By What Authority – Luke 20
By What Authority – Luke 20
As Jesus neared the end of his life, he was busy teaching the people. Jesus in his teachings had pointed out that the religious leaders of his day were wrong in many things. Things that they had approved of, Jesus condemned. Things they had ‘authorized’ to be done in the temple, Jesus repudiated and condemned. They then come and demand of Him: "Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority” (Luke 20:2).
Jesus answered by setting before them the horns of a dilemma: the baptism of John, where did it come from (what is behind its authority) - Heaven or men. While not all such horns of a dilemma are true (often there are other answers besides the two ‘horns’ that are presented), in this case, it is so. God by right of creation has the right to rule, govern, and make whatever rules and laws He sees fit. Jesus as the son of God who has been raised has been given all authority in heaven and upon earth (Matt. 28:18). He thus can give a ‘therefore’ of making disciples of all nations and teaching them to observe ‘all things whatsoever I have commanded’ (vs. 19-20). As His disciples then we are to do whatever we do in word or in deed, in the name of the LORD. (Col. 3:17). He is the king over God’s people today. He is the head over the body of God’s people today. He is the LORD.
Or we can do whatever WE want to do, ‘each man doing what is right in his own eyes’. You must see how this works by reading the book of Judges, particularly the summary in Judges 21:25. This amounts to complete lawlessness. Everyman a law unto himself means there is no law.
While we may not be saved by law keeping, we will surely be lost for lawbreaking. The only exception to that is to be found in Jesus and the forgiveness of such lawless deeds. Such forgiveness is not to be granted to those who CONTINUE in such lawless rebellion but to those who repent and begin walking in light. We obey out of love, but we obey. We keep his commandments out of love, but we keep His commandments.
Now, how do we learn what such commandments and teachings are? His teachings were passed on to us through the inspired work of the Apostles. The Holy Spirit led them, guided them, and produced through them the word of God. They wrote down what they knew - what they had seen, heard, observed, touched, and experienced (cp. Luke 1:1-3; 2 Peter 1:10-15; 1 John 1:1-4). What they wrote are the commandments of the Lord (1 Cor. 14:33). All we know about the teachings of Jesus are encapsulated in the writings of the apostles and prophets of the first century. By the Spirit of God they were guided into all truth (John 16:13). By the Spirit they were taught all things and were able to remember all that Jesus had said unto them (John 14:26). When men preach any other gospel than that, they are said to be cursed of God (Gal. 1:8-9). Those that do not abide in such teaching of Christ have not God (2 John 9-10).
Each of us needs to ask ourselves this question: by what authority am I doing this? If you cannot show that such is the teaching of Jesus, then don’t do it. There simply is no other authority that can authorize us in our lives.