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A Clarification of His Authority

The Gospel of Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Notes & Transcripts
Introduction: The word “authority” is not a very popular word in our society. It seems that many would prefer anarchy instead, however, it is important to understand that authority is a God ordained concept and is a concept that God Himself has weaved into the very fabric of our lives. He has weaved authority structures into the three most important institutions that He created: the family, the church and the government. We disregard God’s authority structures at our own peril. In the passage before us today () we find some religious leaders questioning Jesus’ authority, His interesting response, and another parable as we look at “A Clarification About His Authority.”
Scripture Introduction: Chapter 20 finds Jesus in the “Court of the Gentiles,” which was about a 33 acre lot surrounding the temple. Remember, as we mentioned last week, Jerusalem would be crowded with travelers from all over the Jewish world, because of Passover season. As He is teaching, He is confronted by the very people whom He said would reject Him. Do you remember what He had said in ?
Luke 9:22 ESV
saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Now He is just a few short days from this taking place. Notice the conversation found in
The first thing we see from this conversation is a...
Explanation
These individuals question Jesus’ authority (vv. 1-2). He has ridden into Jerusalem, fulfilling an ancient prophecy, He has already cleansed the Temple and now He is teaching, with authority as He always did, in the Court of the Gentiles. These elders, chief priests and scribes, who had studied OT Scriptures about the Messiah, and were staring the Messiah in the face, were completely and willfully ignorant of WHO Jesus was. They wanted an answer. However, they didn’t just want answers, they wanted to trap Him, but He answered in ways that left them speechless and more frustrated than before.
Jesus, as He often did, proceeds to answer their question with a question (vv. 3-4). Jesus brings up another name, whom they would be very familiar with—John the Baptist. He asked them, “Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?” They had asked Him a simple question, and He in turn asks them a simple question. Jesus’ question would answer their own question. As William Barclay said:
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“Everyone knew how John had regarded Jesus and how he had considered himself only the forerunner of the one who was the Messiah. If they agreed that John’s authority was divine then they had also to agree that Jesus was the Messiah, because John had said so. If they denied it, the people would rise against them. Jesus’ answer in fact asks the question, ‘Tell me—where do you yourself think I got my authority?’ He did not need to answer their question if they answered his” (The Gospel of Luke (p. 289).
Barclay, W. (2001). The Gospel of Luke (p. 289). Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press.
But they immediately find themselves in a quandary (vv. 5-6). They knew, no matter what they answered, they would find themselves in a HUGE predicament. If they said that John’s authority came from Heaven, then they would have to give an account on why they had not received John’s message. However, if they said that John’s authority was only from man, then that would cause an uproar among the people, and they would be potentially stoned to death. So they chose the cowardly answer . . . “We don’t know.”
But they immediately find themselves in a quandary (vv. 5-6). They knew, no matter what they answered, they would find themselves in a HUGH predicament. If they said that John’s authority came from Heaven, then they would have to give an account on why they had not received John’s message. However, if they said that John’s authority was only from man, then that would cause an uproar among the people, and they would be potentially stoned to death. So they chose the cowardly answer . . . “We don’t know.”
So Jesus basically responded, “Since you won’t tell me I won’t tell you.”
These religious leaders had rejected John’s message as well as Jesus’ message and in doing so rejected the very ONE who had sent them.
Illustration
Application
In fact, however, I think Jesus was implying that both he and John had received their authority from the same place…they were both representatives of Heaven and had been sent by God the Father to Israel and to the world to proclaim salvation and to give the message that could set mankind free!
These religious leaders had rejected John’s message as well as Jesus’ message and in doing so rejected the very ONE who had sent them.
Explanation
Now, in verse 9, Jesus tells a parable, which in a round about way demonstrates where His authority comes from. This parable is sometimes referred to as “The Parable of the Wicked Tenants.” The picture is one of stewardship. However, this is not referring to stewardship over money, but rather stewardship over a vineyard.
A man had planted a vineyard and needed to go to another country for a long period of time. He entrusts the vineyard to several individuals who have the responsibility to take care of it while he is away (v. 9). When it was time for the harvest the owner of the vineyard sent another of his servants to collect some of the harvest, but the tenants beat him and sent him away empty handed (v. 10).
So he sends another servant and the same thing happens again. Not only do they beat the second servant, but the Bible indicates that they “treat him shamefully” and send him away empty handed as well (v. 11). He sends a third servant with the same results (v. 12).
