Sermon Transcript – By What Authority?

Series A – Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost – Sunday, September 27, 2020 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
Intro bumper
Time StampTranscript
0:28the holy gospel according to saint
0:30matthew the 21st
0:40when Jesus entered the temple the chief
0:42priests and the elders of the people
0:44came up to him
0:44as he was teaching and said by what
0:47authority are you doing these things and
0:49who gave you this authority
0:52Jesus answered them i will also ask you
0:54one question and if you tell me the
0:57then i will tell you by what authority i
0:59do these things
1:00the baptism of john from where did it
1:02come from heaven or from man
1:05and they discussed it among themselves
1:06saying well if we say from heaven he
1:08will say to us why then did you not
1:09believe him but if we say from man we’re
1:12afraid of the crowd
1:13for they all hold that john was a
1:15prophet so they answered Jesus
1:17we do not know and he said to them
1:20neither will i tell you by what
1:22i do these things this is the gospel of
1:25the lord
1:26in the name of Jesus
1:29all right in today’s gospel text we need
1:32to be reminded of the fact that we’re
1:34chapter 21 of the gospel of matthew
1:39and Jesus has just made his triumphal
1:42entry into jerusalem
1:43if Jesus’s life were a football season
1:47then this text is the playoffs and we
1:50are only days away from the super bowl
1:52the day that Christ definitively defeats
1:55the devil on the cross
1:57so the context of what happened earlier
1:59in matthew 21
2:01is going to be vital for a proper
2:04of today’s gospel so remember it’s holy
2:07week and here’s
2:08what it says right before our gospel
2:11text this is earlier in
2:12chapter 21. the disciples went and did
2:15as Jesus had directed them
2:17they brought the donkey and the colt and
2:19put on them their cloaks
2:21and he sat on them most of the crowd
2:24spread their cloaks on the road
2:25and others cut branches from the trees
2:28and spread them on the road
2:29and the crowds that went before him and
2:31that followed him were shouting
2:32hosanna to the son of david blessed is
2:35he who comes in the name of the lord
2:37hosanna in the highest and when he
2:39entered jerusalem the whole city was
2:41up saying who is this and the crowd said
2:44this is the prophet
2:45Jesus from nazareth of galilee and Jesus
2:49entered the temple
2:50drove out all who sold and bought in the
2:53and he overturned the tables and the
2:54money changers and the seats of those
2:57who sold
2:57pigeons and said to them it is written
3:00my house shall be called a house of
3:02but you have made it a den of robbers
3:05now that last bit Jesus making a cord of
3:08whips driving out the money changers we
3:10all remember that part of this text
3:12that really stands out even somebody who
3:15doesn’t attend
3:16church much might know about the fact
3:18that Jesus drove the money changers out
3:21of the temple
3:22but what happens next is
3:25vital and this is the part that
3:27everybody forgets or even doesn’t pay
3:30attention to
3:31so here’s what happens in fact let me
3:33ask you the question
3:34let me just put it out here why did
3:37Jesus clear out the money changers
3:41well in part because they made the
3:44temple into a house of commerce right
3:47turn it into a business
3:48but it’s more than that Jesus needed to
3:50make space
3:52did you know that listen to what happens
3:56then the blind and the lame came to
3:59in the temple and he healed them
4:02so Jesus clears out the money changers
4:05and sets up
4:06kind of an old school healing revival if
4:09you would except for this is a real one
4:11all right Jesus isn’t out there
4:13pretending to work miracles you know
4:15saying to somebody you know you’ve got
4:17one leg longer than another maybe if i
4:19do you know none of that kind of stuff
4:20none of these kind of miracles hey look
4:22isn’t that great nothing like that okay
4:26instead people who were genuinely blind
4:28who were genuinely lame
4:30they came to Jesus in the temple and he
4:32healed them
4:33but when the chief priests and the
4:35scribes listen to the sentence it’s a
4:37crazy sentence
4:38when the chief priests and the scribes
4:40saw the wonderful
4:42things that Jesus did
4:46usually wonderful is considered to be a
4:48positive thing
4:50right oh what did that person do oh what
4:52they did was wonderful it was wonderful
4:55the meal that my wife made the other day
4:57it was wonderful now there isn’t a meal
4:59that my wife makes that isn’t wonderful
5:02my body can attest to this fact but all
5:04of that being said usually the word
5:06wonderful is a positive thing but the
5:08text says the chief priests and the
