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The chief priests and elders approach Jesus who is teaching in the temple, just after he has cleansed the market place. They are pretty much put-out by his actions and demand to know by what authority he is acting. He doesn't answer directly, asking them, in turn, about John's authority, to which they fudge an answer, and he tells them, because of their dishonesty they can chew sand as opposed to get an answer out of him. But he then asks them about a father and two sons - one who says no to a request and then changes his mind, and the other who says yes but does not do the requested action. Jesus castigates these leaders for not recognizing John as an agent of God, even after others so blatantly did recognize him. Jesus is also saying to these leaders of society, You are repeating history here, as you refused to acknowledge John's authority, so too, you are being stiff-necked about seeing what I am doing.
We do not have to look far in our own lives, society, and culture to see repeated history because of an insistence on trying to keep things the same, the way they have "always" been done. Rigidity to change can, and does, put blinders on us.
Jesus is not doing the things he is doing just for change-sake. Change for changes sake is not at all the direction Jesus is heading. Nor is he directing us to act in this manner. But looking at our surroundings and society and culture and system in which we live, and truly evaluating whether that life-system is creatively enabling the kingdom's presence among us, is what we are supposed to be doing on a regular basis. If the system is stuck, because we have made ourselves comfortable, and is not progressively creating this kingdom, than change must happen to jump start those necessary actions.
If we have become comfortable, Jesus is saying, than perhaps we have stopped looking and evaluating. Comfortable is nice...but that is not the life Jesus is calling us to live.
Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.