Most people who are put in charge of a meeting, a task, an office staff, or anything that requires decision making think they must have an answer for every question put before them.
As leaders, we don’t want to appear unknowable about what we have been put in charge of leading. So, even when there is no real answer because not enough information has been gathered, we have a tendency to answer anyway. Most times, this created from pressure answer does not help solve the issue, no matter how good it sounds coming from the lips of the leader.
If you don’t know, the honest and best answer and always the most helpful is, “I don’t know.” It is at that point that more information is gathered from the group so you can make better decisions in problem solving.
I know this line of thinking might sound weird as we look at our passage for today. But bear with me, the chief priests and elders, the teachers and leaders of the day, really don’t know who Jesus is. They only know enough to be afraid of losing their power over the people they are enslaving to their way of thinking. They walked away from God and became their own gods. God is not in them and hasn’t been for generations. That’s why they do not recognize the Messiah “who is coming to save us”, as written in the scriptures they read and teach, standing right in front of them.
When they finally face Jesus, after many months of watching Him with eyes of hate, criticizing Him, fearful of the popularity He is gaining among the oppressed people they ask, “By what authority are you doing these things?”
One thing that annoys me in life’s tasks on earth is for someone to tell me I can’t do something because it can’t be done, WHILE I’m doing it. And while I’m doing it with a team, these same people stand on the sidelines to jeer and criticize.
Is this how Jesus felt at this moment when faced by His critics? I don’t know, I admit it. But we do know no one can think like Jesus. No one has power greater than our risen Lord. No one has more wisdom, insight and understanding along with compassion like Jesus, The Messiah, and our Savior!
The Authority of Jesus Questioned
23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
Here we see the best, most honest answer, we will hear from the lips of Jesus’ enemies who, without God in their hearts, driven by evil, say, “We don’t know.”
They didn’t know. They were blind and could not see Jesus for Who He was, is and always will be. They were deaf to Jesus’ teaching about the full intent of The Law and what it meant to love God and love each other, to serve, not to be served. The religious elite taught what they did not know.
Do we know?
“Believe in Jesus and be saved”, Paul later writes to the Romans. Paul believed and knew Jesus well. “Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.” Romans 10, NLT
THIS IS WHAT WE KNOW…
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved”. Romans 10:9-10, NLT
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
Know whom you believe. Know Jesus. Know yourself and your relationship with God through Jesus. Know your enemy who tries to keep you from knowing and growing in Jesus. Teach only what you know. If you don’t know, admit it. Let the Holy Spirit take over! The Holy Spirit will pray for us, give us the answers for life’s decisions, and guide us into all Truth. This is a promise from God, given by Jesus.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
TRUST HIS HOLY SPIRIT WHO LIVES IN US WHO BELIEVE!
Romans 8 teaches us about God’s Holy Spirit…
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”
“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba,Father'”.
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
Lean into what we do know! God is with us. Always.
And we’re singing,
“By your Spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat
The resurrected Lord, has resurrected me!”
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.