Jesus comes as Pastor and lawyer here.
Pastor Jesus reminds us; “if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespass.”
Remember we will reap what we sow. Sow forgiveness and grace and mercy, reap the same. Sow bitterness and judgmement, we will reap that too. If we forgive others, God forgives us. If we don’t forgive others, God does not forgive us…sobering.
Jesus as lawyer:
When the Pharisees came and asked Jesus “by what authority are you doing these things?”. I suspect the initial silence must have been deafening.
Jesus uses “Socratic dialogue” well before Socrates when he asks them back:
“The baptism of John, was it from heaven or from men? Answer me..”
It was a question they would not be able to answer and hold their current positions in front of the people…the question exposed their selfish hypocrisy. So, they punted and said, “We do not know.”
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.'”
Ok, so let’s watch out for sincere sounding people who seem to want our best interests in mind but are secretly plotting and scheming against the true nature of Jesus in order to get their own way or manipulate things in their favor. They almost always do it with a smile, soft voice, cool reason and what appears to be your best interest in mind.
Don’t fret as Jesus will eventually expose them and their schemes. Also, let’s try to not be those people. They actually end up creating relationships and cultures based on fear and manipulation. Never a good combination.
Jesus here leaves us and the hypocrites, the two faced folks who are trading their souls for momentary power and apparent prestige literally hanging…on…a…question. What question could Jesus ask in your life and mine that would literally cause us to lie and say “we do not know?” When in fact we do know but just don’t want to get caught in our manipulations.
Jesus the Pastor begins with an imperative, to forgive. Jesus the lawyer ends with a question, that hangs in the air…I can see his anger at Satan’s plans but also his love one last time to encourage the Pharisees and us, to undo your selfish plans before they undo you.