God of heaven, You are the center of all. My heart longs to know You more.
Read Luke 20:1–8
 One day as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him.  “Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?”  He replied, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me:  John’s baptism-was it from heaven, or of human origin?”  They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’  But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.”  So they answered, “We don’t know where it was from.”  Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat is motivating these leaders?
Today’s story reports an interruption in what Jesus was trying to do, namely teach and preach good news (1). Sadly, much of the Christian life is spent dealing with such interruptions: in this case a nasty in-house dispute about authority. One result of these leaders’ actions, no doubt part of their intention, is that the public teaching and preaching of the Good News gets curtailed. Somewhat typically, Jesus “answers” a question only by asking another one. He won’t declare the source of his authority unless the religious leaders give their view of John the Baptist’s authority to baptize. He is trying to force them into a public statement of where they stand (opposed to both John and himself). He may or may not want to have that actual argument, but as it happens, they decide (unsurprisingly) to duck the conflict. The time will come when Jesus does force a confrontation and press the issue (at the end of chapter 22). But for now, he seeks the quickest way to get back to teaching and preaching the Good News.
Identify someone who carries true spiritual authority. Reflect on what gives him or her this authority.
God of mercy and grace, let my life be a source of praise to You.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.