There is a wonderful story of Jesus and the religious authorities that occurs in all four gospels. It takes place during his final ministry in Jerusalem. The authorities demanded that Jesus tell them by what authority he was doing what he did. Jesus answered by asking them whether John the Baptist’s authority to baptize came from heaven or from men. Either option would get them in trouble so they claimed they didn’t know. Jesus responded, “Since you won’t answer my question, neither will I answer yours” (Matt. 21:27).
What stands out to me is the way Jesus confronted his opposition. He did not let them diminish him by playing the old social level card (they being superior by virtue of their role in society). After all, he was just a commoner from a little village further north. When it came to intellectual acumen he won the debate (if we may call it that) by putting them in a position where they couldn’t answer. There was no way out.
How does this technique apply to us? Some might think that the believer should adopt the meek and mild approach and accept the world’s disdain. That certainly isn’t what Jesus did. He stood up to the authorities and discussed the issue with them as an equal. He outwitted them at their own game. But isn’t that pretty self-centered? Not if Jesus did it, and he did. Of course, so much depends on the way “conflict” is carried out. We might try to play the role and find ourselves acting in a purely secular way. But Jesus showed us that it was possible to confront where necessary and do it in a Christian way.
I believe it important to remember that having accepted Christ as savior, we are actually . . . children of God. Don’t let that slip off your tongue as if it had little relevance. We are the sons and daughters of a God who created out of nothing all that is, who spoke and the universe came into existence. That’s who we are! Stand tall, not boasting but fully aware of who we are in him. With this attitude let’s face the moment calmly, knowing that God will provide us the resources necessary for the occasion. Jesus wants winners not wall flowers