‘They came again to Jerusalem, and as [Jesus] was walking in the temple, the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders came to him, and they began saying to him, “By what authority do you do these things? Or who gave you this authority to do these things?”
Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John—was it from heaven, or from men? Answer me.”
They reasoned with themselves, saying, “If we should say, ‘From heaven;’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ If we should say, ‘From men’”—they feared the people, for all held John to really be a prophet. They answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus said to them, “Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.”’
Mark 11:27-33 (WEB)
These people kept on and on and on bugging Jesus, trying to trip Him up so they could find something to knock Him down with (a bit like the tabloids nowadays?). They never did find anything. Jesus always, always responded with truth, mercy, compassion, wisdom, knowledge and, I like to think, a little bit of humour. Take the above, for example, I like to imagine a twinkle in the eye with that final sentence, not quite a wink, but a definite glimmer of humour, perhaps a raised eyebrow and a wry smile; kindly, funny, stern, honest, authoritative – all at once.
I’m continuing listening to the Librivox free (public domain) recording of the New Testament, read by ordinary volunteers. I’ve listened all the way through the Gospel of Matthew, and am now in the middle of Mark. Listening has brought about whole new levels of awareness of the oh-so-familiar text. I’m particularly struck by the way Jesus is described during His time of ministry (if that is what one can call it): He was relentless.
Make me more like You.