“We do not know”
Today we read of the great welcome the ordinary people gave to Jesus as he rode on the back of a donkey. “The whole city was stirred up” (Matthew 21:10) and we ponder – and find it impossible to imagine – the incredible drama of the scene when he comes again.
What a welcome he had from the ordinary people on this occasion. But what a challenge it was to the religious leaders! They had allowed the Temple to become “a den of robbers” said Jesus (verse 13). All sorts of trade was allowed there – instead of it being solely “a house of prayer” and worship. “They were indignant” because of hearing “the children crying out in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’” (verse 15) which meant they were calling him the Messiah.
“The chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things?’” (verse 23).
Jesus answered them with a question about
“The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” (verse 25).
They debate how to answer being influenced because a “crowd” is listening and avoid saying either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ –
“So they answered, ‘We do not know.’” (verse 26).
In a sense we think there would be a similar answer today from many teachers if asked –
‘is the Bible really a message from God?’
Those who do know that it is, really knowing this in their hearts, know that it contains principles by which they should aim to live in their lives! But sadly, all too many it seems, do not want to completely admit, even to themselves, it is the word of God. They might say, ‘it contains his word’ and pick and choose the parts they feel comfortable with.
Back in chapter 15 we read how Jesus said of these leaders,
“in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (verse 9).
Jesus further said,
“they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit” (verse 14).
What a lesson and warning this is for us! How often in history has ‘God’s word’ been misused by ‘priests and elders’ in order to be seen to be a person in authority and to exercise their sense of authority.
When we come to read Psalm 92 we must meditate on the inspired message there!
“The righteous flourish … They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock …”.
May we be inspired by these words, may the Lord be our “rock”.