The owner of the vineyard recognizes the tenants he left behind have no respect for the servants he has sent to collect what is his. Therefore, he decides to send his son to collect the harvest. Surely, they would recognize and respect his son and relinquish the harvest into his hands (v. 13)! Unfortunately, the son was treated even worse. They realized he was the rightful heir and that he had the authority of his father, and rather than submit to his authority, they chose to take him outside of the city and murder him (v. 14)! The landowner is rightfully enraged and decides to return home, destroy the tenants who rejected his authority and give the vineyard to another (v. 15).
I find the religious leaders response to the parable quite interesting . . . they say, “surely not.” Why would they say that?They said that because they realize the wicked tenants in Jesus’ parable represent THEM! The servants represented the prophets the nation of Israel had persecuted and rejected repeatedly and the son, represents Jesus, the Son of God, whom they had rejected and who would soon be crucified outside the city gates!
If the vineyard is going to be given to others, then what does that mean for them? I personally think this is a reference to the fact that the Gospel of the Kingdom would not only go to the Gentiles, but the Gentiles would be the ones, who primarily will be receptive to the Gospel and will be used by God to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. As Paul said they would be “grafted in.”
Notice what Jesus says next:
:
Luke 20:17 ESV
But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “ ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?
Luke 20:17 ESV
But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “ ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?
Luke 20:17–18 ESV
But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “ ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
This is a quote from which says:
Psalm 118:22 ESV
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
Jesus was a rejected stone by the vast majority of the religious leaders. Although he was rejected by them, He was appointed by God the Father and even though they would have Him killed, three days later He would rise victoriously over death, hell and the grave and the entire world would be shaken by this man and this event, not only for time but for eternity! They could not silence Him, because He would have the last word!
The cornerstone, in buildings of this day was vitally important. One commentary notes: “This is not a decorative stone, but a stone placed at the corner of the building to bear the stress and weight of the two walls. Thus, it is the crucial stone in the building” (Evangelical Commentary on the Bible).
Schreiner, T. R. (1995). Luke. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, p. 833). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Not only would He be the cornerstone of the entire Christian faith, not only would He become the “Rock of our Salvation,” but people would find that they would either be broken over Him or broken by Him.
Not only would He be the cornerstone of the entire Christian faith, not only would He become the “Rock of our Salvation” but people would find that they would either be broken over Him or broken by Him.
From this time until His death, verse 19 reminds us, they were actively and passionately seeking out a way to destroy Him. What they did not know was, in seeking to destroy Him, they were in reality destroying themselves, but at the same time fulfilling the Father’s plan to provide salvation for everyone else!
Illustration & Application: This parable teaches us many things. Once again I refer to Bible commentator William Barclay:
This parable tells us of “human privilege.” Just was we see in , the tenants did not make the vineyard. They simply entered into possession of it. We all have been given privileges that we did not work for, neither did we earn them. Just as we were reminded last week, we will be called upon to give an account for how we use these privileges that God has given us.
This parable tells of “human sin.” The tenants refused to give the owner his due and wished to control what was his to control. That is what our sin looks like as well . . . our failure to give God proper place in our lives and us trying to usurp the power that is rightfully His!
This parable tells of “human responsibility.” There is coming a day of accountability! It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment.
This parable not only tells us some things about humanity, but it also tells us some things about God as well . . .
It tells about the “patience of God.” He repeatedly gave them opportunity after opportunity to do the right thing. Over and over and over again He sends us ample opportunity to repent and trust Him.
It tells about the “judgment of God.” They thought they could presume upon the patience of the master and get away with it. But there is a day of reckoning.
This parable also tells us some things about Jesus, the Son of God . . .
Jesus “knew what was coming.” He didn’t come to Jersualem on vacation, or merely to observe Passover. He came to die. He came to give Himself as a ransom for the world. He came to lay down His life and become our substitute so we could have life and have it more abundantly!
FINAL APPLICATIONS:
God has given you many privileges as well.
If you are a believer, these privileges, blessings, gifts and talents have been given by Him, to you, in order for YOU to use for His glory and for building His kingdom. They are to be used in “the work of the ministry.”
If you are an unbeliever, you also wake up everyday with the opportunity to enjoy God’s blessings and gifts. Yet, the very reason God is good to you, is to help you understand and realize your need to repent and trust Him. The Bible says, “It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance.” Don’t be like the wicked tenants and take the blessings for granted . . . God is giving you ample opportunities to turn to Him and find out what abundant and eternal life is all about . . . but those opportunities will not last forever!
Jesus went to Jerusalem for YOU!
Jesus didn’t go there for a vacation
His main reason wasn’t to observe Passover . . . His main reason was to lay down His life as the Lamb of God so the sin of the world could be taken away. Your sin needed to be paid for so it could be forgiven and washed in the blood of the Lamb.
What will YOU do with Jesus?
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