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Summary: The Pharisees weren’t interested in the truth.

THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:

Despite the mind-numbing brutality of the Joseph Stalin regime in the Soviet Union, his propaganda machine did its job well. Many Russians hailed him as a hero and a savior, including a young school girl who was chosen to greet Stalin on one occasion. Years later, this woman recalled Stalin taking her onto his lap, smiling like a loving father. She was starry-eyed, and she cherished the moment for many years. Only later did she learn that during this period, Stalin had her parents arrested and sent to the labor camps, never to be seen again. (Today in the Word, October, 1997, p. 36)

While Jesus was walking in the temple He was confronted by the priests, the scribes and the elders who together were known as the Sanhedrin. They challenged Him with a question, “By what authority doest thou these things?" (v. 28) which was obviously in reference to His cleansing the temple the day before. If He said He was acting under His own authority, they might arrest Him for disobeying their law. If He said He was acting on the authority of God they might arrest Him for blasphemy. So as on many similar occasions Jesus met their question with a counter-question as to whether "the baptism of John, was from heaven or of men?" (v. 30)

These religious leaders realized they were in a difficult position, because it was obvious that if they answered Jesus’ question they would be answering the question they had asked Him. Their silence proved that they were not interested in the truth. They simply wanted to get rid of Jesus because he was undermining their authority. It got them deeper and deeper involved in a situation which made them helpless and ineffective and thus they had nothing to say.

The whole story is a vivid example of what happens to men who will not face the truth. The man who faces the truth may have the humiliation of saying that he was wrong, but at least the future for him is strong and bright. The man who will not face the truth has nothing but the prospect of deeper and deeper involvement in a situation which renders him helpless and ineffective.

APPLICATION:

Who or what are the authority figures in my life? How do I think God would grade my response to authority on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being poor and 10 being excellent? Answer______?


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