August 21, 2020 – Friday
Matthew 21:24-26 NIV
24 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.
25 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.”
While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts the chief priests and elders, all learned men, interrupted Jesus and asked Him two questions; 1 By what authority are you doing these things?” Then 2 And who gave you this authority?
What things were they were asking about occurred in verses 12-16 where He drove out the money changers and those selling doves. Then the blind and the lame came to Him and He healed them. They saw all of this but focused on what the children were doing. The children were shouting Hosanna to the Son of David. They ignored the miracles and became outraged by the what the children were saying and asked Jesus Do you hear what the children are saying? Jesus answered in a manner showing He had not only heard the children but approved of what they were saying. He defended what they were saying by asking Have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’? Here He had quoted from Psalm 8:2.
As a result, when He returned to the temple to teach once again, they asked Him the two questions above planning on trapping Him with His answer. Instead He trapped them with His question to them in our verses of the day. Notice in their discussion they said If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet. Trapped, they replied to Jesus, We don’t know. Whereupon He said, Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. Checkmate.
Examining their thoughts and discussion where they said If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ Why didn’t they believe him, John the Baptist? Remember believing, pisteuo, comes from faith, pistis, and remember their initial confrontation with John revealed they had neither. John was baptizing in the Jordan River when Pharisees and Sadducees in Matthew 3:7-10 John said to them You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. John did not expect repentance from them and certainly no fruit indicating repentance. Nor did he let them off with a belief they would be saved by being sons of Abraham as they did not produce good fruit. All of that is why he called them a brood of vipers, sons of Satan. No, they did not want to believe John the Baptist. He had attacked the one thing they thought would save them, being sons of Abraham. But without repentance followed by good fruit there would be no salvation for them. The birthright they believed in would not save them.
The one major reason they could not say they believed John, that his baptism, his preaching, and his prophecies were from God is because he had baptised Jesus and acknowledged Him as the Messiah. If they were to believe John was from God, then they would also know by what authority Jesus did those things they asked Him about. There was no way they could go there when they only wanted to maintain the status quo.
This is not unlike so many people we know today. To acknowledge the divinity of Jesus and His death on the cross as payment for our sins would upset their own status quo. Too many people are enjoying their life, their sin, and avoidance of God. They do not want to look at how they are living and compare it with how God would want them to live. Not a chance. At least until trials and tribulations come. Then they will come to those they know who believe and ask for prayers.
Hopefully, we will go to church this weekend and pray for the lost, those who do not know Jesus, something we should be doing daily.