When the chief priests and the elders of the people questioned Jesus’ authority to heal and preach, Jesus told them a parable (Matthew 21:23-32).
‘A man had two sons, and he sent them to work in his vineyard. The first son refused at first, but later went out to work. The second son agreed to work, but never actually went out.’
“Which of the two did what his father wanted?” Jesus asked. They replied, “The first.”
The first son recognized his father’s authority over him, though he resented it, and ultimately he submitted to that authority and did what his father asked. The second son seemed to recognize His father’s authority, and said “yes” to him, but he never actually did what his father asked.
I imagine that the first son in this parable was open to a relationship with his father, and that’s why he did what his father wanted. The second son must not have had a real relationship with his father, or he also would have done what his father wanted.
The chief priests and elders questioned Jesus’ authority because they didn’t know God or recognize His authority over their lives, which is surprising because they were the ones who were recognized as the authority on who God is! They were supposed to teach other people to recognize God’s authority!
The question Jesus fired back at them, and their answer, is revealing:
“John’s baptism – where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men?”
“We don’t know,” the teachers replied.
Tax collectors and prostitutes were repenting and turning to God, and they didn’t know? They failed to recognize God’s authority, even when it was right in front of them.
In Mark 1:22, we learn that when Jesus had taught in the synagogue in Capernaum the people there “were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.”
Jesus came into the world so that we can know God. Jesus was God in the flesh; in knowing Him we also know God (John 14:7). Today, we recognize God in His Word to us – The Bible. God’s Word is the ultimate authority that we, here at SHLC, submit to and commit our lives to.
May this always be so! My prayer is that as we move forward in this time of transition at SHLC, we will all be actively engaged in God’s Word in home and group Bible studies, and in weekly worship. I pray that, by the power of The Holy Spirit, we will grow in our knowledge of God and in our relationship with His son Jesus Christ.
He has sent us out into the world of people for the purpose of making Him known to them also. I pray that we will go!