Questions on Authority and the Chief Cornerstone

from Luke 20:1-19

One day Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts, proclaiming to all the good news…. when the chief priests and teachers of the law and the elders came up to question His views..

“Who gave you this authority?” they asked, for He’d just driven out all who would buy or sell.  He’d said they’d made the temple a den of thieves, rather than a house where prayer could dwell.

Jesus answered them back with a question of His own about whether they could recognize…if John the Baptist’s ministry was of his own initiative–or was it divine in God’s eyes?

Before they answered, they debated among themselves on which answer would be best.  If they said it was from heaven, they knew He would ask why they then hadn’t believed John was blessed.

But if they said John was acting only on his own, they feared they would actually be stoned… for all the people felt that John had been a prophet, and such an answer wouldn’t be condoned.

So their final reply on where John had gotten his authority was that they really didn’t know–  Then Jesus answered them that neither would He reveal the source of His ministry’s flow.

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Jesus went on to tell the story of a man who planted a vineyard and decided to rent it out.  He journeyed to a distant land for some time, but sent one of his servants back on the route…

to collect his share of the harvest one day; but the renters beat him, and he returned in lack.  The vineyard owner sent a second, then a third servant, who also received the same kind of an attack.

So he came to consider that he would send his only son–surely, they’d give respect in that case–   Well, they not only beat him, but they killed the heir as well, thinking then they might own the place.

Jesus asked what they thought the owner would do to those who had done this thing…. He said he would come to destroy them in turn and give the vineyard to others whom he would bring.

This upset the chief priests, teachers, and elders as they realized he was speaking of them in the story.  Some said no one would do such a thing, but Jesus brought up scripture that spoke to them of His glory….

What was the meaning, then, He asked, of “The stone which the builders rejected–has become the chief cornerstone” — Of course, therein His own life and ministry were reflected.

You see, the Jewish nation was the vineyard; the chief priests and others like them were tenants of the land.  Through the years they’d not heeded God’s servants, the prophets–now His Son they were rejecting on every hand.

This parable speaks of God, the Father, who sent His prophets, then His Son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Lord. As in the parable, He’ll return through His Son–and those who’ve put faith in Him will have great reward….


P. A. Oltrogge

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”  Psalm 118:22

Psalm 27, a Psalm of David

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Why Faith?

“Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’

“So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’

“And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’

“And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’

“Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'” John 20:24-29 NKJV

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Why is faith needed–because, like Thomas, we, too, can sometimes doubt,

so we need to continually go to God’s Word to push wrong thinking out.

Without faith, it’s impossible to please God–it’s a detriment to us as well.

How can we doubt God’s integrity, who’s provided heaven and escape from hell?

The truth about this…is that there’s a deceiver, who actively bombards with lies,

which is the reason God says to be vigilant in keeping His Word before our eyes.

And words of faith are like a refreshing breeze in the midst of a bad situation.

“Have faith in God,” Jesus said, which are His words to the people of every nation.

“For with God, nothing shall be impossible,” is another important Biblical quote.

We can even “walk on the water,” at His direction, boldly stepping out of the boat.

Author, Ravi Zacharias, called Thomas the “Questioning Apostle,” but doubt didn’t stay.

Thomas went on to serve in God’s kingdom, leading others to follow Christ and The Way.

So, just like Thomas, we can walk on in faith, despite doubts that have assailed us.

Fixing our eyes upon Jesus, we’ll be able to say, “God’s Word has never failed us!”

P. A. Oltrogge

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV

The above image of Jesus
used by permission of Bob Berran
at http://www.bobberran.com
See his Online Store to
purchase reprints of
various sizes.

Ravi Zacharias was the author of many Christian books. Having been born and raised in India, he spoke of the cited influence by Thomas, for Christianity, to a certain area of that country, historically in Kerala. He wrote of this in “Walking from East to West,” the autobiography of his own life, on pages 46 to 50.

