WHO ARE THE ENEMIES OF CHRIST TODAY?
27 They came to Jerusalem again. While he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him 28 and said, “What right do you have to be doing these things? Who gave you this right to do them?” 29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you what right I have to do these things. 30 Did the baptism of John come from the sky, or was it from men? Answer me.” 31 They argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From the sky,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But should we say, ‘From men’?”– they were afraid of the crowd, because everyone regarded John as really a prophet. 33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you what right I have to be doing these things.”
I have met a few real atheists. But mostly today I encounter those who call themselves agnostics, and attack and criticise the church of Jesus Christ from behind that label.
The religious elite did not brand themselves as agnostics, but Jesus’ question about John the Baptist forced them to admit that they did not know whether John was from God or not. They were agnostics about this whole kingdom of God thing that John preached. And they were defiant about that agnosticism. Jesus had denounced them, and overthrown the tables in the temple, suggesting that the managers of the temple had allowed things to go horribly wrong. They were indignant.
Today’s society elite are not religious at all. But you will recognise them as soon as you dare bring the kingdom of God into the public sphere. You can ask them if they think God exists, and they will say they don’t know. But just try to bring God up someplace other than church, and you will see their defiance.
LORD, when the defiant agnostics confront us, give us words to say to silence them.