In today’s gospel reading (Mathew 21:23-27), the Pharisees question the authority of Jesus. They want to know by what authority Jesus has performed certain acts, e.g. his triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem, his cleansing of the temple, and his healings in Jerusalem. Jesus replies with a counter question, a common teaching technique in rabbinical debate. Jesus asks, “Where was John’s baptism from? Was it of heavenly or of human origin?” If they would answer this, he would debate with them.
When the Pharisees discussed their answer among themselves, they decided that it was more prudent to respond with “We don’t know”, and to claim ignorance, rather than to answer ‘heavenly origin’ or ‘human origin’. Their fear, and their embarrassment reveal that they, themselves, cannot speak with authority, so Jesus refuses to discuss his own authority. Jesus put an end to the discussion.
I’m not a brilliant debater, like Jesus. And it’s not always easy for me to have dialogue about my faith in Jesus with others who don’t believe, and who may question Jesus’ authority in my lives. But, if I pray, and speak the Truth in Love, I know that I have done what is right, no matter how others respond.
Let’s all make an effort to speak the Truth in Love, and God will bless our words and our actions.
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