Religious Leaders Challenge Jesus Authority

Many people can simply force people to do what they want because they have the power to make them do it. However, few people like to be forced to do anything. Eventually such power driven leadership destroys relationships. On the other hand, some have the ability to lead through … More


The Jewish religious leaders wanted to know what authority Jesus had to cast money-changers out of the temple (vv. 1-2). This group of leaders wanted to get rid of Jesus so they tried to trap Him with their question. They wanted to catch Him in His words so that no matter how He answered, He would be in trouble. If Jesus would answer that His authority came from God (inferring that He was the Messiah and the Son of God) they would accuse Him of blasphemy and bring Him to trial. Instead of answering directly, Jesus asked them a question about whether John the Baptist’s ministry was of God or not (vv. 3-4). They knew that no matter what answer they gave, they were in trouble, so they decided not to answer at all (vv. 5-8).

This group of leaders wanted to get rid of Jesus, so thy tried to trap him with their question. If Jesus would answer that his authority came from God they would accuse Him of blasphemy and bring Him to trial. Jesus did not let Himself get caught. Instead, He turned the question on/ Then he exposed their motives and avoided the trap.

Since these Jewish religious leaders refused to acknowledge or disown Jesus (due to political expediency), they deserved no further revelation from Christ. In spite of their evasive and hypocritical reply, the leaders could not escape the past. They had rejected the ministry of John the Baptist and that led to their refusal to trust Jesus Christ. We may forget our commitments but they will not forget us. We may even try to bury them, but they will be resurrected to accuse us.


It is a serious thing to reject the message of God and the messengers of God. My greatest need is not to know new truth but to obey the truth I already know.

Luke 20:1-8 (English Standard Version)

One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up and said to him, "Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority." He answered them, "I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?" And they discussed it with one another, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say, 'Why did you not believe him?' But if we say, 'From man,' all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet." So they answered that they did not know where it came from. And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."

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