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Mark 180 - Don't Know

They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)

So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

Mark 11:31-33

I have done this more times than I’m willing to admit. I’m certain you’ve done the same.

This is where we have an internal argument, going back and forth over and over the same information. If I do this, then that will happen. But, if I do that, then that will happen. We stay on the same ground, going back and forth until we wear out the grass and put a rut into the ground.

We do the same thing when we’ve lost something. We’ll look in all the usual places, and then start to move out to the less likely locations. But then we return to the usual places, just to make sure we didn’t miss it. And then we look again, and again, and again. Going over the same ground, looking in the same places, over and over.

I once was on a flight to Syracuse, NY. After takeoff, I went to get my laptop to do some work. When I retrieved my briefcase, my laptop was missing. I looked and looked in that overhead bin, but no laptop. I sat down, thought about it, stood up and looked again in my briefcase and in that overhead bin.

It’s not like the laptop could have gotten up and walked away. Nor was it possible for someone to take my laptop without my noticing it. Yet I returned to that overhead bin over and over. I “knew” the truth. I knew the answer. But I didn’t want to admit it.

To let you in on an embarrassing secret: I had left my laptop in the airline lounge at the airport. One day, when we’ve got more time and I’m more mature, I’ll tell you the complete story.

That’s where we find these guys. They discuss the question over and over. They go back and forth, repeatedly going through the same information and options over and over. They finely wear themselves out, coming to the undeniable conclusion that there are only two options. And all the options are not attractive. Each option has its own significant downside.

If they admit that John was from God, then they presume Jesus will ask why they didn’t listen to him. If they conclude that John was just another guy, then they presume that the crowds will turn on them.

Notice anything about the two options? They both contain the word presume. They assume that they know all the possibilities. They’ve got the world so figured out, so hard-wired, that there is nothing beyond their powers of deduction.

So, they come to the conclusion that they can’t figure it out. This was a difficult thing for them to admit. It’s one thing if one person can’t figure it out, but its another thing when a group of the brightest of their generation can’t noodle it out.

But, then again, trying to get a group of people to agree on something is more difficult. And this wasn’t just a group, this was a group made up of three groups; Chief Priests, teachers of the law and elders. Each group had their own assumptions. Teir own ax to grind. Their own agendas.

They won’t make a decision. They won’t step out. They try to walk the middle ground of not offending anyone. They don’t want to appear to choose sides. And because of their taking the middle ground, Jesus refuses to answer their question.

And that’s where some of us find ourselves today with Jesus. We won’t decide either way. We don’t want to upset anyone, so we play the middle of the field. Remind you of anyone?

I (Jesus) know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Revelation 3:15,16

This may sound hard and harsh for the resurrected Jesus to say. And not just to say this to people on the street, but to say to people within the church. This is not aimed at society in general, but at people within the body of Christ.

One question is if this applies to non-believers that are in the church? Only believers in the church? Or both?

No matter where you come down on this question, the truth still remains that we’re not willing to commit to Jesus. We avoid answering his questions to us. Yes, he has the right to withhold information and answers from us, but we don’t.

Don’t come to the end and not be certain. This might be something we don’t want to hear, but true none-the-less.


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