There’s still light in Goshen

The Lord was working out a major plan to set free–the captive Hebrew people of old. There would be ten plagues, so the actions of Moses and Aaron would need to be brave and bold.

When they came before Pharaoh, they had commands from the Lord on what to say or do, to warn him of, or initiate, every plague that his nation was soon to go through.

The ninth plague of darkness was so severe that the Egyptians couldn’t get around. For three days, the darkness was “felt” and thick, in the air and on the ground.

One of Egypt’s chief deities was the sun “god,” so such darkness proved the Lord’s might, to prevail over any of the “gods” of the Egyptians. Only His power could end the dark night.

But the Hebrews were under God’s protection; and, in the midst of that constant night, there was light in Goshen in their dwellings because God was in charge of their fight.

Today, people experience darkness, not of God and not a kind where you can’t visibly see, but darkness in their minds when they’ve not recognized “the door,” through which anyone’s able to go free.

Jesus pointed the way, saying, “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” You can experience “Goshen” through God’s Son yet today, and you’ll have all of the light that you’ll need.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt. So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” Exodus 10:21-23

“If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 KJV

“Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.’” John 8:12

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill, and destroy: I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.’” John 10:9-10

“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV

Our Everliving Jesus

Jesus, the Son of God, was birthed by Mary and laid in a manger.
King Herod sought to kill Him, but He was kept from danger…
for His earthly father, Joseph, having been enlightened and driven,
by instructions in a dream that the angel of the Lord had given,
took the Child and His mother away to a distant Egyptian location.
And, there, the family stayed for a specified duration.

In later years, during Jesus’ ministry, others opposed Him, too.
But no one could actually harm Him until His ministry days were through.
The devil himself confronted Jesus, with temptations to disband
from loyalty to the Godhead and to all that was divinely planned.
Jesus was obedient, however, to His Father throughout His days.
Then, even death, with its finality, couldn’t hold Him—God be praised!

Today, some seek to downplay Jesus’ divinity or worldwide fame,
or they deny acknowledging the Lordship of His name.
But His is a name that’s above all names—an everlasting name,
a name through which we’re made righteous, for He took all our blame.
And one day every knee shall bow, acknowledging all that’s been said,
of Jesus Christ as Lord of all, who is surely the Church’s head.

Some, who are doubtful, try to put Jesus completely out of thought,
abandoning the Christian truths that they were previously taught.
But His is a name which we should praise, and certainly not ignore,
for there IS no other God—Jesus said, “I am the Door.”
How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation,
which God has freely offered to all people of every nation?

It is through Jesus Christ that God has sought to bless us all.
He’s the one and only Savior sent to redeem us from man’s fall.
He’s the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end…
and about whom the scriptures most assuredly were penned.
And, thankfully, we can bring to Jesus any problem, large or small.
He’s “The Everlasting Father,” on whom we’re privileged to call.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 KJV

“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58 KJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.’ Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” John 14:6-9 NKJV

Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” John 10:30 NIV

“For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.” Hebrews 2:2-4 NASB

“And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18 KJV

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17 NKJV

“…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NKJV

The Light of the Glory of the Gospel of Christ

From an account in Matthew 9:27-31

When someone’s not qualified to lead another, we say it’s “the blind leading the blind.” The Bible gives an account of such an occurrence, but of a very positive kind.

One day two blind men were following Jesus, knowing that the vision which they sought…could surely be realized through His miracles, which they had heard
He’d wrought.

“Have mercy on us, Son of David!” was their heartfelt, earnest cry for His touch.
When He entered into the house, they may have wondered if He’d even heard
them much.

But they were bold to enter the house then, where, at the time, Jesus was staying–
They were ready to receive the healing, for which they’d both been praying.

“Do you believe that I’m able to do this?” Jesus questioned the pair;
They answered Him, “Yes, Lord,” for they knew–that He’d done great miracles everywhere.

So Jesus touched their eyes, saying that according to their faith it was done;
Then their eyes were opened to see perfectly—a new life for each had begun.

