Jesus Authority Questioned
Jesus had just overturned the tables and drove out those that were buying and selling in the Temple. The chief priests and the scribes were furious and sought Him out to question His authority to do such things. Jesus required them to answer one question before He answered theirs. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men? A simple question but they could not answer. If they said it was from heaven then they would be guilty of not believing in it. But they feared the people and so couldn’t say it was not from heaven, and so they chose not to answer. Two things are at work in the hearts of the priests and scribes, and both keep them from the Truth.
First, they feared the people. Why is it so important for them, and us, to have the approval of man? How many shy away from the things of God because they are afraid of what people might think of them. How many people keep silent when the name and Glory of Jesus is laughed at and cursed by the world? Jesus said that we could expect to be hated by the world if we loved Him. Expect to be rejected even as Jesus was rejected. It is a choice that we must make. Are we willing to stand for Christ in a world that rejects Him?
The second, they did not believe John was sent by God. I think they really wanted to answer Jesus’ question. They really wanted to tell Him that John was not sent by God and neither was He! Unbelief had dealt a death blow to their heart. And unbelief can do the same in our hearts. It can stop the work of God in our lives because it renders the heart dead to God. The priests and scribes were staring the Son of God in the face and yet they couldn’t see the Truth that was right in front of them. Unbelief had hardened their hearts.
The Parable of the Vine-growers
Jesus begins to speak to the people in parables giving them the account of the Vine Grower. In this account we have a man that plants a vineyard and rents it out to a vine grower to tend while he goes away on a journey. At harvest time the man sends his servant to receive some of the produce from the vineyard but the servant was beaten and sent away. The man continues to send servants to collect what was rightfully his but the vine grower beats some and kills others. Finally, the man sends his son thinking that they would respect him but they kill him as well. Jesus asks “What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will destroy the vine grower and give the vineyard to another.” Jesus leaves them with this scripture: “The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone.”
Our God is a good God! The scriptures say He lets the rain fall on the just and the unjust. His goodness falls upon all mankind, but most people never recognize His good gifts. Our lives are like the vineyard in this parable. One day God will come to see what has grown that He may take what is rightfully His. He is looking for our lives to produce good fruit. Unfortunately, the world is full of people that take the good gifts He gives and selfishly keep them. But God is good, and He sends His servants (you and I) to them in the hopes that they will listen. He has also sent His Son into the world, but most reject Him. Pray that God’s grace will open the eyes of those that are lost, that they may recognize His goodness. Pray also that we keep our hearts set on bearing good fruit to the glory of God.