23 When He entered the temple complex, 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? Who gave You this authority?” 24 Jesus answered them, “I will also ask you one question, and if you answer it for Me, then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 Where did John’s baptism come from? From heaven or from men?” They began to argue among themselves, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From men,’ we’re afraid of the crowd, because everyone thought John was a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things. 28 “But what do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘My son, go, work in the vineyard today.’ 29 “He answered, ‘I don’t want to!’ Yet later he changed his mind and went. 30 Then the man went to the other and said the same thing. “‘I will, sir,’ he answered. But he didn’t go. 31 “Which of the two did his father’s will?” “The first,” they said. Jesus said to them, “I assure you : Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you! 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn’t believe him. Tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him, but you, when you saw it, didn’t even change your minds then and believe him. 33 “Listen to another parable: There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. He leased it to tenant farmers and went away. 34 When the grape harvest drew near, he sent his slaves to the farmers to collect his fruit. 35 But the farmers took his slaves, beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Again, he sent other slaves, more than the first group, and they did the same to them. 37 Finally, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. 38 “But when the tenant farmers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance!’ 39 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers?” 41 “He will completely destroy those terrible men,” they told Him, “and lease his vineyard to other farmers who will give him his produce at the harvest.” 42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This came from the Lord and is wonderful in our eyes? 43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing its fruit. 44 Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whoever it falls, it will grind him to powder!]” 45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they knew He was speaking about them. 46 Although they were looking for a way to arrest Him, they feared the crowds, because they regarded Him as a prophet.
1 Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables: 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent out his slaves to summon those invited to the banquet, but they didn’t want to come. 4 Again, he sent out other slaves, and said, ‘Tell those who are invited: Look, I’ve prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ 5 “But they paid no attention and went away, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6 And the others seized his slaves, treated them outrageously and killed them. 7 The king was enraged, so he sent out his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned down their city. 8 “Then he told his slaves, ‘The banquet is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore go to where the roads exit the city and invite everyone you find to the banquet.’ 10 So those slaves went out on the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding banquet was filled with guests. 11 But when the king came in to view the guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. 13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
27 They came again to Jerusalem. As He was walking in the temple complex, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came 28 and asked Him, “By what authority are You doing these things? Who gave You this authority to do these things?” 29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30 Was John’s baptism from heaven or from men? Answer Me.” 31 They began to argue among themselves: “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘From men’”—they were afraid of the crowd, because everyone thought that John was a genuine prophet. 33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
1 Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went away. 2 At harvest time he sent a slave to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from the farmers. 3 But they took him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent another slave to them, and they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 Then he sent another, and they killed that one. He also sent many others; they beat some and they killed some. 6 “He still had one to send, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 “But those tenant farmers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’ 8 So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 “Therefore, what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the farmers and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this Scripture: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 11 This came from the Lord and is wonderful in our eyes ?” 12 Because they knew He had said this parable against them, they were looking for a way to arrest Him, but they were afraid of the crowd. So they left Him and went away.
1 One day as He was teaching the people in the temple complex and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the scribes, with the elders, came up 2 and said to Him: “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Who is it who gave You this authority?” 3 He answered them, “I will also ask you a question. Tell Me, 4 was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?” 5 They discussed it among themselves: “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, because they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 7 So they answered that they did not know its origin. 8 And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” 9 Then He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and went away for a long time. 10 At harvest time he sent a slave to the farmers so that they might give him some fruit from the vineyard. But the farmers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 He sent yet another slave, but they beat that one too, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And he sent yet a third, but they wounded this one too and threw him out. 13 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What should I do? I will send my beloved son. Perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 “But when the tenant farmers saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, ‘This is the heir. Let’s kill him, so the inheritance will be ours!’ 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. “Therefore, what will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those farmers and give the vineyard to others.” But when they heard this they said, “No—never!” 17 But He looked at them and said, “Then what is the meaning of this Scripture: The stone that the builders rejected—this has become the cornerstone? 18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and if it falls on anyone, it will grind him to powder!” 19 Then the scribes and the chief priests looked for a way to get their hands on Him that very hour, because they knew He had told this parable against them, but they feared the people.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
“By what authority are you doing these things” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”
Maybe you’ve been asked that question or you’ve used it yourself to question someone who was being a little bossy or demanding. The question is an attempt to determine the authority by which this person is acting.
Who or what has given them the permission to do what they’re doing? It’s a fair question—as long as you’re willing to hear the answer that’s given in response.
In today’s passage, we find a key group of religious leaders who challenged Jesus’ authority without heart that were willing to listen. The chief priests, teachers, and elders were all in attendance as they tested Jesus with this question. Earlier in the week, Jesus had cleared out the merchants and moneychangers from the Court of the Gentiles.
The religious leaders wanted to know by whose authority He’d done that. Maybe Jesus would say His authority came from God. Then they could say He was blaspheming the God of Israel.
On the other hand, maybe Jesus would say He was acting on His own authority. This would cause Jesus to lose the support of the crowds that continued to gather around Him. After all, no man’s testimony was any good if it stood on its own.
Because He didn’t carry their permission or authority, the Sanhedrin could stop Jesus from teaching in the Temple courts—but not if Jesus’ authority came straight from God. So Jesus didn’t give them an immediate answer. Instead, He asked a question about the authority of John the Baptist: where was it that John got permission to do his work?
Jesus had asked a question that the religious leaders couldn’t answer. They couldn’t possibly say John was a genuine prophet. If they did, Jesus could ask them why they hadn’t chosen to believe in the work John did.
They were also afraid to say John acted on his own authority. This would cause the crowd to revolt. After all, the people believed John was a prophet. So the religious leaders were left with no way to answer.
Because they refused to answer Jesus’ question, He wouldn’t answer theirs. Why? It seemed to be a simple enough question. Jesus knew something about these guys.
They didn’t really want to know His authority. Jesus made it clear from early in His ministry that He came on behalf of His Father to bring Him glory. Any member of the crowd that day could’ve told you Who gave Christ His authority. The religious leaders wanted to discredit Jesus, not really hear what He had to say about His Father.
Our contemporary culture is filled with men and women who act much like these questioners of Jesus. They ask a multitude of questions about Jesus’ identity and His power—questions that have already been answered by the truth of Scripture and the testimonies of millions of Christ-followers.
But they don’t really want to know more about Christ. They simply want to try and discredit who He is. If they can discredit Jesus, then it becomes easier for them to continue to live life on their own terms. He has no authority in their lives.
- What about you? Do you really trust the authority of Jesus?
- Do you trust the testimony that Jesus gave throughout the Gospels about where He received His power?
- If Jesus is who He confesses to be, then how must you and I change who we are?
- Why do you think the religious leaders fought so hard NOT to hear what Jesus was saying?