Where was John’s baptism from?
Was it of heavenly or of human origin?” (Matthew 21)
Standing up for the truth sounds easy but it is not always the case. When people agree with you it is easy but when people oppose you it can be a struggle. You might even lose friends and family over it. When we fear the disapproval or rejection, we easily tempted to avoid confrontation. Jesus taught that truth frees. It is important to say and do what is right and good.
When the Israelites began to enter the promised land, they met resistance and opposition from the people around them. In the Old Testament you can see that the prophets where rejected repeatedly. When John the Baptist started his ministry, the religious leaders and rulers also resisted his word. He also suffered persecution from their hand. Jesus was also met with resistance, rejection and hostility from them as well. They rejected him because their view of religion did not match with the message of Jesus. Their hearts were heartened and could not look to the latter of the law instead of the letter of the law.
They questioned authority plainly because they just cannot see it.
In the Matthew’s Gospel Jesus sees through their trap. He responds with a question they themselves are afraid to answer. They do not answer the question because they could not face the truth. It would undermine their own authority and power. And so often with people in leadership. They want to cling on to their power position. They did not accept John the Baptist as prophet and neither Jesus as Messiah. The coming of God’s kingdom on earth without a doubt leads to conflict. It is a conflict of allegiance to God’s will to my will or the will of the world. God’s justice over the world’s way. How do we respond to Jesus’ claim to be Messiah? Do we submit to his reign? Do we put him above religious and worldly leaders? I hope we all do choose Jesus over all of that. Then Jesus promise will be fulfilled. Namely, that those who seek to live according to God’s truth will find true joy, freedom, and happiness…. here and now and in eternity. Amen.