He will put the wicked men to a horrible death and lease the vineyard to others who will give him his share of the crop after each harvest.”
42 Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures?
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing,
and it is wonderful to see.’
43 I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. 44 Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.”
45 When the leading priests and Pharisees heard this parable, they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. 46 They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION…
Are we so busy with church work that we have stopped looking and relating to the Son of God personally?
Do we rely on our own authority given to us my man?
Are we relying on what little we know instead of learning daily from God’s Holy Spirit, our Spiritual guide and authority for living life as God intended?
It’s so easy to lose focus and begin to make up rules for ourselves and other church goers that are not in God’s Word. We express opinions that have nothing to do with love for God and each other, only as a way to be heard, to have power over someone else or just to be self righteous which is not right at all. Sometimes we are mess. Sometimes we don’t know anything at all. But God does. He knows everything and all things because He created all and is in all.
Look to Jesus, the ONLY authority for our lives. Let Him have His way in our lives. Talk to Him each morning and find out what He wants for our day. Take time to listen after asking. Develop and grow an intimate eternal relationship with Jesus which is not a religion but the most important relationship we will ever have! Nope, it’s not a religion or a slogan, it’s an authentic relationship with The Redeemer of our souls.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You sought us and saved us before we knew anything about You. You loved us while we were forming in our mother’s womb. You have loved us since you created us. You are the supreme authority over my life. I bow to You. I listen to You for the final word on anything in my life. You are God and I am not. To You be glory, honor and all my praise. I love you with all that is in me.
In Jesus Name, Amen