I will thank you and praise you,
and bless the name of the Lord.
When I was still a youth, before I went travelling,
in my prayers I asked outright for wisdom.
Outside the sanctuary I would pray for her,
and to the last I will continue to seek her.
From her blossoming to the ripening of her grape
my heart has taken its delight in her.
My foot has pursued a straight path,
I have been following her steps ever since my youth.
By bowing my ear a little I have received her,
and have found much instruction.
Thanks to her I have advanced;
the glory be to him who has given me wisdom!
For I am determined to put her into practice,
I have earnestly pursued what is good, I will not be put to shame.
My soul has fought to possess her,
I have been scrupulous in keeping the Law;
I have stretched out my hands to heaven
and bewailed my ignorance of her;
I have directed my soul towards her,
and in purity have found her.
Jesus and his disciples came to Jerusalem, and as Jesus was walking in the Temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, ‘What authority have you for acting like this? Or who gave you authority to do these things?’ Jesus said to them, ‘I will ask you a question, only one; answer me and I will tell you my authority for acting like this. John’s baptism: did it come from heaven, or from man? Answer me that.’ And they argued it out this way among themselves: ‘If we say from heaven, he will say, “Then why did you refuse to believe him?” But dare we say from man?’ – they had the people to fear, for everyone held that John was a real prophet. So their reply to Jesus was, ‘We do not know.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this.’
“Who gave you authority to do these things?”
When I was about 8, I remember having an art class and I was doing my own thing. I can’t quite recall what it was I was doing but it clearly wasn’t what the teacher expected. She huffed up to me and asked me pointedly, “Who gave you permission to do that?” That really caught me off-guard and while I can’t remember what my response was, I wouldn’t be surprised if I had been too scared to give one!
In today’s reading, Jesus was challenged by the chief priests in the Temple, or his ‘Father’s house’ as he referred to it. He had been performing miracles all this time — casting out demons, curing the sick and the lame, healing the blind — all in God’s name. John the Baptist had gone before him, paving the way and baptizing people, asking them to repent their ways, for the Messiah would come.
The chief priests did not believe Jesus because they were defiant and stubborn in their thinking. They did not believe that the Messiah was the son of a carpenter, and they were afraid of the influence that Jesus yielded. They were afraid of the truth, even though the truth was in the flesh right before their very eyes.
We are a bit like that sometimes. We tend to be in denial over certain things whatever they may be. We ask for signs, some proof, source of information or conclusive study, otherwise we refuse to believe. We question the legitimacy of the issue before us. What would it be like if we were the ones who knew the truth, and tried to persuade others to see it, but were challenged as Jesus was? Wouldn’t it be frustrating? But Jesus kept his cool. He knew the truth and if the chief priests refused to see it, then they eventually would because deep down they would know that Jesus was indeed of God. If we too feel challenged, let us pray that God will help us and let the truth be revealed. For sometimes, trying to change hardened hearts and minds can be too much of an uphill climb. But as long as we are on the side of truth, we are on the side of God.
(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)
Prayer: Lord, we pray for those who have been unjustly persecuted. We pray that justice will prevail and that the truth will set them free.
Thanksgiving: Thank you God, for showing me that You are the Way and the Truth, and with that comes Life.