Wednesday, March 29 – Luke 20:1-26
Let us be honest, we have an issue with authority.
Can you remember when you did not have authority but tried to test your authority? (Take a second to answer.) What event did you recall?
Chances are if you lived in a house like mine, you did not leave the table until all the vegetables were consumed on your plate. Or did you learn quickly, like I did, that you never talk back to a teacher at school? Or finally, how about a time when a loved one stood in front of a judge who was not persuaded by any of the arguments shared?
I recall a few years back in ministry when someone was working through some hurdles. At the end of our time together I asked if I could pray for them to receive forgiveness from God for the things they had done and undone. The individual was enthusiastic about receiving forgiveness and hearing the Lord’s absolution of these events in their life. The individual received Christ’s forgiveness and freedom. Years later, that individual is transformed.
While a transformed life is something only God can do, it did not come without a price. Some days later, after this individual received forgiveness from God, I received phone calls and emails from family who questioned by whose authority could forgiveness be given. I said, “Jesus Christ, our Lord.”
At the end of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus states, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.” Jesus had total authority.
In today’s reading, Jesus is getting pressed by the leading priests, “By what authority [Jesus] are you doing all these things?” Jesus has the leading priests searching their heads and hearts with another question about John’s authority to baptize. It’s a fork-in-the-road moment for these leading priests. Will the priests choose to go the way of tradition or go with Jesus? Jesus continues to stand in front of the questions. That can only happen when you have total authority as Jesus did.
Sadly, Jesus illustrates in another in-your-face parable about the behaviors of the leading priests, as evil farmers, who are leasing farm ground. The farmers steal, contort, lie, and murder to try and take what is not theirs to keep. Jesus will become the cornerstone so others can have a firm foundation.
Dear God, keep our eyes fastened on your Son as he proclaims your mercy, grace, and forgiveness in word and deed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.