Today's verses are Mark 11:29,30: "Jesus said to them, 'I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.'" The religious officials in Jerusalem had seen Jesus perform miracles in the temple (and undoubtedly heard about the many others he had performed). They had heard his teachings. They saw him cleanse the temple of the money changers. They had asked him, "By what authority do you do all these things?"
Today's verses are Jesus' answer. He said he'd answer their question if they would first answer one from him. He asked if John's ministry was from heaven or from man? Was it humanly initiated and performed, or had John been given a divine command from God to do what he did?
As we will see tomorrow, Jesus was placing his opponents in a difficult, precarious position. John, though now dead, had touched many people's lives. Many had repented from their sins and been given new life because of John. If the religious officials said his ministry was from God, they would look foolish, for they never once authenticated his ministry. If they said it did not have divine origins, the masses would be terribly angry because John was exceedingly popular.
The bottom line was the religious officials were very insincere. They simply wanted to trap Jesus. They wanted him to say that his authority came from God so they could accuse him of being a false prophet. They wanted him dead because he was a threat to their positions of power.
Jesus refused to argue with these insincere people. His question to their question is a good example for us when confronted with arguments from people with wrong motives. Moreover, he is giving us an example of how silly it is to argue with people who are trying to put down our faith. It's useless. It does no good. Jesus' advice: "Avoid them. Move on."
Insincere, spiritual skeptics who love to argue about faith are trying to tear us down to make themselves look good. They are trying to prove their spiritual skepticism is acceptable by trying to make us look foolish.
If you must say anything to them, tell them your life transformation in Christ. Tell them your story. Tell them how you went from darkness into light. Tell them how you once were blind but now you see. Tell them you once were lost but now you've been found.
Insincere people can argue different perspectives about faith all day long with you. What they can't argue is your own personal story. They cannot argue about your life change. They can't argue your personal experience with the Lord. If their hearts are to be changed, it will happen most likely by your story, not your cleverly-rooted arguments.
It's a lesson I've learned through the years. Don't try to argue with an insincere person. It's useless. Do tell them your story of spiritual life transformation.
Your story is what will be most convincing to them. It can't be argued.
It's the best way to deal with spiritually skeptical, insincere people.