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| | |-+  Credentials please: refused - (Mat 21:23-27)
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Author Topic: Credentials please: refused - (Mat 21:23-27)  (Read 951 times)
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« on: May 18, 2007, 08:00:20 AM »

from: the Gospel of Matthew
(originally written 1998)

Credentials please: refused - (Mat 21:23-27)

Jesus has spent the night at Bethany. It is now early Monday morning.
Jesus has just cursed the fig tree on His way, arrives at the temple to
start teaching, and the "priests and the elders of the people came to
Him...and said, By what authority do you do these things? And who gave
you this authority?" (vs23)

Yesterday You let them call You "Son of David". On other occasions You
have called Yourself, "I AM" (Jn8:58) while claiming to be someone
greater than Abraham. But... who are You...really? You're obviously a
man. We know You can't be of God, because You don't keep the Sabbath.
(Jn9:16) Just who do You think You are??

So, Jesus turns the tables a bit. John's baptism; was it from heaven or
from men? If you will answer this, then I will tell you. (vs24)

Remember what we said about Him cursing the fig tree in the last lesson?
While it was true that Jesus was on "display" as the Passover Lamb, God
is also scrutinizing Israel. Is there any fruit there? And as we
continue this chapter, we are going to see Jesus spelling it all out in
terms they can understand. (vs45) And so, as Jesus deftly turns the
tables, He is in effect letting them know Who's -really- "in charge" of
these discussions that are going to progress through the morning. As
though to say, 'the question at hand is not -My- credentials, but -your-
condition. I am not answerable to you, but you are truly on trial, and
under scrutiny.'

The question of the source of John's baptism, and Jesus' "authority" are
actually one and the same. The answer to the one, is also the answer to
the other. John had retorted, "O generation of vipers.." what are -you-
doing here?? "bring forth fruits worthy of repentance." (3:7-8) Now,
Jesus is querying about their fruit.

They are stuck between a rock and hard place with this one. They
-really- know the answer. But as ever, they are reasoning with their
legalistic minds. When they reason as to it being "from heaven" they
already feel the guilt of His condemnation, "Why then did you not
believe him?" (vs25) And if they proclaim the party-line, having
condemned John already...well, this is Feast time, and there are lots of
people. They know they are presently, politically, in the minority
because "the [whole] world has gone after Him." (Jn12:19)

The politically -expedient- answer: "we -cannot- tell". There! That's
nice and "safe" straddling the fence. Plead -ignorance-. Just like
modern-day politicians caught in scandals: "I don't remember. I don't
know. Not to my knowledge. etc."

Jesus, Who "knows the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb4:12b)
responds with -truth- to their question: "Neither do I tell you by what
authority I do these things." (vs27)

No, it's not a matter of you "not knowing". You are resisting the Truth
you already know. You are refusing to acknowledge the overwhelming
evidence and fulfillment of prophecy. Therefore, 'I also -refuse- to
tell you. I will not play your little games...'


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