On Obedience and Authority (Lent 37, 2016)

To all of us who are tired of manmade credentials ruling the day and determining the worth of one’s ministry or the validity of someone’s message;

to those among us who are sick of people promising one thing… but doing another;

to those of us who are bored with just another superficial sermon written by committee and focus groups;

and to those of us who enjoy reassurance from God that our obedience matters to Him no matter what the world may say about us, today’s passage is just the ticket.

Matthew 21: 23 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?” 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 from men?” They discussed it among themselves and said,

“IThought 37f we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From men’– we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ 29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. 30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. 31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

Give it up for Lent: seeing but not believing

Questions for Matthew 21:23-32

  1. Have you ever had someone question your credentials, authority, or leadership? Jesus knew what that was like. How did He respond to their question?
  2. Did each person answer individually or did they try to come up with a group decision?
  3. How did Jesus’ question put the ball back into their court?
  4. How did Jesus’ story about the sons and the vineyard highlight both faith and obedience?
  5. How can you rekindle your understanding of Jesus’ authority in your life?

Jesus speaks on authorityReKindle is the 2016 Lenten devotional series from Seminary Gal.

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Acknowledging that former years’ devotional series remain popular, Be Still and Know that I AM God can be obtained through the archives beginning in March 2014 and With Christ in the Upper Room  is archived beginning February 18, 2015.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on March 23, 2016

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