Day 29

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

from the Luke reading plan


Luke 20:1-47, Isaiah 26:19, 1 Peter 1:3-4

BY Claire Gibson

Patrick and I sat in a tasting room with ten strangers, drinking wine from delicate glasses. Before us, an expanse of windows revealed a golden hillside. Our host raised a bottle of cabernet and smiled. As he poured the red wine, he told us about the vineyard’s renowned owner, John Shafer, a man who, in 1972 had left a successful banking career in Chicago to purchase farmland in California. A pioneer in American winemaking, John Shafer’s wines helped put Napa Valley on the map.

Enraptured by the tale and tastes, I almost didn’t hear the door open behind me. Turning, I saw an elderly man walk in, using a cane. Wrinkled but smiling, he had blue eyes and a faint suggestion of hair on top of his head.

“Well, here he is,” the tasting host said, standing quickly from the table. “This is John.”

I could tell from the flabbergasted look on our host’s face, that this was no normal drop in. At ninety-two years old, the vineyard owner rarely made appearances. For decades, he’d put in the hard work of tending grapes. Now, he trusted his sons and staff to maintain his legacy. As I stared at John Shafer’s face, I felt like I was in the presence of royalty. In his presence, I cared a lot less about the wine and a lot more about the man who’d made it.

Throughout Scripture, a “vineyard” is used as a metaphor for the nation of Israel. In Luke 20, the crowd listening to Jesus’s parable would have recognized that symbol. With this story, Jesus proclaimed that if the Israelites rejected Jesus, the promises and inheritance of God would go to new owners. In other words, God was about to offer His grace, kindness, and salvation to the Gentiles. The chief priests, scribes, and elders reacted quickly, shouting, “That must never happen!” (v.16).

Imagine if John Shafer had turned to me, and right there in front of his employee, said, “Claire, I’d like you to take over the day-to-day operations of this place.” Consider if he’d smiled, raised a hand, and pointed to the land outside those shining windows. “The whole thing is under your management.” Do you think his employee would have raised a toast? Not likely. Instead, they would have thought the owner had gone mad.

For millennia, Jews held claim to the exclusive privileges of being God’s people. They couldn’t believe those blessings could extend to anyone else. Jesus’s presence, His kindness to Samaritans and women and disabled people, His claims to be the Son of God—threatened everything the Pharisees held to be true. They were in the presence of the vineyard owner, and yet they refused to release their death grip on the grapes. They couldn’t see the person because their eyes couldn’t look past their own power.

If I felt awed by the presence of John Shafer in a tasting room, how much more should I be in awe of Jesus, who hands me the keys to His kingdom? It’s a kindness so kind, it might be seen as irresponsible. He has given us an inheritance that is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading” (1 Peter 1:4). Some may reject Him, but to all who receive Him, Jesus gives the right to become children of God (John 1:12).

He steps forward, points to the vineyard, and says, “My beloved sister, enjoy.”

Post Comments (34)

34 thoughts on "The Authority of Jesus Challenged"

  1. Beth Hinson says:

    The complete and omnipotent authority of God is both a comforting and uncomforting thought for me. It is comforting in the sense that I know God is having a hand in every different aspect of my life and working it to bring glory to His kingdom. On the other hand, I have to accept that I am not really in control. I am a stubborn control freak who most of the time would rather do it myself then delegate to someone else. Following Jesus is the greatest release and delegation of our life though, saying I lay down my life and pick up my cross to follow you can be hard but I am so thankful God is in control. I do not know the intricacies of His plans and I know he is looking out for me as his daughter, I am so thankful for His sovereignty of my life and that I don’t have to be in control!!

  2. Lyna Ninkham says:

    Jesus’ response with parables to the pharisees, sadducees, scribes, etc. is something I’m learning from as I’m studying Luke. He doesn’t outright tell these people that they are wrong, but allows these parables to convict their hearts as lessons to be learned.

    Praying that I check my own heart and standing before God before I ever think of passing judgment on others.

  3. Cori G. says:

    When is SRT going to hire Churchmouse to write devotional essays, eh?

    1. Nolvia B says:

      Yes !!

  4. Kristen says:

    This goes with my earlier post when I am talking about Him being the Lamb if God. There is a children’s song from a summer Bible camp. It says, “Thank You, Lord for the Passover Lamb, the Promise of Salvation in a dry and dusty land. Your Blood was shed, so that I could be free. Now I am forgiven, Your Love poured for me. That song really stuck with me, when my child’s group sang it. It’s been years. I just felt like I should share. I tried to find it on YouTube, but couldn’t. I did find this great one though: https://youtu.be/1gKsPMR00_Y. I know this isn’t exactly about today’s reading, but both songs are giving thanks to Jesus!

  5. Kristen says:

    As Claire wrote, if we are in awe of people, how much more should we be in awe of our Savoir. He is the Precious Lamb if God that takes away the sins of the world! Thank You, Jesus! Your mercy, grace, kindness, compassion, and sacrifice are absolutely amazing and astounding! Praise Your Holy, Powerful Name!

  6. April Conner says:

    This blessed me so much! Today is my first day hopping on board with SRT. Wow, this is just where God wants me. Thank you Jesus for your truth and and that you are the ultimate authority!!

  7. Brandy McDonald says:

    Powerful reading and devotional

  8. Amy E says:

    “It’s a kindness so kind, it might be seen as irresponsible.” Well put.

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