Matthew 21: 25-26
“John’s baptism — where did it come from? Was it from heaven or from men?” They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men’ — we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” NIV
The chief priests and elders are in a pickle. They are worried that Jesus is upstaging them, and they want to trap him. But, they’re not smart enough to do so. They have asked him under what authority he is teaching in the temple. In return, Jesus asks this question and promises that if they will answer it, he will answer theirs.
They elders are scheming to get their own way, regardless of whether it is the right thing to do. As they contemplate the answer to Christ’s query, the obstacles that are in their path between where they are and where they want to be are causing them to worry.
If they would just step back a bit, they would see that the real worry is not whether the people will be angry about what they say about a dead prophet, but that they are on the wrong side … they are against the Son of the Living God.
In 2010, we are bombarded with messages that encourage us to adopt the perspective that things are neither completely right, nor completely wrong. This is the approach that the chief priests and elders ultimately take. Their answer to Jesus’s question is, “we don’t know.” Since they fail to answer his question, Jesus will not answer theirs.
We live in a world that increasingly believes that most things are somewhere in the middle … I’m not certain that’s true in all cases. It may be true in very few of them.
I’m going to think some more about that today.