Have you ever noticed the frequency of triads in life? Earth wind and fire. Sun, moon and stars. Even a molecule of water is made of three atoms oriented perfectly in a way that causes them to hang together. And depending on the temperature, that water can be found in one of the three forms of matter; liquid, solid or gas. Of course, the Trinity is one of the first examples that come to mind.
Here’s another you might not have thought of but is vitally important for healthy life: Authority, Loyalty and Theology. Not only are these three connected, but they’re interdependent like three legs of a stool that are joined by tie-rods creating a firm foundation for you and me.
In chapter 20, Luke records Jesus’ enemies trying to knock each of those legs out from under Him, one at a time.
- Authority: (Identity, Belonging, Sonship)
In verse 2, they challenge His authority: “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.” They were really challenging His identity, from Whom He had come and to Whom He belonged, the Source of His authority.
Has your authority or identity in Christ been challenged? Has anyone ever accused you “That’s not very Christian” or “Jesus wouldn’t do that?” More obtusely, isn’t the Christian identity challenged daily by cultural norms? How do you respond? Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you from where my authority comes.” He felt no demand to play into the trap of this challenge. Why? Because stating who He was wouldn’t change who He was. That’s an important lesson. For you and me, rebutting our accuser doesn’t change who we are in Him. Most often, in those situations, a quiet response is the more appropriate one.
- Loyalty: (Faithfulness, Devotion, Allegiance)
In Luke 20:20-26, Jesus’ loyalty is challenged as the leaders lay out a choice between Caesar and God. They believed Roman rule was antithetical to their faith and so there existed a nasty tension in paying taxes to the emperor versus worshiping Jehovah. They presented the option to Christ, “Pay Caesar or not?” Jesus puts it all in right perspective readjusting the scales of importance between earthly rule and heavenly rule. He looks at Caesar’s face on the coin and says, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” The options weren’t even on the same playing field. Jesus’ loyalty, His focus, His energy was on the Kingdom. We must ask the personal question, “Where is my loyalty?” Consider where you invest your time and resource and then be resolved. If it has the face of the world on it, don’t stress for it. Give it to the world and pledge your allegiance to God instead.
- Theology (Doctrine, Knowledge, Revelation)
In Luke 20:27-40, the Saducees challenge Jesus’ theology. (Bad idea). After concocting the impossibility of a woman who marries one brother at a time until all seven are dead, they ask to whom will she belong in heaven. Read Jesus’ response. Although He addresses marriage in heaven, He devotes most of his answer addressing the truth of resurrection. Why? Because He understood the motive of the heart behind the question. The Sadducees didn’t believe in resurrection of the dead. We are wise to do as Christ when our theology is challenged. Don’t argue the point. Address the motive.
Identity, Loyalty and Theology. The enemies of His day went after each of these legs that provide stability. Today, it is still the way the enemy works to topple the Christian.
Lastly, consider that three individual legs provide no stability unless they’re tied together solidly. Each of the three support each other in one way or another. Take a close look at the diagram and read each connection as a sentence to get a better understanding of God’s intended interconnectedness between these three pillars that form a tripod for healthy and stable life.