5:11when they saw the wonderful things that
5:13Jesus did
5:14and the children crying out in the
5:18hosanna to the son of david you kind of
5:21get the picture of what’s going on here
5:23right so there’s Jesus a blind man comes
5:26to Jesus
5:26Jesus i’m blind and Jesus gives him his
5:29eyesight back and the guy says i can see
5:32i can see and the kids in the temple
5:34that’s right Jesus had a bunch of kids
5:36in the temple too
5:37he opened it up for the sick the lame
5:39and children and when the kids saw Jesus
5:41perform a miracle
5:42they said hosanna the son of david and
5:45it was almost like they were saying come
5:47on do it again Jesus do it again
5:48and so they bring a lame guy to Jesus
5:50Jesus makes him walk
5:52i can walk and he’s walking on his own
5:53steam the kids are going who’s that
5:55is the son of david it’s quite the thing
5:58going on here
5:59it’s wonderful but when the chief
6:02priests and the scribes saw this they
6:03were indignant
6:05and they said to him do you hear what
6:08these kids are
6:12is this a bad thing did i miss something
6:15but these things are wonderful but Jesus
6:18said to them yes
6:20have you never read out of the mouth of
6:24and nursing babies you have prepared
6:27praise now just that sentence alone
6:32should make you wonder there’s a whole
6:33bunch of people out there in the
6:35visible Christianity saying children
6:38cannot make a decision for Jesus they’re
6:40not at the age of accountability yet
6:42nobody makes a decision for Jesus
6:46infant or adult and yet the text says
6:50and Jesus said
6:50out of the mouths of infants and nursing
6:54you have prepared praise so
6:57let this whole thing sink in for a
6:59second we often remember we talk
7:02about the fact that Jesus drove out the
7:03money changers
7:05and many times we mistakenly think that
7:08was the big offense to the chief priest
7:11but it wasn’t
7:12that was only half of it after driving
7:14them out Jesus then
7:16invited like we’ve already noted the
7:17blind and the lame think of it this way
7:19he invited those whom the pharisees
7:22claimed were
7:23cursed by god and were being punished by
7:26god for their sins
7:28and rather than rub their noses in their
7:31sin and point to their condition as
7:35proof of their inadequacies before god
7:38Jesus healed them for free
7:42you see he drove out the money changers
7:44there was no money exchanging hands
7:45you’ll notice that Jesus the text says
7:47doesn’t say that Jesus then said
7:49reach into your money bag and pull out a
7:52thousand daenery
7:53seed offering and sow it into my
7:56ministry and god will risk me bless you
7:58a thousand-fold didn’t do anything like
8:00Jesus healed them totally for free
8:04and the result of this was that children
8:06who witnessed these things
8:07these miracles were crying out in
8:10and praise to Jesus and saying hosanna
8:15to the son of david but the chief
8:17priests rather than fall on their knees
8:20and joining with the children in thanks
8:22and praise to god for the miracles that
8:25they were privileged to witness
8:27that day they responded with indignation
8:32with unbelief now all of this by the way
8:35occurred on palm sunday
8:37now the next morning monday morning
8:40Christ returned to the temple again and
8:43this time he was confronted by the chief
8:46and this is where today’s gospel text
8:48picks up the story
8:50so when Jesus entered the temple this is
8:52day two
8:54the chief priest and the elders of the
8:56people came up to him
8:57as he was teaching and said and you can
8:59almost see the sour look on their face
9:02by what authority are you doing these
9:05things who gave you this authority
9:09what a stupid question what a completely
9:12bone-headed question
9:14who gave you this authority now real
9:15quick before we go too far
9:17let me ask you this question what is
9:21what is it well
9:24when a pastor pronounces an absolution
9:27you’ll note in our liturgy it says
9:29the pastor speaks these words in the
9:31stead and by the command of Christ
9:33and by his authority
9:36i forgive you all of your sins when he
9:39does that he’s
9:40exercising an authority that Christ has
9:42given to the church
9:44so a good way to think about of
9:45authority is to think of it as
9:47permission right authority is permission
9:50if i have authority
9:51to enter a restricted zone
9:54i have permission from somebody who has
9:58the authority to give that to me you
10:00know the power right
10:01now think of it this way i don’t know if
10:03you guys have noticed but
10:05china seems to be in the news a lot
10:08and uh things aren’t going so well with
10:10china things are kind of
10:12coming to a head you know and so what if
10:16you know citizen rose bro said that’s it
