Challenging God’s Authority

In this final stop on our “Journey to Repentance” Alistair begins with a word of caution and concludes with words of encouragement, promise and assurance. I trust that the “souvenirs” you’ve gathered on your journey these past few days have blessed you as they have me. Sandra

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. (John 1:11)

Many actors think they’re fit to play the role of Hamlet. In many instances, though, they’re simply not. They just don’t have the ability and experience to do it—though, of course, that doesn’t necessarily stop them trying!

Similarly, all men and women are at some point tempted to challenge God’s authority over their lives, wrongly believing that they can play a role for which He alone is suited. We often fail to trust His divine hand in our circumstances. Instead, we question His sovereign will. We try to steal the part for which only the Creator God is fit. 

Resistance to God’s authority is nothing new. While Jesus came down to earth in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, throughout His ministry He was unwelcomed by His own people. Israel had been waiting for the Messiah—but once He arrived, they questioned His authority and rejected His identity. They knew these prophecies, yet they were blind to their fulfillment.

Days before He died at the hands of Jewish religious leaders as well as Gentile rulers, Jesus told His parable of the wicked tenants who rejected the vineyard owner and killed his son. The Lord was graciously and boldly pointing out the blindness of the chief priests, scribes, and elders, who were demanding that He justify His actions (Mark 12:1-12). They understood that Jesus was claiming to be God’s Son. Yet having just been warned by Jesus that they were acting like the tenants who had seized the owner’s son, these men then (with tragic irony) immediately wanted to arrest Him.

It is tempting to think, “How presumptuous of those religious leaders to confront the King of the universe and challenge His authority!” But each of us was once no different from them. In our own sinful nature, we didn’t want to receive the Son whom God sent. We were inclined to live in darkness. Actually, we quite liked the darkness! John captures it well when he says that light has come into the world, but people love darkness instead of light because their deeds are evil (John 3:19). People by nature are not sitting by and waiting for the light of the gospel to come into their hearts. Yet by His grace, God opens blind eyes to see the identity of His Son so that people trust and worship Him. 

That is why the Bible always speaks in the “now.” There is no day better than today to live for Christ. Even as believers, we are called to continual repentance and restoration in our walk with the Lord rather than choosing to play God in our own lives. As our hearts grow more sensitive to our sin and we experience His continued patience towards us, His kindness will lead us to holiness. And when you live with God at the center of your life, with Him playing the part that only He can, you find that you are able joyfully and confidently to fulfill the role He has given you—to live out the life He has gifted you and the purpose for which He invited you onto the “stage”: a life spent enjoying, knowing, and serving Him. 

GOING DEEPER

Mark 12:1-12

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.

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