July 12

Text: Matthew 21:24, 25

And Jesus answered and said to them, "I will ask you one thing too, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things.  The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?"  (NASB)

At times, we find ourselves in circumstances that are awkward.  If we explain ourselves, God’s purposes will be misunderstood, or, worse, rejected.  The objective of the circumstances is not to search for truth, but to obscure truth.  In such circumstances what does the person do as one who follows Jesus?

Jesus did not always answer questions.  Sometimes he did, and sometimes he did not.  There seemed to be two criteria for Jesus’ answering questions.  (1) Is the asker seriously searching for truth? For understanding?  (2) Will answering the question advance God’s purposes?

Jesus was asked by what authority he did what he did on the temple grounds.  He knew whose authority guided his actions.  He could answer the question with a single correct statement.  Yet, he knew (1) the askers were not seeking truth.  They were seeking to preserve their position by rejecting Jesus.  (2) God’s purposes would not be served by his correct answer.  In fact, the askers would reject God in God’s name.

Thus, Jesus asked them a question.  He said, “You answer my question, and I will answer yours.”  Jesus’ question: “Was the source for John’s baptism divine or human?”

The askers refused to answer Jesus’ question.  Note not everyone thought John, his teachings, or his practices came from God.  Acceptance of John would have radical implications for these askers.

It is difficult to realize that not all religious people want to know and understand truth.  There are motives for being religious that have nothing to do with God’s purposes.  It is possible to be more concerned with physical self-preservation than it is with understanding God’s purposes.  More is involved than the “brand” of religion the person adopts.  The motivations for following Jesus are critical!

Suggestion for reflection: What are your motivations for following Jesus?  (Read Romans 10:1-3.)

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