Journal Luke 20 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple AND preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority?”
(Jesus) answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?”
And (the priests, scribes, and elders) discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘from heaven’, (Jesus) will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But, if we say, ‘From man’, all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.”
So, they answered that they did not know where it came from.
And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” Luke 20:1-8 (see also Matt 21:23-27 and Mk 11:27-33 for comparison)
Observation: Dancing around answers should be very familiar. Happened 2,000 years ago just like it does today.
Analysis: I wonder why Jesus didn’t answer the question straight away? I admit that the squirming he put the priests, et.al., through was pertinent and needed, especially for all the disciples to ponder.
“Are my instructions/commands, etc. from God? If so, why aren’t they being done?” This is one principle that can be extracted from these verses for direct application.
However, the blunt implication of “if this is from God, why aren’t you doing it?” can be inordinately stressful instead of visionary; it becomes reacting from a legal POV and not from Grace.
These legal beagles were trying to trap Jesus into saying something they could use against Him. Jesus turned their tactic back on them. Notice He wasn’t trying to “convince” them of repentance; he was illuminating their maneuvering and scheming.
Jesus is pretty clever that way.
The text says that Jesus was teaching in the temple and preaching the Gospel. What was He teaching? What part of the Gospel (since the Cross hadn’t happened yet, since Jesus hasn’t been resurrected yet, since the Ascension and subsequent raining down of the Holy Spirit hasn’t happened yet—how did He preach the Gospel?
This is what pursuit entails. If I had to preach the Gospel, using just the Old Testament and not using anything from the Cross forward, could I do it?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, your inclusion of this story in the Scriptures seems to be for self-reflection AND for me to understand what this fallen world is about, especially about those who are “religious.”
Praying for discernment, Spirit.
Ricky Two Shoes