1 Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him
2 and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?”
3 But He answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, and answer Me:
4 The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men?”
5 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’
6 But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.”
7 So they answered that they did not know where it was from.
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 certain man planted a vineyard, leased it to vinedressers, and went into a far country for a long time.
10 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the vinedressers beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
11 Again he sent another servant; and they beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed.
12 And again he sent a third; and they wounded him also and cast him out.
13 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.’
14 But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’
15 So they cast 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 vinedressers and give the vineyard to others.” And when they heard it they said, “Certainly not!”
17 Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED HAS BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE’ ?
18 Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”
19 And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people—for they knew He had spoken this parable against them.
20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.
21 Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth:
22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
23 But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Why do you test Me?
24 Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?” They answered and said, “Caesar’s.”
25 And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
26 But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.
27 Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Him and asked Him,
28 saying: “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.
29 Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children.
30 And the second took her as wife, and he died childless.
31 Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven also; and they left no children, and died.
32 Last of all the woman died also.
33 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife.”
34 Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage.
35 But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;
36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
37 But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB.’
38 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.”
39 Then some of the scribes answered and said, “Teacher, You have spoken well.”
40 But after that they dared not question Him anymore.
41 And He said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is the Son of David?
42 Now David himself said in the Book of Psalms: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, ” SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
43 TILL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES YOUR FOOTSTOOL.”‘
44 Therefore David calls Him ‘LORD’; how is He then his Son?”
45 Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples,
46 “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts,
47 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
There is a large percentage of the Gospels given to Jesus’ opposition, and much of which from those considered religious and spiritually enlightened. Few of His philosophical challenges came from secular sources. It was like the world had much fewer problems with Him than the realm of the spiritually learned. It’s interesting that He treated demonic opposition much differently than theological. When dealing with tormenting possession in those who desired deliverance, He simply rebuked the evil spirits and commanded them to go. But, when the attacks were coming directly against Him in the form of bantering and debate, He did not back away from overcoming them with truth. He did declare their actual status of hypocrisy and guilt, but there was no casting out the demonic source of their attacks. He took captive each one of their mental maneuvers, from the wilderness temptations to the last inquiries before the crucifixion, with wisdom they could not refute. He never lost a spiritual battle in both the thought and possession conflicts.
Where true wisdom comes from God, there will be an effective opposition both in authority and wisdom. This wisdom, though, will not have its source in a human perspective but one that draws from the Word and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Where there is affliction and torment from possession, there is authority to remove, but where the activity is in the realm of the mind, there is a need for the power of Holy Ghost-inspired truth from the Word to overcome deception. Everything can’t just be cast out and taken authority over. And the declarations of truth that have the potential for deliverance also have the potential for enraging fires of dissent. The fragrance of knowing Him that we carry is sweet to those who receive and respond in obedience, while it is a stumbling block of offense to those who reject it.
In the course of our following, there will be spiritual opposition in varying forms, some of which may cause physical discomfort and even danger. There will be a place for taking authority and simply removing it, but there will also, as in the cases of Jesus, Paul, and the disciples, be a time for declaring powerful and uncompromising truth, no matter the personal risks. There is a command that sets free, but there is also a spoken truth that has the potential for more than a momentary easing of oppression. This deliverance may not be as dramatic and may come with the personal sacrifice of its minister, but its effect is eternal with a much wider kingdom impact.
Possibly this is a purpose for the time given to Jesus’ many conflicts…