Gospel – December 16, 2019 – Matthew 21:23-27
When Jesus had come into the temple area,
the chief priests and the elders of the people approached him
as he was teaching and said,
“By what authority are you doing these things?
And who gave you this authority?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“I shall ask you one question, and if you answer it for me,
then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things.
Where was John’s baptism from?
Was it of heavenly or of human origin?”
They discussed this among themselves and said,
“If we say ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say to us,
‘Then why did you not believe him?’
But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we fear the crowd,
for they all regard John as a prophet.”
So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.”
He himself said to them,
“Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Last day at Prince of Peace is barreling down the tracks. Feeling a sense of inevitability when I woke. My self preservation trying to kick in. Got a bit of getting used to “different” in store.
Self preservation – it’s a very strong sense built into us. Change can be scary – I know.
In courts of law they don’t seek the truth – they want to win. So they will play with words to make that happen – truth; real truth – be damned. I’m speaking of the system and not individuals.
So when the elders and chief priests approach Jesus they are fearful of what they’ll hear. Whose authority is Jesus preaching with? He’s obviously a powerful preacher but from where did that authority – gift – come?
He knew what they wanted to know and he knew why they wanted to know. But he’s wise to the constant traps they set for him – like in courts of law – he is aware of what hey are angling toward.
So he asks them to answer the question of John the Baptist’s baptism. And they begin to confer because “truth” isn’t important but rather the “right” answer -for them – is their goal. Self preservation.
Miracles were an indication even then of Divine Authority and Jesus had plenty of those. This was simply another trap built with words that Jesus, again and again, turned on the “trappers”.
Why can’t the World honor truth – real truth?
Because sometimes it costs you. And there’s that whole self preservation thing.
At least that’s what I heard Him say…