Monday, March 29th Luke 20:1-8

One day, as he was teaching the people in the temple and telling the good news, the chief priests and the scribes came with the elders and said to him, “Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things? Who is it who gave you this authority?” He answered them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell me: Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” They discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us; for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from. Then Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.” Luke 20:1-8

The last week of Jesus’ life on earth in physical form was, to say the least, eventful. Each of the gospel writers tell the story a bit differently. While the rough movement remains the same, the details differ according to the information available to the writers and the writers’ individual perspective.

This year, we’ll prepare together for Easter by noticing some of what Luke chose to share with us about that last week.

It begins with Jesus being questioned by “the chief priests, the scribes and the elders.” The powerful ones, the religious elite, question Jesus first about his authority as a teacher.

“Authority” has always been an important concept in Jewish thinking. The very idea of “author” goes all the way back to the creation story and the faith that life itself is being written by a Creator. God alone is the Author of life and therefore the one authority worthy of both praise and obedience.

Becoming a scribe, a chief priest, an elder was about following in the footsteps of a teacher who had the authority to open the ancient scriptures, plant them in their hearts and minds, and model living according to them. Outside of the bloodlines of the Sadducees (the temple priests), the Pharisees only had their knowledge of the scriptures and taught as they had been taught. “Original thinking” was discouraged. To this day, Jewish worship resources trace the thoughts of others down through the ages. So for Jesus to show up and teach “as one with authority” was scandalous.

But Jesus sees behind their question. He sees that they aren’t concerned merely with propriety or tradition – they are concerned with power. They don’t ask questions of Jesus to discover the truth but to gather evidence to do what they really want to do any, to get rid of Jesus.

So it is that much of the conversations we have with Jesus have more to do with power than we otherwise think. We in the church argue amongst ourselves about church doctrine and practice and hardly throw a bone Jesus’ way. Those outside the church might have varying views about Jesus but, by rejecting the church, often (on purpose or not) merely justifying their lives in defense of the freedom to basically live any way they want. Either way, Jesus isn’t the authority in our lives that Jesus ought to be.

At the end of the day, it isn’t unusual that we care far more about what the neighbors think than we do about what Jesus thinks, much less about what it means in our lives to follow him. To follow by granting him the authority he already has, that is, to write the story of our lives along the plot of God’s will.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, we follow you now into Holy Week. We set aside time this week both to worship you in the gathered crowds, but also to be alone with you in our personal prayers. As we watch you and hear again about how you spent your last days, we pray for the insight to follow well through our own. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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4 Responses to “Monday, March 29th Luke 20:1-8”

  1. Tim K Says:

    Pastor kerry I have let them take my Mothers life, I fought everyone, everyday for three months, on the last day I did not fight even though in my heart I new what a dr. proposed was wrong. I will not ask for forgiveness, I can not. God knows who I am and I will take what he gives. I hope that mine is 10 times the horror of my mothers, I will not fight for myself

    Thanks for your time

  2. Tina Peterson Says:

    God still loves you Tim K., and He loves your mother.

  3. Jane Says:

    Tim K–
    God knows the grief you feel … and he knows what is in your heart. Have faith that He is always with you and that He grieves with you.

    Let this most of Holy of seasons give you the strength, the courage … and the forgiveness that you need.

    God’s forgiveness is there … just open your heart!

    Prayers and blessings…

  4. Dawne Says:

    Tim, your anguish speaks loudly to us through your words. I don’t know your situation but I can infer some things from your comments. It sounds like perhaps your mother was on life support? Making the decision to allow someone to die is agonizing. It sounds like you fought the good fight for as long as you could. I have the deepest of sympathy for you in your time of loss and pain. I pray that God guides you through this dark time and that you come through to the sunshine that awaits you at the other end. Life will never be quite the same after the loss of your mother, but it can (and hopefully will) be better after the intense mourning period is over. You can rest assured and confident in the knowledge that you did all you could and all that you thought was right. God certainly does not hold you accountable for anything. We all rest in the assurance that we were forgiven over 2,000 years ago and that forgiveness continues now and forever.

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