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.” MT 21:23-27Is it not human nature to always want to know what is going to happen next? It is actually my job, on a daily basis, to help predict what is going to happen next (I am not very good at this, and trust me, I have been doing this for a long time). We have people, weather forecasters, who spend entire lives trying to predict the next storm system coming through. Everyone wants to know what is going to happen next.
Do we not get really upset with the forecasters when they get the weather wrong for the day? I know that I used to. We try so hard to plan our lives into the future, that when that little bit of Earthly control gets messed up, we end up being so upset. Why do we put that much stock in predictions, or trying to plan things with such stringent rules around them? The simple truth, we want to be in control. We want to plan things, and have them go perfectly, exactly like the design in our heads. We want to know the answers to all the questions. It is so hard for us to just to make a plan, but yet be flexible to anything? Is that not what we are being called to do in our lives already?
Well, in the reading today, the chief priests tried to predict what Jesus was going to tell them. He already knew they were going to try to do this, I am sure of that, however, they tried to predict what the outcome would be before it happened. When they said they did not know, they got just as much information in return. They got this because Jesus already knew that they knew where his Authority came from, they were just afraid to say the name. It would have gone against the little Earthly power that they had at the time. Think about that, they were trying to predict the future answer, to protect what little control they had in this world.