“ ‘Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,’ they said. ‘Who gave you this authority?’ He replied, ‘I will also ask you a question. Tell me, John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or from men?’ They discussed it among themselves and said, ‘If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.’ So they answered, ‘We don’t know where it was from.’ Jesus said, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.’ ” (Luke 20:2–8, NIV84)
How important is it for us to be able to discern between the messages of the two kingdoms? Just study these verses for the answer. The religious leaders wanted Jesus to tell them by what authority He taught and performed His miracles. Before Jesus would answer their question, He asked them a discerning question. He asked them to discern whether John the Baptist’s ministry was from the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of the world. This should have been an easy question for them to answer because they were the spiritual leaders of the people. So what was their answer? They refused to answer. They refused to provide a discerning answer because they would find themselves condemned either way. If they said heaven, they would condemn themselves for not following him. If they said from men, the people would condemn them for their lack of spiritual truth. Based on their refusal to commit, He refused to answer their question. Why? Because their answer would not have moved them to faith, just like John’s ministry.
This morning, what is our answer to the question, “What kingdom brought us John’s and Jesus’ ministries? Have we properly discerned and committed our lives to our answer? The religious leaders knew what the possible answers were. They just refused to believe and commit. Today, let’s be completely committed to Jesus and the message and ministry of the kingdom of heaven.