23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
Do you think they truly wanted to know. Or was this a hostile question?
Of late, I do not answer hostile, rhetorical questions.
And here, neither does Jesus.
And so how does he deal with them? Sometimes, he refuses to answer. Sometimes, he answers a question with a question, “a unique cultural predisposition” of Jewish people, according to the website Stuff Jewish People Like.
What were these things? Cleansing the temple, for one! Healing and teaching in the temple, because he is neither a scribe, nor a priest.
Jesus counter-traps them. If they do not know whether John was from God, how can they judge if Jesus is?
I am increasingly refusing to engage when it is clear that the intent of the questioner is hostile.