Approach God with quiet, gentle movements.

Refuse to be “loud” and eager to do the talking.

Come ready to bow down . . .

and listen . . .

and find purpose,

as one who remembers what it is to be less than holy.

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Jesus replied, “I have a question for you. If you tell me the answer, I’ll tell you what kind of authority I have to do these things. Where did John get his authority to baptize? Did he get it from heaven or from humans?”

They argued among themselves, “If we say ‘from heaven,’ he’ll say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But we can’t say ‘from humans’ because we’re afraid of the crowd, since everyone thinks John was a prophet.” Then they replied, “We don’t know.”

Jesus also said to them, “Neither will I tell you what kind of authority I have to do these things.”

Matthew 21:24-27

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Rather than providing a direct answer, Jesus occasionally responds to a question by posing a question of his own. The chief priests and elders had made an inquiry. Who granted Jesus the authority to disrupt the routine activities within the temple? Their unspoken agenda probes the authority of Jesus to overstep them as the established religious leaders. Jesus turns the tables, figuratively this time, by asking them to first explain the authority of John the Baptist. A debate between the chief priests and elders exposes their desire to hold onto power and influence. They decide to shrug their shoulders rather than commit to an answer that makes themselves look bad.

Politicians routinely avoid responding to questions designed to pin them down. Telling a lie, big or small, attempts to conceal the truth and preserve a favorable impression. Are we sometimes tempted to do the same?

Remember this: Jesus had agreed to answer their question. He values transparency and honesty. Stay receptive. Be authentic.

Brian Abel

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God, help me not to play games with you. I never need to pretend. You can handle my truth. Open me to your questions. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Rise from a kneeling place.

Embrace God’s call to put others first today.

Resist the urge to find a spotlight.

Allow the light of God’s love to shine brightly, even boldly, through you.

Brian Abel

Brian Abel started serving at a church in Beaumont, Texas right out of seminary 25 years ago. He enjoys running, playing tennis, and downhill skiing whenever he gets the opportunity. Brian is grateful to share life with his dad and siblings.

Quiet Contemplation

John Morton

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