But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” (Matthew 21:26 ESV)
From the moment he arrived in Jerusalem Jesus was challenged by the uppity Pharisees and scribes. During his triumphant entree, while he performed miracles, and even while he tried to teach his followers—the religious leaders followed him, nagging him at every turn.
During one such encounter Jesus turned the attention around on them. They asked him a question that they assumed would stump him, and in turn he asked them a question they were too cowardly to answer. If you, like me, have ever found yourself afraid to fess up and acknowledge your own shortcomings you may be a little like those guys.
Whether it was simple fear of men, an obstinate refusal to acknowledge Jesus authority, or some combination of the two, the Pharisees and scribes dodged Jesus’ pointed question. We too do this all the time. The truth is that God often speaks directly into our discomfort to bring us into correction.
The places in our soul we’re most willing to avoid are generally the places where Jesus most wants to engage us. When I feel the most insecure he points me to a place where I can rediscover my strength in him. When I feel haughty he usually points out my deep need for his ability. But to get there I must acknowledge where, how, and when he calling out to me. I must answer him.