• Last week we talked about the authority of Jesus
• The religious and social leaders of the day confronted Jesus to find out who gave Him permission to speak
o Was it from man or God
• Jesus responded with a story shaming them and highlighting Himself as the Son of God
• Today we continue with this debate in a slightly different manner
Being Challenged by Jesus
• This time instead of confronting Jesus straight on, the Chief Priests and Sadducees (social leaders) tried to trap Jesus through cleverly crafted questions
• Jesus not only escapes these traps, he challenges them right back!
o This is something Jesus has done to me multiple times
o I go to Jesus with a certain viewpoint on a scripture thinking I know what it means only to be challenged by Jesus in seeing another part of God
• Have you ever had this happen to you?
• God is SO HUGE and MYSTERIOUS that each of us can live a lifetime and still not know Him fully
o St. Paul at the end of his life – after he had planted multiple churches, successful debated multiple enemies, changed the face of history and written some of the most read letters in all of human history – says that he is among foremost sinners (chief sinner in some versions).
o St. Paul was, of course, one who experienced one of the biggest challenges of Jesus ever recorded.
* He was passionately against Jesus – thinking that he was right on every verse in the OT
* Jesus challenged him on the road to Damascus and changed his entire life
• The Gospel of John records Jesus telling his followers that he was going to send the Holy Spirit to guide and teach them as he was unable to teach them everything at that time
o In other words, there was to be this ongoing process of learning and being challenged by the Holy Spirit
12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. (John 16:12-15)
• The author of Hebrew seconds this view when He tells us that the word of God is living and active – piercing and judging our thoughts and the intentions of the heart
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:12-13)
• Note however that being challenged by Jesus is not a nice thing
o It is painful
o It requires us to be humble
o It requires us to lay aside our pride and accept the teachings of Him who made the world
• I personally have had Jesus challenge my view of Him in ways that have led to me embrace things that I once rejected
o That is a scary journey to embark on
o The boundary markers of the past are removed and you have to trust Jesus for everything
• With this, let us turn to the first challenge of Luke chapter 20
Challenge #1: Luke 20:20-26
• The chief priests come up to Jesus and in using false praise try to trap him
• The questions was this:
o Should they pay the Roman tribute tax or not?
• This was a hot political question at the time as paying the tax meant that the Jewish nation was under the rule of Rome
o Some Jewish priest and folks said that one had to pay it because of this or that reason
o Others said that they shouldn’t
• It was a questions about the nature of the rule and reign of God
o How would the Messiah change the world?
o How would God deliver His people?
• The priest wanted Jesus to fall into one of two camps
o Thereby making enemies of the other group
o And if he said, no, then they could get the Romans after him
• Jesus response with a third way
o Asking for a certain coin, He asks who image was on the coin
o Seeing that it had Caesar’s image on the coin, we should give it to Caesar
o Humans, who are made in the image of God, should be given to God
• This was an answer that shocked the chief priest
o Stunned or amazed was the response St. Luke records!
Challenge #2: Luke 20:27-40
• The second challenge also dealt with the coming rule and reign of God
o Only instead of dealing with the here and now, this question dealt with the afterlife
o It is a “What would happen if?”
• The question was asked by a bunch of Sadducees
o They controlled the official political structure at the time (majority members of the Sanhedrin)
o They also didn’t believe in the resurrection
• Their goal was similar to the chief priest – that was to divide Jesus’ followers and shows that He was a fake
• They tried to do this by asking a hypothetical question designed to disprove the resurrection and, by connection, the coming of the new age (i.e. the Kingdom of God) that Jesus proclaimed
o Suppose that a lady had seven husbands, whose wife would she be in the next age?
• Jesus again provides a third way
o The age to come is nothing like this age
o This question has no meaning
• This response make one of the Sadducees answer “Teacher you have spoken well!!”
• Jesus turns the tables at this time and asks them a question
o Again this question is about the Kingdom of God – a common theme throughout the Bible
• The question is this:
o How can the coming Messiah be David’s Son?
• Without waiting for their answer, Jesus continuous by answering his own question
o He quotes Psalm 110:1
• The point of the question was showing that the Messiah (i.e. Jesus) was greater than King David
o Note that King David was the greatest King in all of Jewish history
o To be greater than King David was unthinkable!!
Warning: Luke 20:44-47
• The chapter ends with a warning against pride
• This goes back to what we first talked about
o When we are challenged by the Scriptures and Jesus we need to be humble
o We need to realize that we may not have the answers and that Jesus is trying to shows us a third way
• To come to Jesus is to come on His terms, not ours
• We don’t get to call the shots and decided what is right and wrong
o That is God’s job