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Mid-Week with Christ
September 23, 2020

The Reward of Risking Knowledge

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Matthew 21:23-27 

23 And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Prayer for the Day

Heavenly Father, some truths are difficult to accept, and some knowledge is hard to bear. Empower us by Your Spirit to see in Jesus the way, the truth and the life, even if it means risking things we hold dear, through Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord. Amen.

There was no question that Jesus' teaching was unlike that of any other Jewish teacher at the time. His interpretation of himself as the fulfillment of the Sabbath, as the true temple, and his forgiving sins all proclaimed that, in his mind, he was more than another prophet. He proclaimed himself the final authority of all religious matters and the voice of the Lord himself.

This kind of preaching bothered the Jewish leadership. Since they didn't give Jesus this authority, he must have taken it upon himself. That would make him a blasphemer, the gravest of sins. So they came to catch Jesus in a trap, and have him freely admit that his authority came directly from the Lord of Israel. 

Yet Jesus sagely sidestepped their question with own of his own, denying them a victory. The leaders couldn't accept that perhaps the Lord had actually come into the world in Jesus. Accepting that would have forced them to accept real change, and change is always hard. 

Jesus calls on all of us to see in him our Saviour. But that requires us to know ourselves as sinners in need of salvation. So many choose not to risk repentance. In so doing, they miss out on the great peace that comes from knowing God has delivered us in Christ. 

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