Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20100414.htm
THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Luke: Jesus, The Son Of Man For All Mankind
Part LXX: Christ's Identity As God's Savior Seen In His Defense Of His Authority
Lesson: Jesus revealed that, in full accord with the rabbinical and cultural views of His day that His authority to minister was solidly based on the clear testimony of the Old Testament-certified prophet, John the Baptizer, a prophet who publicly identified Jesus to be both Messiah and God Incarnate!
- To us who live so many centuries after the life of Jesus of Nazareth, it may seem hard for us adequately to judge from just the reports of His ministry works and words if Christ was God's Messiah and Son.
- However, in the context of His era and culture, Jesus was very able to defend His authority even against His strongest critics, and we view the record of that defense in Luke 19:47-30:8 for application for us:
- Christ's Identity As God's Savior Seen In His Defense Of His Authority, Luke 19:47-20:8.
- By the time Christ had arrived in Jerusalem for His crucifixion, the religious leaders were all set to get rid of Him; Luke 19:47-48 expresses this fact, noting He taught daily in the temple, and though the leaders tried to destroy Him, they could not because all the people were attentive to His teaching!
- Thus, they tried publicly to undermine His claim to possess authority to teach based on Jewish tradition:
- On one day, the chief priests and scribes with the elders came to Jesus and asked, "Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?" (Luke 20:1-2 KJV)
- These questions in view of Jewish beliefs and traditions of that era were very weighty: Edersheim claimed "there was no principle more firmly established by universal consent than that authoritative teaching required previous authorization . . . All teaching must be . . . handed down from teacher to disciple." (A. Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 1972, ii, p. 381)
- Jesus discerned the intent and import of these questions, and He answered them effectively, Luke 20:3-4:
- He answered the leaders' questions by asking them a question, a typical rabbinical method of teaching that caused the student to learn by thinking of the answer, Luke 20:3.
- His question was this: "The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?" (Luke 20:4)
- This question by Jesus, in view of John's credentials and Jewish tradition, was a very potent one:
- John the Baptizer had presented himself as Messiah's forerunner (Luke 3:16) (1) based on Isaiah's prophecy (Luke 3:4-5) and (2) in fulfillment of Malachi 4:5-6 that he would be like Old Testament Elijah, Matt. 17:11-13. He even dressed and ate like him, Matt. 3:4; 2 Kings 1:7-8; 1 Kings 17:1-6.
- Indeed, John was considered by the nation Israel to be God's prophet, for when he spoke, all Judaea, including the Pharisees and Sadducees and the area around the Jordan, came to him, Matthew 3:5-7.
- Luke recorded the events of John's origin, revealing he was predicted by Gabriel, the angel of God who appeared to Zacharias to announce his birth in the temple's Holy Place, Luke 1:8-20; 2:57-65.
- Well, this John had testified that God had told him that upon whom he saw the Holy Spirit descend in the form of a dove and remain on Him, He was the One Who baptized by the Holy Spirit, John 1:32-33. John then testified that Jesus was the Lamb of God Who took away the sin of the world (John 1:29) as well as the Son of God (John 1:34), a claim to Jesus' incarnate deity (John 5:18).
- Thus, Jesus implied He did have a precedent who promoted His credibility in full accord with accepted Jewish custom and rabbinic tradition -- the Old Testament's reputable prophet, John!
- The leaders were cornered: (1) they realized that if they admitted John's baptism was from heaven, Jesus would ask them why they didn't believe John's remarkable confession about His Person as Messiah and God Incarnate, Luke 20:5. (2) However, they dared not claim John's baptism was from man, for the people around them would stone them since the people believed John was God's prophet, Luke 20:6.
- Thus, the leaders said they did not know the credibility of John's work, so Jesus said He would not tell them of His authority, for it was based on their acceptance of John's ministry in their tradition, Lk. 20:7, 8.
Application: (1) May we trust in Jesus as the Messiah and God for salvation, John 20:30-31. (2) May we HEED the words of Jesus and His apostles as the very Word of God, the God of the Old Testament.