10:18i’m calling it
10:20we are now declaring war on china
10:23i said you guys don’t look at me
10:26why are you looking at me like that all
10:28right you see
10:30if i did that everyone would scoff at me
10:32just like you guys are because i do not
10:34have the authority to declare war on
10:37remember this through the united states
10:38constitution the citizens of the united
10:41have given permission to the u.s
10:43congress to declare war
10:45so no individual citizen has that
10:48or the permission to do so so note then
10:52that as you read through the gospels
10:54Jesus it is noted
10:56spoke as one who had authority he had
11:00real power real authority real
11:01permission to do some really important
11:04so think of it Jesus would talk like
11:06this you’ve heard it
11:07said but i say you know Jesus was much
11:11different than the scribes and the
11:13pharisees and the way he taught
11:15all right so keep that in mind so the
11:16chief priests after watching
11:18Jesus drive the money changers out of
11:21the temple and then
11:22open up the temple to the blind and the
11:24lame and then watching Jesus
11:26miraculously heal them all
11:28and then hearing little children
11:30praising god
11:32in response to Jesus’s miracles they
11:34decided to play
11:40and so the next day they asked Jesus who
11:42gave him the authority to do
11:44these things but it’s obvious
11:47who gave Jesus this authority
11:51even sherlock holmes could have figured
11:53it out quite easily
11:55and by the way it’s the first season of
11:56the bbc’s sherlock that’s the best
11:59the other seasons it goes downhill from
12:02now so it’s obvious you gave Jesus this
12:06this is the same Jesus who just a few
12:08days earlier had raised lazarus from the
12:13and this is the same Jesus who
12:14miraculously gave sight to the two blind
12:17men of jericho
12:18this is the same Jesus who cast out
12:20demons from countless demoniacs
12:22gave hearing to the deaf speech to the
12:24mute multiplied five loaves and two
12:27fishes in the wilderness
12:28and fed a multitude and if that wasn’t
12:31he duplicated that miracle again in
12:34another place across the sea of galilee
12:36in pagan territory
12:38and in all the history of israel think
12:41about this you go back into your old
12:42testament in all the history of israel
12:44there had never been anyone who even
12:47close to Jesus when it comes to
12:51signs and wonders moses
12:54was quite significant but in sheer
12:58he was nowhere even near Jesus so you’ll
13:02yet even the least of the miracle
13:03workers of the old testament the least
13:05of them
13:06it was obvious that they were all sent
13:09by god so the words of the man born
13:12blind from the gospel of john chapter 9
13:15whom Jesus healed by making mud
13:17and putting it on his eyes and sending
13:19him to the pool of siloam
13:20he made it painfully clear how obvious
13:23it is who gave
13:24Jesus the authority to do what he was
13:26doing in his
13:27rebuke of the pharisees who were
13:31listen to the sentence they were
13:32interrogating him for being healed
13:38let that sink in this is the nature of
13:42this fellow was mining his own business
13:45doing what he had always been doing
13:47since becoming an adult as a blind man
13:49begging for alms
13:50Jesus gives him his sight and he
13:53is put on trial like he had committed a
13:55capital crime
13:58so he was being interrogated for being
14:00healed the man born blind
14:02in reacting to the pharisees claim that
14:03they didn’t even know where Jesus came
14:05from he said these words
14:07why this is an amazing thing you don’t
14:10know where Jesus comes from
14:12yet he opened my eyes we know that god
14:15does not listen to sinners but if anyone
14:16is a worshiper of god and does his will
14:18god listens to him
14:20and never since the world began has it
14:22been heard that anyone
14:24opened the eyes of a man born blind if
14:27this man were not from god
14:29he could do nothing
14:36it’s pretty obvious right by the way
14:38what happened to the fellow after he
14:39said that
14:40he was excommunicated
14:45all right so the problem that the chief
14:48priests were suffering from
14:50it was not a lack of evidence
14:54it was unbelief and you cannot reason
14:58with unbelief don’t believe me try to do
15:01it on social media see how far you get
15:04facebook is so fun right
15:08you see it our the small
15:11catechism says it this way i believe
15:14that i cannot by my own reason or
15:17strength believe in Jesus Christ my lord
15:20nor can i come to him but the holy
15:22spirit has called me by the gospel
15:24and the holy spirit has enlightened me
15:26with his gifts and sanctified me
15:29and kept me in the true faith you can’t
