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When asked about his authority, why did Jesus ask about John’s baptism?

“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?” Luke 20:2-4

            The religious leaders questioned Jesus about his authority.  They wanted to know who gave him this authority.  The leaders received their authority through human institutions, degrees and rules.  They believed authority was given through earthly means.

            Jesus asked them about John’s baptism, questioning whether John the Baptist received his authority through human election, promotions and certificates or God’s commissioning.  They stumbled.  Prophets in the Bible never graduated with a degree in Prophecy.  God gave them the authority.  Jesus revealed the religious leaders’ weakness in their determination of authority.  It didn’t work the way they thought.  If John the Baptist received his authority to baptize and prophesy from God, then so could Jesus.  The leaders didn’t want to admit that and that’s why they did not answer.