Morning Reading for October 2

Matthew 21:23-32
(Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8)

Suggested further reading: John 1:19-28

The enemies of truth are ever ready to question the authority of all who do more good than themselves. The chief priests have not a word to say about our Lord's teaching or against his life or conduct. The point on which they fasten is his commission.

The same charge has often been made against the servants of God when they have striven to check the progress of ecclesiastical corruption. It is the old weapon by which the children of this world have often laboured to stop the progress of revivals and reformation. It is the weapon that was often brandished in the face of Reformers, Methodists and Puritans in their day. Too many care nothing for the manifest blessing of God on a man's work if he is not sent forth by their own sect or party. It matters nothing to them that some humble labourer in God's harvest can point to numerous conversions of souls through his instrumentality. They consider his success nothing: they demand his commission. What he does is not important. It is his authority to do it that matters!

With consummate wisdom our Lord replied to the question. This answer of our Lord was no evasion. His counter question was an answer to their enquiry. He knew that they dare not deny that John the Baptist was a man sent from God. He knew that, this being granted, he only needed to remind them of John's testimony to himself. Our Lord's question was a home thrust to their consciences. If they once conceded the divine authority of John's mission, they must also concede the divine authority of his own. Let us pray for like wisdom in the defence that we give of the truth.

In the parable of the sons the Lord holds out immense encouragement to those who repent. One son, like the profligate tax collectors, for some time flatly refused obedience, but afterwards repented and went. The other, like the formal Pharisees, pretended willingness to go, but in reality went not. It was the son like the tax collector who obeyed. It is not our initial profession and response that matters, but whether we actually repent and obey.

For meditation: `Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven' (Matt. 7:21).

These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
Evangelical Press; 12 Wooler St., Darlington, Co, Durham, England, DL1 1RQ