Jesus likes to ask questions. Jesus wants an answer. Jesus doesn’t answer to me. I answer to Jesus. I need to really understand that. The religious elites of His time didn’t get that. We all need to be careful.
One day he was teaching the people in the Temple, proclaiming the Message. The high priests, religion scholars, and leaders confronted him and demanded, “Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to speak and act like this?”
Jesus answered, “First, let me ask you a question: About the baptism of John—who authorized it, heaven or humans?”
They were on the spot, and knew it. They pulled back into a huddle and whispered, “If we say ‘heaven,’ he’ll ask us why we didn’t believe him; if we say ‘humans,’ the people will tear us limb from limb, convinced as they are that John was God’s prophet.” They agreed to concede that round to Jesus and said they didn’t know.
Jesus said, “Then neither will I answer your question.” | Luke 20:1-8 (The Message Bible)
Jesus takes them back to John the Baptist. John had pointed to Jesus and introduced Him to the nation, so their rejection of John was actually a rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now this is important. It is a spiritual principle that if we disobey truth we already know, God cannot reveal new truth to us.
When the festival was already half over, Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. Then the Jews were amazed and said, “How is this man so learned, since he hasn’t been trained?”
Jesus answered them, “My teaching isn’t mine but is from the one who sent me. If anyone wants to do his will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. | John 7:14-17 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
Why answer their question when they had refused to submit to John’s message?
Now it was the religious leaders who were in the dilemma! No matter what answer they gave, they were in trouble, so they decided to “play dumb” and not answer at all.
They were deceitful in asking the question and dishonest in the way they avoided answering it. Even if Jesus had given them an answer, their hearts were not prepared to receive it. If they had disobeyed God’s message given by John the Baptist, they would disobey the message given by God’s Son. That was the theme of the parable Jesus told.