Jesus was a very patient man, who always answered people’s questions. Later on the chief priests and others who tried to trap Him, hoped He might say something wrong so that they had a valid excuse to get rid of Him. Their question on one occasion was, ‘By what authority are you doing these things… And who gave you this authority?’ 1
Jesus, aware of the strategy to trap Him, asked them a pointed question, ‘John’s baptism – where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men?’ 2 In other words, did it rest on God’s authority, or was it just a human thing?
This left the chief priests and elders with a dilemma. If they said it was by God’s authority, then Jesus would ask them why they didn’t believe John? If they said it was from men, a merely human thing, they feared the public who regarded John as a prophet. The public might stone them. 3
It must have been quite an amusing scene to the onlookers when they acknowledged to Jesus, ‘Sorry, we don’t know.’ Incidentally, both John the Baptist’s birth as well Jesus’ were announced by the angel Gabriel. 4 Their authority came from God. If the Pharisees did not accept God’s authority in the case of John, why would they accept it in the case of Jesus?
What is the practical application for us? Atheists and most evolutionists question the authority of the Bible: ‘Is it true? Where does it come from? Why must we trust it?’ So before we answer them, we could ask them a question: Did God create the first living thing on earth (supernatural event), or did it evolve (natural event)?
They can’t say it evolved, because science has not been able to prove it. They can’t say it was created by God, because then they have to believe God’s testimony in the Bible. Like the Pharisees, whatever they say, they are trapped. Please note that to say that scientists are working on the origin of life, and have almost solved it, is not a valid answer. It is because science uncovers more complexity all the time that makes the natural origin of life even more impossible. Skeptics mostly live in denial, they don’t have the support of science, but do not want to believe the Bible.
Conclusion: Because the Pharisees in any way did not accept God’s authority concerning John the Baptist, they would not have accepted Jesus’ either. There was no need for Him to answer their question. Neither do evolutionists and atheists accept the authority of the Bible, even if they are unable to answer the question concerning the origin of life. People sometimes are not interested in the truth.
- Matthew 21:22
- Matthew 21:25
- Luke 20:6
- Luke 1:1-17; 26-33