‘Tell me, where did John’s right to baptise come from: was it from God or from human beings?’
They started to argue among themselves: ‘What shall we say? If we answer, “From God”, he will say, “Why, then, did you not believe John?” But if we say “From human beings…”’ (They were afraid of the people, because everyone was convinced that John had been a prophet.) So their answer to Jesus was, ‘We don’t know’.
Jesus said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you, then, by what right I do these things’. (verses 30-33)
Read Mark 11:27-33
‘And the clear winner is … Jesus!’ He won this argument with the religious leaders about his right to do what he was doing not on points but with a knockdown blow! But Jesus’ opponents won’t admit that Jesus has won, that in fact his authority is God’s authority. They say, ‘We don’t know’.
We can say, ‘I don’t know’, but that often isn’t quite true. We do know, but we don’t want to face the consequences. We are too stubborn to change our opinion. So, ‘I don’t know’ can mean ‘I won’t admit it’, or ‘I don’t believe it ‘, or ‘I’ll not change anything in my life’.
This kind of evasiveness is out of place when we are confronted with the authority of God in Jesus. ‘I don’t know’ can then mean ‘I reject you, Jesus’. John the Baptist came to call people back to God; so did Jesus. This is God’s invitation, our opportunity. May we respond in faith and not say, ‘I don’t know’.
Lord, you know me, you know everything I do. Your knowledge of me is beyond understanding. O God, how precious are your thoughts to me. Examine me, O God, and discover my thoughts, and guide me in the everlasting way. (verses from Psalm 139)
by Ray Schulz, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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