authority, cross, death, discernment, hatred, Jesus Christ, persecution, Pharisee, satan, unbelief

The Interrogation, #100

“If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe; 68 and if I ask a question, you will not answer. 69 But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” 70 And they all said, “So You are the Son of God?” And He said to them, “You say correctly that I am.” 71 And then they said, “What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth!”

Luke 22:67-71, NASB

The Sanhedrin thought they had him. Jesus mounts no defense in this particular trial. He is serene, quiet and very much in control. The interrogators tried 5-6 different questions, each purposefully designed to reveal Jesus’ guilt. We should remember, he was regarded as guilty until proven innocent.

This was regarded as a capital crime–a death penalty could be given. But the Law declares that a trial could only be held in the daylight. It was to be public, open to all Jewish men. And in cases like Jesus’, the evidence was to be offered on one day, and a verdict the following. It couldn’t be a “rush” to judgement.

They got there licks in even before the official arraignment before the high priest. Jesus is blindfolded, mocked and beaten, even before the trial began (Luke 22:63-65). All of this took place as soon as he was brought in from the Garden, even before he was charged with a crime!

The deck was definitely stacked against him. The blindfold seems to be a test of sorts, it was believed that the real Messiah would have the supernatural ability to discern his attackers, even while blindfolded. That explains much if it’s true. The spitting was pretty evil though (Mark 14:65).

In this passage Jesus carefully turns the tables on his interrogators. His reply is perfect–they are forced to examine their own hearts. When you put the Son of God on trial, you can expect to see things like this.

“Jesus warned them that though they sat in judgment of Him now, He would one day sit in judgment of them – and with a far more binding judgment.”

David Guzik’s Biblical Commentary

Jesus reply of “I am” carries significant meaning, and we see the impact it has on his captors. In verse 71, they now have the answer they’re looking for, and we sense that they’ve got the evidence in that response. It’s the breakthrough they’ve been waiting for.

The patience and endurance of Jesus amazes me.

He stands alone in the middle of accusations and after being mocked and beaten. In the Garden he states that at his word he can have “twelve legions of angels” ready to protect him (Matthew 26:53). This is profound–I consider not only his restraint, but also his steadfastness, his ability to press on no matter what.

He doesn’t crack or break under the pressure. He goes the distance. He patiently endures it all, and he did this for you and me. Now dear ones, that’s a very good thing.

“For consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, so that you won’t grow weary and give up.”

Hebrews 12:3

anointing, authority, discernment, faith, John, Kingdom of God, lordship, truth, Word of God,

Teaching With Authority, #60

“My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.”

John 7:16 (context, vv. 14-24)

Spiritually, Jesus is superior to everything and everyone. All that he did in the Gospels revealed that salient fact–whether he was healing the sick, walking on water, or teaching the Sermon on the Mount, he had total command. An authority soaked all that he did, just like water saturates a sponge.

The Greek word most often translated “authority” (exousia) in the New Testament basically means: “right, permission, freedom.” Jesus was completely free to do whatever he knew was the Father’s will–he had full and total authorization to do whatever he wanted. (That’s what his baptism was all about.)

Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament

The Greek word to “teach” (didaskō) in the NT; it means “give instruction, impart doctrine, to explain.” Jesus’ teaching was a marvel, he explained God’s kingdom to us crisply, succinctly and precisely. All we need to understand was freely given to us in the red letters. Everything necessary to us was taught with confidence and freedom.

Since Jesus perfectly combined the two words, both teaching and authority, he was able to dictate to us everything we need, everything we must have, in straightforward terms. This can’t be stressed enough, the scripture we read–when ignited with the Holy Spirit, seems to be the only thing that can change the human heart.

The preceding verses in this passage reveal the setting for this statement.

  • Jesus stays out of Jerusalem because of the murderous hatred of Pharisees.
  • There was a deep concern by his family who doubted Jesus’ timing and direction.
  • The origin of his teaching was questioned. He was speaking with the authority of the Messiah. Jesus completely understood the true source of his teaching.
  • There was the general consensus of the people. Many were finally arriving at a decision in favor about him. Many would reject him.

We have never seen anyone of his impressive caliber, and we can only imagine the impact he was having on everyone he met. Under the Spirit’s direction, his disciples would retain all that Jesus did and taught. (The author of this passage was the Apostle John, and when you read his letters to us, we see that his memories were quite vivid).

His authority soaked all that he did, just like water saturates a sponge.

So what do we do now? What kind of “lordship” does he have over us? First of all, we learn (slowly) that we MUST teach ourselves to submit to our lord, constantly. He carries the authority we need, the authority human beings require. The Holy Spirit knows exactly how to pierce our pride and independence. Our teacher, comforter (and coach) understands us perfectly.

“His authority on earth allows us to dare to go to all the nations. His authority in heaven gives us our only hope of success. And His presence with us leaves us no other choice.”

-John Stott

authority, broken people, faith, healing, Jesus Christ, lordship

“Centurion” Faith, #25

Jesus said to him, “I come and heal him.”

Matthew 8:7 (context, vv. 5-13)

See the remarkable faith of a Roman centurion. Can we really fathom the deep depth of such belief? He comes to Jesus with a desire for the healing of a servant. He was doing something that a Gentile would never stoop to do. He sought the healing from a homeless itinerant teacher who happened to be a Jew.

This Roman soldier was an enemy. They occupied the land of Israel. If Jesus decided to withhold a healing (to make a point) this was the time! I’m guessing that His refusal would be a good lesson to the disciples, and the watching crowds.

Although the numbers under the command of the centurion varied, he commonly oversaw up to 6,000 men. In battle, they took position in the very front, they were expected to be the first over a wall or through a breach. The centurion was responsible for every aspect of his men. Every centurion of Rome was expected to display ultimate courage on the battlefield.

Typically it took 15-20 hard years to become a centurion. Service was very difficult, living conditions were rough at best. The centurion was not married, he had no family. To be a centurion’s servant you would be responsible for every aspect of his master’s needs. But most of all, the servants became the centurion’s only family. They stayed with him for the duration of his service.

I suppose this explains much. The servant was paralyzed. The text in Matthew says that he was suffering terribly. No doubt the centurion sought out doctors and treatments, but apparently this didn’t help. He was at wit’s end and really didn’t know what to do. I suppose being helpless will often turn people to Jesus.

Jesus seems to have developed a reputation. Those in need, the desperate, sought out His healing power. It seems like that He was now becoming famous for His ability to heal diseases. It’s interesting but scripture clearly shows that Jesus really didn’t want to be this famous. He repeatedly told people not to tell anyone about their healing.

We can see the centurion’s respect for rank and authority.

He explains his own authority over his own soldiers. When he commands he is obeyed without question. He recognizes command and leadership. This man fully understands, and he clearly acknowledges the ultimate authority of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,” 

“Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”

Matthew 8:10

Emulating this man’s faith is the true task of every believer. We must continually put ourselves under the authority of Jesus. His lordship is to be supreme. His rule over us should never be questioned. He commands everything, and we must obey without any reservation. This new depth of faith must now become our true calling.

A couple of observations. 1) There exists a “quality” kind of faith in comparison to a weaker faith. There seems to be degrees of faith. 2) Quality faith recognizes the true authority and supreme lordship of Jesus. 3) Quality faith can be seen in very strange places. 4) This quality faith is meant to be sought and imitated. It is meant to be recognized by every disciple.

“Just as a servant knows that he must first obey his master in all things, so the surrender to an implicit and unquestionable obedience must become the essential characteristic of our lives.”

-Andrew Murray