We’ve all seen the movies about boxers and the scenes in the ring when one boxer takes the opponent’s best punch and then scornfully taunts, “Is that the best you got?”
The resulting outcome for the not-hard-enough puncher is never good.
I thought of this movie dialogue moment while reading this morning from Matthew 20:12-17. The passage was part of the daily segment from the One-Year Bible that I read online.
In this passage, Jesus enters the Jerusalem temple immediately after His triumphal entry. He is disgusted at the exploitative rip-offs by moneychangers and sacrificial animal salesmen and He throws them out of the temple after knocking over their tables.
Of course, the religious leaders had to have been conspiring with the crooks in order for them to be doing business in the temple.
So when by throwing the crooks out, Jesus was also indicting the leaders who had sanctioned the rip-offs.
Jesus followed up the temple cleansing by healing a bunch of people.
You’d think that the religious bigshots would have jumped all over Jesus for a lack of self-control or a lack of fair, judicial hearings or for whatever.
Here’s the best they could come up with: they complained that kids in the temple were praising Jesus.
That sure is a wimpy punch by ones who desparately wanted to knock out Jesus.
With the enormity of what was happening in those days and what was about to happen, the powerful Sanhedrin was griping about kids praising Jesus as He healed people?
Jesus could have rightly asked, “Is that the best you got?”
This pathetic display of intellectual impotence continued the three-year pattern of repeated failures to paint Jesus into logical and spiritual corners.
And it affirmed the fact that the hatred of religious leaders toward Jesus was not why Jesus ended up on the cross as our atoning sacrifice.
Jesus put Himself there by choice.
Their hatred was only a tool which factored into how Jesus went to the cross, not why.
Let’s learn from Jesus’ experience in Matthew 20:12-17. When people air sometimes-wimpy gripes about our faithfulness, let’s calmly reply that we’re simply doing what we can to bring honor to God who deserves all the praise we can give Him and more.
Like the religious leaders in Jesus’ day, those complaining to us might not like it, but they will hear the truth that Christians are created to give God “the best they got.”
As always, I love you