Jesus’ authority is challenged.
In Matthew 21, we read an account where Jesus is engaged in a heated conversation with religious leaders.
Specifically, the chief priests and elders were challenging His authority. In turn, Jesus challenged them, regarding their approval of John the Baptist’s ministry.
“Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.“
John the Baptist fulfilled prophecy.
Moreover, many witnessed John’s incredible ministry, baptizing thousands of God’s people for repentance, as they prepared for the coming Messiah.
John’s pinnacle moment would have been when Jesus, who needed no repentance, asked John to baptize Him.
Coming back to Matthew 21…
Jesus knew the hearts of these religious leaders Jesus knew that they internally rejected John the Baptist’s ministry. His brilliance is evident, as He answers their questions with more questions.
These religious leaders were a deceptive bunch, always cautious with their words. They knew that their popularity with the people might slip if they openly reject John’s ministry.
Jesus will teach them a lesson.
This week, we’ll move on to verses 28-32, exploring the deeper meaning behind The Parable of the Two Sons. We’ll see that Jesus, the greatest of all teachers, will lay out a little parable to teach these snakes in the grass a lesson.
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What do you know about John the Baptist and his ministry? Why do you think the religious leaders reject John’s baptism?