15:32reason with unbelief
15:35so Jesus doesn’t even try to reason with
15:38instead he takes their their unbelief
15:41and he pushes it into the corner
15:42and then gives them no way out and gives
15:45them no excuse
15:47our text says Jesus answered them all
15:49right i’ll ask you one question and if
15:50you tell me the answer
15:52then i also will tell you by what
15:54authority i do these things
15:56the baptism of john you know john the
15:57baptist from where did it come
15:59from heaven or from man did god send
16:03john the baptist
16:04or was this guy just a lunatic who
16:06basically sent himself that’s the
16:09but the religious authorities they knew
16:11full well that giving an honest answer
16:13to this question
16:13either way it would indict them and show
16:16the world that they were in the wrong
16:18so we now hear their deliberations the
16:21text says they discuss this amongst
16:23themselves saying well if we say
16:24he’s from heaven he will say to us then
16:28why did you not believe him
16:31that’s quite the admission by the way
16:33they just admitted
16:34they didn’t believe john the baptist was
16:37from god
16:39but we know he was he was the
16:41fulfillment of the old testament
16:43prophecy of the one who would prepare
16:45the way of the lord
16:46and think of it this way john the
16:48baptist and these religious authorities
16:50they didn’t get on too well did they you
16:53see when they showed up to investigate
16:55what was going out in the judea
16:57going on in the judean wilderness to see
16:59what this john the baptist fellow was
17:01all about they show up wearing their
17:03uniforms and john the baptist
17:05spits a grasshopper leg at him and said
17:07who warned you
17:09to flee from the fires of hell bear
17:11fruit in keeping with repentance
17:13and don’t you dare say to me we
17:16are sons of abraham god can raise up
17:19sons for may of abraham from these rocks
17:22these rocks are smarter than you are
17:24right so repent
17:26they didn’t get on too well but here’s
17:28the thing
17:29was john wrong about them
17:33no these same fellows who didn’t believe
17:36that john the baptist was sent from god
17:39do they think Jesus is sent from god no
17:43you can’t reason with unbelief man these
17:46guys are full-blown
17:47unbelievers and they’re in charge of the
17:52think about
17:55so they admitted they didn’t believe
17:56that he was from god from god
17:59so the deliberations continue they say
18:01well if we say he’s from man
18:03we’re afraid of the crowd for they all
18:04hold the john was a prophet
18:08so if they said he was if they said he
18:11was from heaven they’d have to admit
18:12john was right writing calling them to
18:14of their false religion and confess that
18:18their works-based religion that they had
18:21that and were holding on to that it was
18:24this would have undermined the entire
18:28and the perceived authority of their
18:31besides we all know this baptism is for
18:35it’s for converts it’s for the initiates
18:37not the religious
18:38experts that they pretended to be
18:42yet it’s kind of fascinating if you
18:43think about that fact Jesus submitted to
18:45john the baptist’s baptism didn’t he
18:49and john protested and Jesus said let it
18:53be so now
18:54in order to fulfill all righteousness
18:57Jesus knew that john the baptist was
18:59from god
19:00but if they said that it was he wasn’t
19:02from god it wasn’t from heaven they knew
19:04that merely saying those words
19:06that they risked their lives and would
19:08have been viewed as blasphemers because
19:10the everyday
19:11israelite believed john the baptist to
19:13have been a prophet
19:15and the everyday israelite was right but
19:18that their deliberations again show that
19:20they did not believe john was from god
19:22so if this were a game of chess
19:26Jesus’s question checkmated the chief
19:29they just lost the game but here’s the
19:32thing unbelief doesn’t care
19:35unbelief doesn’t ever acknowledge that
19:38it’s possible
19:38for it to be checkmated unbelief is
19:42incredibly resistant to truth
19:45unbelief is resilient
19:49to the calls to repent so they answered
19:53Jesus we don’t know
19:55we don’t know so Jesus said to them well
19:57neither will i tell you about what
19:58authority i do these things
20:01then Jesus goes on to say these words
20:03truly i say to you
20:06let this one sink in for a second truly
20:08i say to you and he’s talking to the
20:10chief priests here
20:11that the tax collectors and the
20:14prostitutes are going into the kingdom
20:15of god before you are
20:19oh those words had to sting you see the
20:22tax collectors were the people who were
20:23working for the roman empire
20:25the the the nation that was occupying
