Advent Day 20
Dec 9, 2019
In chapter 20, the attacks on Jesus continues, focusing on where His authority comes from (v.2). The answer should have been obvious since the miracles He was doing came right out of the Prophets and Rabbinic teachings of His time. Jesus turns it around on them and asks by what authority was the baptism of John, through human authority or divine authority. The Pharisees and Sadducees are now caught in a dilemma! John the Baptist’s martyrdom caused people to consider him a true prophet. So, if the leaders said “from human authority”, the masses would turn on them; if they said “from God”, Jesus could then say that John declared Jesus to be the Messiah, since at His baptism John said “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Either answer would discredit or humiliate them! In the parable of the householder and vinedressers, the Jewish leaders were the vinedressers responsible for stewarding the vineyard and giving God His due. God sent three sets of slaves/workers – many believe these were the Prophets God sent through the centuries. God finally sends His Son and they conspired against Him also. The Owner (God) would come and destroy these vinedressers and give the vineyard to others. Jesus then quotes Psalms 118 and applies it to Himself, and the Pharisees and Scribes understood that He spoke this parable against them. This was also predicted in Isaiah 8:14. Then Jesus’ accusers tried to trap Him concerning taxes. The Lord asked whose image was on the coin and to pay tribute to the Image. The principle Jesus addresses here already found in the Hebrew Bible. More than one authority exists, but they must always be in proper order. The first is Divine authority (see Genesis 9); the second, for Israel at this point in time, was Caesar, who ran the government. So, it wasn't either/or, but both/and. After clarifying the marriages in Heaven question (regarding Resurrection, the Pharisees believed in a future resurrection; the Sadducees did not), Jesus quotes from Psalm110. The significance of Jesus quoting this passage is that David was king of Israel, who didn't have a human Lord. Normally a father doesn't call his son Lord! David, in the Spirit, saw the Messiah sitting at the right hand of God, and because of the Davidic covenant, knew he was going to be Jesus’ son. Questions for Reflection: The attacks against Jesus are becoming more frequent and severe as we move towards the cross. In spite of His enemies conniving, Jesus shuts them down, to the point they no longer ask him any questions (see v. 26 & v. 40). Have you been in a spiritual conversation with someone who, like the Pharisees, isn't actually interested in truth, but only in airing their own opinions? How can we be like Jesus in answering those who are sincere in their questions, discerning where we should engage or not? Pray for God to give those whom you interact with a spiritual hunger for Jesus.