Recap: Did you invite Jesus into the places you visited yesterday? Did you notice a difference? Did Jesus show up? If so how, and how did he use you to do it?
The Authority of Jesus Questioned
27 They 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?”
29 Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30 John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”
31 They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)
33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
The Unanswerable Question
I was once at a youth worker conference and our keynote speaker was Krish Kandiah. He asked what I thought was an impossible question for us to answer. He asked the question “Can God create a boulder so big that he can’t lift it?” Very quickly I realised it was a real conundrum. To even attempt to answer the question was folly, a bit like the Chief Priests, Teachers of the Law and the Elders in this passage, who were too scared to give an answer because of the consequences. If I said ‘yes God can’ then I was declaring that there is something God can’t do in not lifting the boulder. But if I said ‘no God can’t create the boulder’ then I am left with the same problem. Neither answer left acceptable conclusion. If I said “I just don’t know’ then I haven’t got an answer at all. It was frustrating paradoxical question. I have long thought about the answer. This is also a question I particularly enjoyed teasing the youth in our Church, about during my years as the Director of Children’s and Youth work. I have often wondered if I would ever know the answer. I remember plucking up the courage to take it to God. I started praying over the summer for the wisdom to find an answer. Then out of the blue the answer was given to me in a lecture. I was sat in an ‘Mission and Apologetics in Contemporary Culture’ lecture, delivered by Rowan Williams. Someone at the back of the room posed a difficult question, which I honestly do not remember, and the former Archbishop said, “A Medieval Russian theologian was asked the question ‘Can God create a boulder too heavy for him to lift?’ The wise Theologian thought for a second and then answered …’Yes, the human heart'”
Rowan went on to say… “God has mortgaged his own freedom by giving us ours, he cannot batter his way through to us, we must let him in…”
Often impossible questions have answers. If knowledge is the accumulation of facts and information and wisdom is using the facts and information to find a deeper meaning, then God is far more qualified than either you or I are to give the right answer to any question we might need or want to be answered.
Is there anything you’ve wanted to ask God but never felt you could ask because you were worried about what might be said to you in reply. Or have you wanted to ask someone about God but worried that your question might sound foolish? I have many times. We have this human condition of thinking that things are either right or wrong but often that’s not true, when we put ourselves out there to be either of the two we put ourselves in the position where we actually learn. Learning leads to growth. If you want to grow in your faith don’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions. In the prayer today spend time asking God the questions on your heart.
You are amazing. Thank you that You have a wisdom and knowledge far superior than I could ever know or imagine. Lord, I come to you with questions on my heart. Help me listen to the answers and be attentive to the times you choose to reveal them to me.
In Your name I pray Lord Jesus