20:30and putting them under their boot and
20:32well i don’t need to tell you that
20:34prostitutes aren’t exactly known for
20:36their moral standing
20:38right so Jesus said to them the tax
20:40collectors and the hookers they’re going
20:42into the kingdom before you are
20:44for john came to you in the way of
20:47and you did not believe him but the tax
20:50collectors and the hookers believed him
20:52and when you saw it you did not
20:56afterwards repent
20:57and believe in him
21:01he just affirmed that john the baptist
21:02was from god
21:04and then noted that sinners of all
21:08the the most notorious of sinners of all
21:12are pardoned and forgiven
21:15upon hearing the preaching of john the
21:17baptist they repented and believed and
21:18they were pardoned
21:20by god now before you think this gospel
21:24text is merely about
21:25them and that you’re nothing like that
21:30remember that your old adam my
21:33old adam is just as irrational
21:36and unbelieving as the chief priests
21:39we concoct the same kind of damnable
21:43schemes and questions
21:45in order to undermine and deny Jesus
21:49and the authority of the word of god we
21:53at the fact that the scripture says that
21:55our favored obsession or pursuit
21:57or pet sin is in fact sin
22:00so what do we do we attack the word of
22:04and we say stupid things like well the
22:06bible was made by fallible men therefore
22:08i don’t need to believe that the bible
22:09has the authority to call me to repent
22:12or they’ll say homosexuality can’t
22:15really be a sin that’s such a stupid
22:16thing because
22:17the bible forbids people from eating
22:19shellfish i saw you eating lobster last
22:23this is how they talk right or
22:28we play games and we say things like
22:31listen baptism i know the bible says it
22:34washes away sins but
22:35baptism can’t wash away sins and
22:38believing otherwise that’s silly
22:40it’s ridiculous in our modern age or we
22:42say that you know it’s superstitious to
22:45that the lord’s supper that there’s the
22:48body and blood of Christ
22:49that’s that’s silly even though Jesus
22:51said those words
22:53you see these are perfect examples of
22:57unbelief acting as if it knows better
23:00than Jesus
23:02knows better than the word of god over
23:06and again this unbelief is nothing short
23:08of idolatry
23:09and is usually preceded with these
23:12foolish words
23:13well the Jesus i believe in would never
23:16blank the Jesus i believe in would never
23:21send anybody
23:22to hell well when you start talking like
23:25that it’s clear that
23:27that Jesus is not the real Jesus and
23:29that Jesus
23:31not only has zero authority that Jesus
23:35zero existence and that Jesus cannot
23:38save you
23:40so it’s time for us to over and again
23:43repent of all of our trick questions
23:46that are designed to undermine
23:48and challenge Jesus’s authority and his
23:52and put away all those clever tactics
23:54and games of unbelief
23:56and return to the simple faith that is
23:59found and revealed in scripture
24:01and is laid out for us even so
24:03succinctly in the catechism
24:05this simple faith will not make you
24:07appear to be the smartest person in the
24:11far from it you’re going to know i do
24:12not have any honorary doctorates from
24:16places you know any religious
24:18institutions there’s kind of a reason
24:20for that you see this kind of simple
24:22faith doesn’t make you look smart
24:24to the world it makes you look foolish
24:27all right so i assure you though
24:32ins instead that
24:35this simple faith will assure you that
24:37all of your sins are bled for
24:39and that you’ve been united with Christ
24:42in the waters of baptism
24:44and that you have been forgiven and
24:46justified and given eternal life as a
24:48gift by grace
24:50through faith and more importantly
24:52you’ll know that Christ has the
24:54authority to lay down his life
24:56for your sins and he also had the
24:58authority to pick it up again and rise
25:00from the grave
25:02and that no one no human being or demon
25:07has the authority to snatch you out of
25:09Christ’s hands
25:11that’s the important bit you are bled
25:14for died for
25:14and forgiven even forgiven of all your
25:16silly little
25:18games of unbelief
25:21so ezekiel asked the question why would
25:24you die
25:25o house of israel says yahweh through
25:28for pleasure in the death of anyone
25:31declares yahweh elohim
25:33so turn and live
25:37trust the lord of your baptism and you
25:39will live
25:40he is authorized by the father to save
25:44and he has done it so stop trusting in
25:48in your clever intellectual games trust
25:52in the name of Jesus amen
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