Jesus had entered the temple and was teaching, when the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the Jewish authorities came to him, and asked, “What authority have you to act like this? Who gave you authority to do all this?”
Jesus answered them, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things.” Where did John’s baptism come from? From heaven or from people?”
They discussed this among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ And if we say, ‘The baptism of John was merely something human’, we’ve got to beware of the people, for all consider John to be a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.”
And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Jesus doesn’t refuse to enter into a discussion with priests, teachers of the Law and even Jewish authorities. His deep conscience of the mission entrusted by the Father gives him always the suitable answer. Today, for example, Jesus puts another question to his interlocutors, when they asked for his authority. In fact, the question of Jesus becomes so embarrassing for them that they decide to decline the answer, saying: “We don’t know whether the baptism of John was a work of God, or merely something human.”
What do we discover in this defiance of the chiefs of Israel? Obviously, we sense a lack of honesty. They don’t look for the truth. They are not open to accept it, when it appears. They already are deeply prejudiced against Jesus, but they fear the simple people. This calculated position according to our own interests arrives often in human relations. We know it by our own experience. So, we can fear the silence of Jesus when even in our prayers we do not approach him with humble and open heart. We cannot ask him for the confirmation of our prejudices or narrowness of mind.
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