23 When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?” 24 Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 “The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?” And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ 26 “But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the people; for they all regard John as a prophet.” 27 And answering Jesus, they said, “We do not know.” He also said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
Jesus takes this questioning by the Pharisees as an opportunity to reveal their sinfulness. It is the shame of their own sinfulness that prevents them from answering. Irnoically, the true answer to Jesus’ riddle is also the same answer to the question they asked Him. His authority and John’s authority were from God. Can you see how their fear ruled them and therefore prevented them from seeing the truth? They were afraid of the ramifications of answering truthfully so they lied to Jesus and therefore missed the big reveal which is Jesus’ authority from God the Father.
How often do we hide in fear instead of stand boldly in the truth? The shame of our sinfulness cripples us. Yet Jesus calls us to repentance. He wants us to recognize our sinfulness, own up to our mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and work to not repeat them. This is the cure for sin! This is how Jesus heals us. He died on the cross to give us the freedom to be honest with ourselves, with others, and most importantly with God. In John 8, Jesus explains this Kingdom principle:
31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free ‘?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
For too long we have subscribed to the idea that Jesus’ death on the cross just gave us entry into heaven when we die. But His death gave us so much more than that. He gave us freedom today! We no longer have to be afraid of what others will think of our sinfulness. We no longer have to be slaves to it nor its ramifications. We are free! Don’t you want to live free?