Mark 11:28–30 (ESV)
28 and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” 29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.”
Jesus has a way of standing our skepticism on its head. These Pharisees are questioning Jesus’ authority, but little do they know one question from Jesus will leave them stuck. John the Baptist was the prophet like Elijah who was to come and prepare the way for the messiah. When he came he announced that Jesus was this Messiah, who was, in fact, the Son of God. If they agree and say that John’s baptism is from heaven, then they would be trapped into accepting the authority of Jesus is also from heaven. So they decide not to answer, and Jesus does the same. But his point was made and it is only the hardness of their hearts that prevents them from seeing Jesus’ authority. You see sometimes skepticism masquerades when we say things like”I simply cannot believe.” But because our hearts are hard, the reality is we simply will not believe. There is a difference between the struggle of faith that questions, and the willful disbelief that closes one’s eyes to the truth. Where are you with respect to Jesus, and his authority?
Father, only you can give life from the dead, and only you can give faith where there is none. For all those who question of Jesus, may their questions come from attitudes of faith seeking understanding, and not willful unbelief. Open the eyes of those who sit in darkness, and allow any who struggle to cry “we believe, help our unbelief.” For the sake of your Son, Amen.