So when I read this mornings' passage from Luke 20, I had this in my mind. This is part of that passage:
1One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up 2and said to him, "Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority." 3He answered them,
"I also will ask you a question. Now tell me,4 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?"5And they discussed it with one another, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say, 'Why did you not believe him?' 6But if we say, 'From man,' all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet." 7So they answered that they did not know where it came from. 8And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."
Did you notice the question that they posed to him? Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.
They should have, by this time in Jesus' ministry known the answer to this. They knew that Jesus said he was the son of God, that he was the son of Man, and that he came to be about his father's business. They already knew what Jesus claimed (whether they believed it or not). Makes me wonder if this was a trapping sort of question.
But anyways, Jesus didn't answer the question. He in turn, asked them a question. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? What kind of question was that to ask? Did it even seem related? But as we watch how the elders and priests looked at how to answer, we see indeed the state of their heart. How they answer this question matters.
And they discussed it with one another, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say, 'Why did you not believe him?' 6But if we say, 'From man,' all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet."So they chose instead to say.. we have no clue! (very distinctly my phrase of their response). :)
Therefore Jesus did not answer their question either.
I have to admit, in a way I wonder, why didn't Jesus just answer them. He could have straight-forwardly answered them. But then they wouldn't have had to think about it at all would they? And sometimes I think that's more the point. Does every question that a non-believer pose to us have to be answered, or can we just ask them a question in response and let them think a while?
If so, what question(s) should be asked?
If we are to strive to follow after Christ, that means we must also strive to follow his example. Jesus asked a lot of questions. He didn't answer every question posed to him. He was sometimes silent before his questioners.
So what questions should we ask?
So when should we be silent?
And when do we actually answer the question posed?
I don't know. I've never actually thought of it all this way before. The whole issue of silence and speaking. When to question a question and so forth. Hmm...more to think on.