What is the worlds response to the church to-day? What is political parties and governments trying to do to the church today? Are they tying to increase regulations and rules, what to preach, what not to preach and what to control by violating biblical standards? This is not new because before the cross Jesus was challenged similarly.
What was the worlds response to the young 30yr old man Jesus, as He began His ministry?
People’s response was, “Is this not Josephs son?” Mt 21:23 “When He entered the temple area, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?” Jesus said of Himself and His ministry:
Jn 5:30 “I can do nothing on My own. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of Him who sent Me”.
Jn 6:57 “Just as the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, the one who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.”
Jn 7:16-17 “So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not My own, but His who sent Me. If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know about the teaching, whether it is of God, or I am speaking from Myself.”
Jn 8:28 “So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am, and I do nothing on My own, but I say these things as the Father instructed Me.”
Jn 12:49 ”For I did not speak on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.”
Jn 14:10 ”Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own, but the Father, as He remains in Me, does His works.”
Jn 14:24 “The one who does not love Me does not follow My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”Jn 14:7-10 If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own, but the Father, as He remains in Me, does His works.” He did not go to the leaders for their endorsement to operate.
They were essentially saying:
You did not come through the method of recognised establishments.
You are not qualified.
Where are your ordination papers?
What school did you graduate from and where is your degree?
Who gave you authority to teach as you are doing?
His response was:
Jn 7:16 “I do not claim ownership of My words; they are a gift from the One who sent Me.”
Jesus teaching was not based on institutional resources.
He wasn’t trained in the oral tradition of the elders, like the Pharisees.
Neither was he a member of the priestly class, like the Sadducees.
He spoke in the capacity as a prophet, and His authority came from God.
In today’s language Jesus was a layman yet His authority was over and above the Torah.
Jesus did not argue like other teachers or later rabbis … they exegete scripture by quoting other rabbis. Jesus taught in parables, aphorisms, one-liners riddles – the teaching method of sages. He never used the prophetic formula – “thus sayest the Lord”.
Mostly He offered the ‘political manipulators’ a front-row seat in His next meeting and said – “Listen and watch”. They did, and both heard and saw signs, wonders and miracles which silenced the most aggressive and biblically ignorant of the day. ‘Authority’ was both dethroned and silenced.
Whatever the world wants to throw at the church – we can feel confident we will echo those ancient words of fellow apostles; Ac 4:20 “… for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard”.