Imagine the busiest intersection you pass through each day on your morning commute. Now, imagine one day you show up at about 7:30 a.m., park your car on the side of road, and start directing traffic—though, the traffic light is in perfect working order, mind you. With no prior training or experience, you just walk out into the middle of the road and begin pointing and waving and motioning like crazy.
It wouldn’t take long for drivers to begin to realize that you have no idea what you are doing. Who does this guy think he is? Though your impact on traffic patterns and the safety of countless individuals would be immediate, without any real authority, the chances of you affecting any positive influence are approximately zero.
The situation would have an entirely different outcome if you were to roll in during rush hour to find the traffic light down, but a trained officer there to carefully and meticulously bring order to an otherwise dangerously chaotic situation. In that situation, you and everyone else on the road would be thankful for their expertise.
Jesus’s teachings in Luke 10 would’ve presented a series of radical paradigm shifts for His initial listeners. Between commissioning the seventy-two, describing unrepentant cities, and offering up a shocking definition of the term “neighbor” in His parable of the good Samaritan— Jesus was really rocking the boat big time.
I imagine some of His Jewish listeners were left wondering, Who does this guy think He is? How dare He diminish our cities in comparison to the unrighteous and licentious Gentile cities! How dare He diminish the Levites and priests in favor of a foreign and unclean Samaritan!
At first glance, Jesus’s declaration of oneness with the Father in verses 21–24 might come across as informative, sure, but perhaps unrelated to what comes before and what follows after. But this passage’s placement could not be more intentional.
Unlike you or I trying to direct traffic with no authority, no training, and no positive impact, Jesus enters the intersection of human history to bring order to the chaos. When He says, “All things have been entrusted to me by my Father” (v.21), He’s not just making a profound theological statement; He’s declaring His authority.
Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and shared openly about His unique relationship with the Father as a statement of divinity and invitation. He was quick to unequivocally answer the question, Who does this guy think he is? He’s the Son of God, and no one can know the Father except through His Son.
It may not be hard for us to accept some of the difficult teachings of Jesus in Luke 10. That’s largely because we don’t have the same social or cultural background as His initial audience. These days, those instructions can be challenging to enact, but we don’t typically reject them at face value.
That said, I’d be willing to wager that the teachings of Jesus challenge each of us in other ways. We might not be prone to wonder, Who does this guy think he is? Rather, perhaps we’re quick to assume some of His teachings no longer apply to us these days. My prayer for each of us in those moments is that we’d remember Jesus is directing traffic for a reason. If we want to know the Father, we have to put our lives under Jesus’s loving course correction.
Written by Andrew Stoddard