When Being Right is More Important than Being Righteous

In Luke 20, the chief priests, elders and scribes, representing the spiritual leaders of the day, asked Jesus who or what, the source of His authority was. As His custom often was, Jesus answers a question with a question; asking the same leadership, what the source of John the Baptist’s baptism was. He asked them: “Was it from men, or from God?”

Their thought process is captured in verses 5-7: “And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then[a] did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it was from”.

Fearing the people, the leaders were not prepared to recognize that John’s authority was from God, so they pleaded ignorance. The great irony about leaders who make decisions motivated by being politically correct, is that they become lead by the people’s opinion, when in fact they should be the ones offering leadership to their flock. This in truth dilutes their authority, rendering them powerless. The spiritual leaders of the day further teach us, that one is unable to lead in a truly righteous fashion, without recognition and submission to God’s sovereign authority. Their inability and unwillingness to recognize the spiritual authority of both John and Jesus, meant that they were unable to submit to it. True leadership demands true authority, and it requires that we be righteous with God, rather than being right with men.

May grace abound to you today!