Jesus’ Debates with Religious Leaders — Debating the Pharisees, Sadducees, & a lawyer.
In His final week in Jerusalem, Jesus teaches very clearly (for those who can see the meaning) about the plan of God to overthrow empty religion and usher in a Kingdom of righteousness. Along with that, His stories tell those listening what will happen to Him. Of course those stories only made sense with the benefit of hindsight after the resurrection, but it is another sign of the power and authenticity of Jesus that He would be able to correctly foretell His own fate, when so much rested on those who opposed Him. Clearly fulfilling these prophecies could not be the work of a manipulative deceiver! And Jesus wins every argument, leaving his opponents lost for words.
The key is having ears to hear, and eyes to see. That is what the disciples had (at least after Jesus was raised from the dead) and what the Pharisees, Sadducees and other leaders did not. But Paul cautions us to recognize that al authority is given by God, and even when the motives are wrong and the outcome is ungodly, we are still to submit to God and to the authorities He has instituted and allowed. Have you ever thought about how God’s plan was fulfilled through all these power-hungry, self-righteous evildoers?!
For the believer there is no cost too great: if submission to authority causes us to suffer, God sees and will bring justice (as well as using the example as a witness to unbelievers). Even if we are killed we win – because we were created for eternal relationship with God, which comes in the Kingdom of Heaven, not just on this earth in this lifetime.
Have a great day!