Several years ago an Australian native told us the story of how he encountered some tourists on the side of the road. They were looking at a koala bear that had been injured. “Don’t touch it,” he warned. But the tourists wanted to help.
“Don’t touch it,” he warned again. But the poor bear was so cute.
“Don’t touch it,” he said. What harm could a little koala do? So the tourists picked up the bear, and the koala slashed at one of them with his claws. Leaving a stunned and bleeding tourist behind, the Aussie said, “I told you not to touch it” as he drove away.
I am sure almost every one of us has been in the situation where no one will listen to what we are saying because they just can’t believe it, or they choose not to believe it. In this passage Jesus is in one of his final confrontations with the religious leaders of his society. What do they want to know of him? Why is Jesus reluctant to answer? What answer does Jesus give? How do the priests respond?
The council of elders look as if they genuinely want to gather information. They appear to truly want to know if Jesus is the Christ, the anointed one of God. But we can see by the end that they didn’t really want to know.
This passage seems to sum up the whole of Jesus’ encounters with the religious leaders of his time. They liked to ask questions, probing and interrogating everyone, but they would never allow themselves to be asked any questions.
And it didn’t matter if Jesus did answer the questions. They weren’t actually listening for an answer. It would appear that they had already made up their mind about things and were just looking for an excuse to rid themselves of Jesus.
Just as in the previous passages we have examined this week, these leaders were presented with the truth of God, the truth and reality of Jesus. But they chose to ignore what was told them. They chose to stick to the narrow vision they had and reject a wider, more wonderful view of God and His mercy. Their view of the cross, their view of God, was not a straight view.
I believe God is constantly presenting us with new insights and revelations about Him, His love, and His kingdom. Will we open our minds to hear the answers He has for us, or will we refuse to listen to God so that our comfortable faith cannot be changed in any way?
DAILY CHALLENGE: What can you do to be certain you listen when God speaks to you?