Here we are continuing with looking at how Jesus sought to reshape thinking to create a new wineskin. To do that we need to look at what He taught in the gospels. Below is one example.
23 Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” 24 But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: 25 The baptism of John – where was it from? From heaven or from men?” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.” And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” Matthew 21:23-27 (NKJV)
In the above passage on the surface it seems like Jesus was looking for a way to avoid answering their question by saying they had to answer His question first. In fact Jesus question was a challenge to get them to reflect on how they viewed Him and how they understood the source of spiritual authority. They demanded to know the source of His authority because they drew their authority from the tradition of Moses, which Jesus affirmed (Matt. 23:1-3) and Abraham, the father of faith (Jn. 8:37-39). Yet the answer to Jesus question was also the answer to their question.
If we look back at Jesus baptism by John we know from the scriptures that John the Baptist was the prophesied figure who came in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the way of the Lord (Matt. 11:7-15). Jesus makes a very interesting statement about John.
13 “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Matthew 11:13-15 (NKJV)
Jesus was talking about a transition to a new era and John was the prophetic voice declaring and bringing it about. When we look at Jesus baptism by John we have another interesting statement by Jesus in the verses below.
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. Matthew 3:13-15 (NKJV)
The fulfilling of all righteousness was Jesus submission to the prophetic authority on John to release a new era in the spirit. Jesus said John was the last of a long line of prophetic voices. In essence, had the religious leaders correctly responded to Jesus question about John’s baptism they could have gone through a shift in thinking and recognized that Jesus derived His authority from submitting to the authority that John carried, an authority given by the Father who called him. They could have seen that authority wasn’t merely derived from tradition. A new wineskin began to be formed when John emerged from the wilderness with a message.
For us, we can reflect on our understanding of the source of our spiritual authority, how well we are walking in what we have and if, like Jesus, we derive our authority from submitting to a higher authority.
NOTE – I edited and refocused my initial post in this series.