Saturday, October 9, 2021

The Authority Of God

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

While preparing for today’s teaching, I decided to do a simple word study on “washing,” as in preparing to be in the presence of pure holiness. There is no such thing as a simple word study of the scriptures. The study took me to nearly every book of the Bible. I had my work cut out to pare the references down to just a few needed to make a point from God’s Word.

From Aaron’s priestly sons being washed in the bronze laver (Ex. 40:12), to Naaman having to dip himself in the Jordan River seven times (2King 5:14), washing to be touched by the Lord’s healing seems to be an essential step. And then, the premise moves from acknowledging the outward dirt of the streets and the world, to the inward dirt of sin in our inner being, and then, on to confession.

In our study today, the Temple Leaders question Jesus about His authority to perform miracles, to touch and to change people’s lives forever. They wondered who gave Jesus this authority? But as when Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus in John 3 about being born again, Jesus had to confront him with a truth: (John 3:10...) Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” If it was me, I would have been astounded by the ignorance of this “Master of Israel.” As a teacher at the Jerusalem Temple, and an interpretor of God’s Word for the people, he was apparently totally unqualified to do so.

But in Nicodemus’ defense, his duties were taught to him by others just like himself. It reminds me of an old song by former pop singer Carly Simon in the 1970's. The Temple Leadership’s role had been reduced to being in all the right places, at all the right times; to be seen by the hoi polloi, hold them in awe, and to be reverenced by the masses.

This was hardly the role of the servant-King that Jesus presented to them. And He rightfully rebuffed them when they questioned His authority. Masters of the sacred scriptures? They should have known their scriptures better.
You walked in... to the party... like you were walking onto a yacht.
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye; your scarf, it was apricot.
You had one eye on the mirror, as you watched yourself gavotte...”
“You’re So Vain” - Carly Simon - 1972

Today's Audio Message:
Matthew 21:23-36 - "The Authority of God"

Finishing up Matthew 21, here we see the religious authorities—the chief priests and elders—question Jesus’ authority. Who is this Jesus who comes into Jerusalem receiving the praises of the masses and drives the moneychangers out of the temple? The stage is set for the showdown. It is in this context that Jesus tells three parables—the Two Sons, the Tenants, and the Wedding Feast. Each of these parables is told to the Jewish religious leaders, each illustrates their rejection of Jesus, and each pronounces judgment on Israel for their rejection of their Messiah. In the Parable of the Two Sons, the leaders of Israel are the second son who claimed obedience, but did not do the will of the father.

These religious leaders are much like many religious leaders today holding positions of authority in the church, loving power and the praise of man, but are disobedient to the will of God and denying the authority of His Word.

The issue of “authority” is a theme that runs throughout the Gospel of Matthew. It is nothing more that unbelief. You can listen to the saving message of Jesus Christ and can walk away and say, “I will not believe that. I will not believe that message, that word preached by John, that word preached by Jesus that word preached by that preacher today. I will not believe.”

Over and over again, Jesus revealed Himself as He does now, through His Word, through His power. You’ve heard His message; You’ve seen His transforming power in the lives of others. Where do you stand? With the religious leaders who willfully rejected Him in spite of all of they heard and witnessed? Open your heart to Christ; receive Him as Savior, Lord, Master, King, for this is your day. May it not be said that you entered into judgment because you didn’t know the day of your visitation.

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