Faithlife Sermons

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Matthew 21:23-32
Introduction
Authority is a strong word, denoting power and privilege.
A person with authority exercises control over the lives and welfare of other people.
Society cannot operate without having some people in positions of authority; the alternative would be anarchy and chaos.
The conflict in this encounter between Jesus and the religious leaders was over the issue of authority, specifically Jesus’ authority which they questioned and which they feared would threaten their own positions of authority
In Matthew 21 Jesus follows a familiar pattern in the gospels.
That is he follows a great work or action with teaching.
In this chapter He has performed three symbolic actions.
Ø      The Triumphal entry presenting Himself as the King and Messiah.
Ø      The cleansing of the Temple demonstrating His authority and restoring proper worship.
Ø      The cursing of the fig tree symbolizing God’s coming judgment of the nation of Israel.
In our text today the Lord, sets forth His authority first by His response to the Jewish leaders’ question and then by a stinging parable.
\\ 1A.
The Lord’s Authority (21:23-27)
1B.
The demand of the Jewish leaders (21:23)
His accusers were representatives of the Sanhedrin (Mark 11:27, Luke 20:1)
Ø      The group of chief priests and elders may have included the high priests Caiaphas and Annas, who served concurrently for several years (Luke 3:2).
Ø      The elders comprised a wide variety of religious leaders, which definitely included Pharisees (Matt.
21:45) and scribes (Luke 20:1), and possibly Sadducees, Herodians, and even some Zealots and Essenes.
They questioned the legitimacy of His authority.
Ø      This was specifically a reference to his right to cleanse the Temple.
Ø      And to His right to teach in the Temple.
They questioned the origin of His authority
Ø      They knew that they had not ordained Him.
They could not deny His authority
Ø      Jesus had both /dunamis /(power) and /exousia/ (authority).
D/unamis/ refers to ability, and /exousia/ to right.
Ø      Jesus not only had great power but the right to exercise that power, because both His power and His authority were from His heavenly Father.
*Matthew 28:18* And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Ø      Because Jesus had the Father’s power and authority, He sought no human authority, accreditation, ordination, or credentials
\\ 2B.
The dilemma of the Jewish leaders (21:24-26)
The proposal (21:24-25a)
Ø      Jesus answered the question of the chief priests and elders with a query of His own.
Ø      The answer to His question would supply the answer to their question.
Ø      The baptism of John referred to His entire ministry which was characterized by his baptizing those who repented of their sins (Matt.
3:6).
The problem (21:25b-26)
Ø      Jesus’ question put them on the horns of a great dilemma.
Ø      It was not simply that they had rejected John himself but that they had also rejected John’s clear testimony about Jesus.
*John 1:29* The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold!
The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
*John 1:34* "And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God."
Ø      To have accepted John as a prophet from heaven would have required accepting Jesus as the Messiah
3B.
The decision of the Jewish leaders (21:27)
Their decision reveals their love of darkness
*John 3:19*  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Their decision condemns them to continued darkness
*John 3:20* "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
2A.
The Leaders’ Accountability (21:28-32)
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