One day as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. “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 of human origin?” 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, ‘Of human origin,’ 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 20:1-8)
Last night I read the blog of my friend, Chris Manion, who spoke of arrow prayers. https://www.chrismanion.com/defending-christian-faith-lessons-learned/ I loved the image of a strong woman pulling the string of a bow with a flaming arrow, representing one under attack by bullies. Chris said, “Instead of verbally striking back, you launch a distress flare to heaven. With a deep, calming breath and an inward glance to our heart, you find God’s immediate answer.”
The chief priest entourage bullied Jesus, and He delivered the perfect response. He avoided jail, charged with blasphemy, by not directly answering their question. He only had a couple days to teach and change hearts. If He only changed one, the delay was worthwhile. With his answer, He forced the crowd, the chief priest entourage, and us to think about authority and repentance. Are our churches under the authority of a priesthood, minister, bishops, or God? We want our leaders and ourselves to be servants of God. Do we think we’re already holy, or do we repent? When we’re under attack as Jesus was and pray an arrow prayer, God knows the perfect response and will relay it to us.
In our continuing study of leaving a bad habit or trait at the cross, Jesus teaches us the fourth step is to repent and give all authority to God.
Dearest Father in Heaven, holy is Your name. Authority is Yours. Thank you for saving me and teaching me through Your word. Forgive my wrongdoings, and give me the power of Your Holy Spirit to leave ___________ at the cross. When I’m attacked and my face flushes, let the heat remind me to pray an arrow prayer before I speak, so I can represent Your love, not my defiance. In Jesus’ precious and holy name, I pray. Amen.