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Emanna for 03/13/2018

Defeating the Subtleties of the Scribes and Priests

Bible Verses

Luke 20:1 And on one of the days, as He was teaching the people in the temple and announcing the good news, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came upon Him, (2) And spoke, saying to Him, Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who is the one who gave you this authority? (3) And He answered and said to them, I also will ask you one thing, and you tell Me: (4) The baptism of John, was it from heaven or from men? (5) And they reasoned together among themselves, saying, If we say, From heaven, He will say, Why did you not believe him? (6) But if we say, From men, all the people will stone us to death, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet. (7) And they answered that they did not know where it was from. (8) And Jesus said to them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Words of Ministry

In 20:1 we see that as the Lord was teaching in the temple and preaching the good news, the chief priests, scribes, and the elders came to Him. The priests were the serving ones in the temple, the scribes were those with a thorough knowledge in the Mosaic law, and the elders were administrators among the Jewish people. These three categories of people were the outstanding leaders in the Jewish community. They came prepared to carry out a thorough examination of the Lord as the Passover Lamb.

The chief priests, scribes, and elders said to the Lord, "Tell us by what authority you are doing these things. or who is the one who gave you this authority?" (20:2). They thought that they could catch the Lord by asking Him about the source of His authority. As the One who was being examined, the God- man was frank, genuine, wise, and dignified. But those who were questioning Him were base, subtle, insidious, and dishonest. They did not come either with a proper attitude or in a proper spirit.

In answering the question raised by the chief priests, scribes, and elders, the Man-Savior was wise. When asked who gave Him authority, He did not say, "My Father gave Me this authority." To answer the question in such a way would not be wrong, but it would be lacking in wisdom. In His wisdom the Lord said to them, "I also will ask you one thing, and you tell Me: the baptism of John, was it from heaven or from men?" (vv. 3-4). This question put them into a dilemma, and they debated among themselves about it... (vv. 5-6). Eventually, not having the wisdom to handle the situation, they could do nothing except lie by answering, "We do not know where it was from" (v. 7). Knowing that they were lying, the Lord said to them, "Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things" (v. 8). This indicates that the Lord knew the Jewish leaders would not tell Him what they knew. Hence, neither would He tell them what they asked. They lied in saying, "We do not know." But the Lord spoke the truth wisely to them, exposing their lie and avoiding their question.

Bible verses are taken from the Recovery Version of the Bible and Words of Ministry from Witness Lee, Life-study of Luke, p. 390-391. Both are published by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA.

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