· Jesus was teaching in the temple courts and proclaiming the Good News
· The Chief Priests, teachers of the law, and Elders approached Jesus
· Authority appears to matter to the Jewish Leaders
· Jesus responds with a question to them about John’s baptism
· The Jewish leaders choose not to answer the question, nor do they press the point of their initial question
· Jesus teaches using a parable
· The people recognized the seriousness of the parable, but the Jewish leaders desired to arrest Jesus recognizing the parable was directed at them, but they were afraid of the people
· The elders sent spies to catch Jesus rather than directly challenge him
· The spies asked Jesus about a hot topic – taxes
· Jesus’ answer focused on things important to God
· Jesus’ response astonished the spies who chose to remain silent
· The Sadducees tried to trap Jesus in a question about the resurrection
· Jesus talks about this age and the age to come
· Jesus uses Hebrew Scripture regarding Moses to affirm a resurrection
· Jesus asks them a question involving the Messiah, that he is human – the Son of David – and Divine
· Jesus warns the crowd of the hypocrisy of the teachers of the law
It appears authority was important to the Jewish leaders, they had authority by virtue of the positions they held but it also appears that they recognized an authority in Jesus that demanded a source for the kinds of things he did and said. The source of authority is important. I realize that I need to be careful in my Google culture about counting on the experts, all of the sudden so many of them are so available that I feel gorged on information. If I get caught up in this, I tend to dilute my spiritual life of REAL authority and I unwittingly believe that information is a substitution for a moral compass and a relationship with God. I can’t let my pointer and clicker become a god.
The old saying – a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still – I think applies to the Jewish leaders who, even if Jesus answered all of their questions to their satisfaction would still have hung him on a cross. When we challenge God’s authority, He can reveal our lack of authority. Jesus does this three times in this passage in regards to the Jewish leaders as they look for a way to trap him, each time they are met without being able to debate Jesus, they are stunned by Jesus’ ability to cut to the heart of the matter and they are essentially left speechless. God often leaves me speechless, if this speechlessness when confronted by God – is mixed with repentance - it can lead to hearing God speak to me. But I cannot listen if I am bound and determined to have my way, assert my position, or flex my authority at any cost.
Finally, I notice a temporality to it all. In the temple, position, stature, prominence before the people – they all mattered to the Jewish leaders but not, it seems, in relation to God, the Messiah. People will wither and die. The farmers who rented the vineyard in Jesus’ parable cared more about the product of the vineyard than they did about the vineyard’s owner – the source of them making a living. And yes, taxes can be painful, but is there really anything about money that is of eternal value, why not give it to Ceasar, especially if it will help you keep the perspective that God is the one who supplies all things.
Certainly in the realm of relationships this is true, they are the only things that out live my money and position and that I take into eternity. Jesus uses the idea of marriage to show me that relationships will take on a new, eternal look in the life to come. An eternal relationship with the ultimate authority can direct my heart today.
Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear Godand keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind. Ecclesiastes 12;13
Thank you for your truth you have made available to me, a truth I do not have to continually search for or worry about being irrelevant tomorrow. I appreciate that you have given me life for the taking, Help remind me of the incredible gift and the great responsibility you have graciously given me. Forgive me when I am distracted by needing to know the latest, or needing to have the right retort, help me to be speechless at these times and dwell on Your infinite, eternal purpose. May your concerns be mine today..
In Jesus name I pray, Amen
Posted on Wed, January 28, 2015
by Jim Asselin