Though they’d been blind, they’d helped each other, on a pathway of which they felt sure. Their faith in Jesus and readiness to receive brought about their miraculous cure.

Though Jesus charged them to let no one know, they couldn’t help sharing their story–of how Jesus Christ had given them sight, and they gave to Him all of the glory.

There have been testimonies in these days, too, of people receiving their sight–
I praise God to hear of it and for His heart to heal those who face any health fight.

There’s darkness of an even greater kind, that seeks to keep people from following Christ’s way; In such cases, they need someone who’s spiritually-sighted, to lead them to the Light of day.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  John 8:12

“While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”  John 9:5

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” Matthew 5:14-15

“In whose case, the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  2 Corinthians 4:4

“Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:38

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” Proverbs 4:18

For miracle testimonies of today, just to name a few ministries, refer to:
http://www.cbn.com
http://www.awmi.net
http://www.oralroberts.com

The Fear of the Lord

“By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.” Proverbs 22:4

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.” Psalm 110:10

“Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.” Psalm 34:9

“The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” Psalm 121:8

“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” Proverbs 15:3

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.” Proverbs 12:28

“The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise. He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility.” Proverbs 15:31-33

“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.” Proverbs 14:26

“The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him.” Proverbs 20:7

“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.” Proverbs 8:13

“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.

“His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins and faithfulness the belt of His waist.”

Isaiah 11:1-5

Scriptures NKJV

Original Intent

(Reference: The Bible–as might be spoken by the Creator)

For My original intent, we have to look back
to a man and a woman–not a thing would they lack,
with a bountiful garden and glorious days ahead–
But sin entered in and things were different instead.

From beautiful Eden they then had to leave,
yet children were planned for Adam and Eve.
And so it’s continued down to this day–
A man and a woman–not any other way.

To change this design, gives Me displeasure
and is not my intention by any sort of measure.
Don’t fail to see that it’s in My Book–
Turn to Romans 1:26-27 and there take a look.

And with mother and father, children are glad;
that’s My original intent–the only one I’ve had.
When one parent’s missing, I’ll be there to care–
such families who trust Me have found that I’m there.

Any other thinking, I’d have people forsake
and turn the corner–an established road’s there to take.
I know there are some who want it both ways,
but My original intent is still the standard I raise.

P. A. Oltrogge

And He (Jesus) answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh?’” Matthew 19:4-5

“…but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. And the man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’” Genesis 2:20-23

See all of Genesis, chapters 1 through 3

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried; He is a buckler to all them that trust in Him. II Samuel 22:31

Fresh as a Dewdrop

“Fresh as a dewdrop,” My Word is to you.
Go to it daily and find things new.
You’ll find the familiar in it as well–
Of comfort, wisdom, and truth it will tell.
At times, for direction, it gives a faith hint,
Bringing light to your path like a dewdrop’s glint.
Fresh as a dewdrop, I want to impart
More of its treasures into your heart.
Like finding the dewdrops, you can depend
On My being there always to instruct and befriend.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”
Psalm 119:105

“I will never forget Thy precepts, for by them Thou hast revived me.”
Psalm 119:93

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort….” 2 Corinthians 1:3

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

“Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.” John 17:17

“…I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20

(Scriptures NASB)

See “About the Porch”

The Strength of United Prayer

Have you read about or heard of a story…regarding a tough situation,

where prayer turned things around with a kind of heavenly litigation?

It’s good to remember such times, of great breakthroughs coming about,

when believers joined their faith in prayer, effectively driving out doubt.

This can also be likened to a soldier in battle–weary from fighting hard,

when suddenly fresh troops come to his aid, to relieve him and stand guard.

It’s wise to make declarations of faith when traveling down a difficult way;

but often we need our family in Christ, to join together with us to pray.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:19-20

“Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” Acts 12:5

“So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.” Acts 12:12

“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–” Ephesians 6:17-18

“Be kindly affectionate to one another, with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer, distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” Romans 12:10-13

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14