I Could Answer, But…

October 1st, 2008 • Category: Gospel of Luke
by Tyler Connoley

Today’s Scripture: Luke 22:66-71 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Tyler Connoley):

As we continue in this long night of trials, Jesus first faces a theological trial before the assembly of elders. Although these were the leaders of the religious community in Jerusalem, I believe Jesus could have argued circles around them. When he was twelve, the teachers in the temple (some of whom may have now been at this trial) “were amazed at his understanding and his answers” (Luke 2:47). Twenty-one years later, there was no theological question he couldn’t answer. Beginning with Genesis, he could have explained to them all the Scriptures that showed that he was the Messiah.

How many times have we been in a similar situation? We haven’t been arguing for our lives, but we’ve certainly been in places where people wanted to argue about theology, and we believed we had the right answers. As a gay Christian, there have been many times when I’ve been “on trial” for my belief that God loves me and values my same-sex relationship. I’ve studied the Scriptures at length, and am more than ready to make an account for my faith (1 Peter 3:15). There are probably theological land mines in your own life that you’ve learned to debate yourself around. But is that always the best thing to do?

Jesus recognized a spirit of hardness in his accusers. They were baiting him for an argument, but he responded, “If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I question you, you will not answer.” They tried again, but he refused to engage them. He knew their minds were made up, and even though he had all the right answers, they would never listen to them. So, he chose not to argue.

I’m not saying this is always the correct path. Sometimes we can sense that someone’s heart is soft enough to hear what we have to say, or they ask us a question in a way that is truly seeking to understand our point of view. Sometimes, as with Jesus’ earlier interactions with the Pharisees, we know that a sharp word will break through a barrier. But there are many times when we should keep our mouths shut. Like Jesus, we must say, “If I tell you, you will not believe,” and leave it at that. Unfortunately, this can be true even if the stakes are high, as they were for Jesus that night. Even in the face of death, Jesus knew when to hold his tongue.

Thought for the day: Have you been baited into theological arguments with people who weren’t prepared to listen to you? Next time, remember Jesus before the council of elders, and choose not to argue.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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