John the Baptist

By What Authority?

While Jesus was giving the people a public lesson in the temple, the religious leaders of the day came to Him and asked where He got His authority to teach what He taught. He responded by asking, “…I also will ask you one thing, and answer Me: The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men?” (Luke 20:3,4).

Even a visitor to Judea would know to whom John gave credit concerning the message he preached and the baptism he administered. Jesus’ interviewers knew the answer too; but because of this group’s stubborn pride and traditions they did not want to answer their own question by answering Jesus’ (just read vs. 5-7).

The baptism that Jesus and the rest of the people had submitted to received its authority from the same place that had given Jesus the authority to teach what He taught the people – Heaven.

There is nothing wrong in asking someone where they have “received their authority” to teach whatever is being taught spiritually. As a matter of fact there is everything right with it (1st John 4:1) as long as the person asking the questions is asking with the right attitude and intention (Luke 20:20).

Some people get offended by being asked that question while others can get offended by the answer they receive; but the possible offence must not take priority over the importance of having the proper authority in religious matters. Christians are exhorted to do what we do with the right authority to do it:

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)

When it comes to salvation, to worship, to church relationships, to morality and to whatever facet of the faith that falls in-between, we should be willing to ask “by what authority” is this being done or taught, while at the same time being willing to accept the answer when the proper authority is given. If our answer is determined by the “authority” of a manmade council, a manmade creed, a manmade tradition, a manmade synod, a manmade catechism or a manmade head of the church, then our authority is coming from the wrong place (1st Peter 4:11). EA

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18)

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Jesus Is The Real Deal

Long ago God’s prophet Amos warned his listeners, “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the Lord.” (Amos 8:11).

God kept His word. In an age that saw about 450 years of silence from the prophets of God before John came out of the wilderness preaching repentance and the kingdom of God, Israel managed to get their spiritual appetite back (Matthew 3:1-6). They were lacking true spiritual leadership. The religious sects of the day had abused the people with a fake outward show of righteousness and an inward moral decay (Matthew 23 & Mark 12:18, 38-40). The people were looking for someone who was truthful, understanding and passionate. They were looking for someone who was real. The prophet who broke Israel’s “spiritual fast” with his words from God declared Jesus to be “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29-35). The real deal had come.

Jesus was the real Man. He taught the people of Israel how to truly show their love for God and their neighbor (Luke 10:27, Matthew 6:33 & Philippians 2:5-8). It’s easy to be a “man” when you have a crowd behind you, but Jesus stood up against wrong even when the crowd and public opinion was against Him (Matthew 21:12,13 & John 8). He showed what a real man was by treating women with respect, love and mercy (John 4:6-15; 8:3-11); and without a doubt, this man loved His mother (John 19:25-27). He showed the world what the definition of a man was.

Jesus was the real Friend. Jesus made friends before His public ministry began (Mark 3:21). He had a bad reputation with the religious leadership of the day for being a friend to “tax collectors and sinners” but He had a good reputation with the common people (Luke 7:34 & Mark 12:37). (more…)

The Four Witnesses of John 5 (Part 1)

John 5 begins with Jesus and a man in desperate need of help. The man finds help with Jesus but Jesus finds trouble with the Jews. The Jews confront Jesus and tell Him that He “violated” God’s Law by being an accessory to the “crime” of bed carrying on the Sabbath. Jesus responds by telling them that He had the authority to do what He did and that they were out-of-order in their judgment of Him because they were intentionally ignoring the honor that He was due. He urges them to consider the fact that He could not do what He did without approval from God, His Father. He tells them that their eternal life hinges on the very work that they were rejecting and that His work as God’s Son had the support of other witnesses. So who were these witnesses? To give them an opportunity to find salvation (John 5:34) Jesus didn’t leave them wondering.

Witness #1 On The Stand – The Man Of God Called John.

Jesus told the Jews that He did not need the witness of men, but nonetheless one man that they were very familiar with had told them what they needed to hear even though they rejected his message. The beginning of the apostle John’s gospel described the rejected witness by saying:

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light…John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” (John 1:6-8, 15) (more…)