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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Who Says?

Have you ever known someone who just did not have a clue? I mean someone who seemed totally oblivious to any kind of sense whatsoever. My Papaw used to say that they had no more sense than God gave a screwdriver. It is sad really, that there are people who, no matter how many times you explain something, they either argue with you endlessly debating “the facts,” or look at as if you just grew a second head.
Well, did you know that the same thing happened to Jesus? Jesus went about teaching and preaching, and healing people of all kinds of things (even death) and there were some who wondered aloud about the “authority” He had to do those things. They asked “why do heal on the Sabbath day?” They enquired why this and why that, and who do you think you are?

There was one time in particular,


27They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. 28"By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "And who gave you authority to do this?"29Jesus replied, "I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30John's baptism—was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me!"31They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Then why didn't you believe him?' 32But if we say, 'From men'...." (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)33So they answered Jesus, "We don't know."
Jesus said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things." (Mark 11:27-33)

At first glance, this passage seems to be an exercise in immature conversation; a kind of I’ll answer you if you answer me competition going on. However, if we continue to look in light of all of Jesus’ teaching we can see that Jesus is challenging these men and putting them between a rock and a hard place. They must make a decision, they must find the answer, they must either acknowledge the authority or deny the authority…either way, they must decide.
I wonder if sometime those friends or co-workers or whoever the debaters in our lives is just delaying the inevitable.

Heartlight.org has a daily e-column called “What Jesus Did” today they wrote:
"…Jesus refused to give the Jewish religious leaders an answer because
they wouldn't answer him. In fact, they weren't looking for the truth;
they just wanted an answer to their question so they could trap Jesus
in his words. But, they failed -- just as they failed at stopping his
teaching by killing him and failed at stopping his early followers by
persecuting his church. Jesus is THE authority. They couldn't stop him
anymore than they could stop the world from turning. What is scary,
however, is that there is no real answer to life's problems for those
who look at Jesus and his story simply for ammunition to discredit him.
Like the opponents of Jesus of old, opponents of Jesus today are not
given an answer because they aren't seeking one. We need to ask
ourselves, what -- or better yet, who -- do we seek?"

Even today we have people who ask endless, inane questions trying to show their intellect or enlightenment. The fact of the matter is, that their hearts are not engagaing the Gospel that is presented to them. Whether this comes from a deep sense of guilt over something in their past, or just a simple misunderstanding of the nature of God; the result is the same…a person trapped in a life of “this is as good as it will ever be.”

How hopeless to live that life, how debilitating, how sad…
If only they could trust that Jesus held the authority over even their hopelessness,

Look at the words of our Savior:
28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matt 11:28-29)

Let us start right now to pray for that friend with the question. Let us pray that they will find the ability to trust, and then find rest.

---jb