Those now daily press conferences with the coronavirus task force made me think of it. For having once been a journalist myself (in a lifetime long, long ago), I understand the importance of asking even uncomfortable questions, though I’m not sure freedom of the press has ever justified being unduly rude or playing “political gotcha” with others.
And to be fair, it’s not as easy as it looks. While in college when interviewing a presidential candidate at the time, George McGovern, for instance, the only hard-hitting question I could come up with on the spot was, “Where’s Eleanor today?” Not exactly “speaking truth to power,” I know.
Still, the interchange which happened on Tuesday of Holy Week between Jesus and some of His harsher critics was not just direct, but downright adversarial. For faced with the rather incredulous claims and actions of Christ, His opponents were clearly out to find something—anything—to get on Him. To use a popular metaphor, they were throwing spaghetti all over the walls to see what might stick.
To be sure, the Sadducees who ran the Temple were already upset with Him for what had happened just the day before when Jesus had driven out the moneychangers and the merchants. But when He came back to those same courts on the following morning, this time it was the Pharisees who started the line of questioning.
“By what authority are you doing these things?” they wanted to know (for clearly it seemed to be a stronger one than their own.)
“Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” they queried (knowing full well that almost any answer Jesus might give could incriminate Him with someone.)
“Teacher,” the Sadducees then chimed back in, “if a man dies without having any children and his widow marries his brother– and then it happens again six more times–then whose wife will she be at the Resurrection?” (An interesting question indeed, since the Sadducees didn’t even believe in the idea of resurrection.)
But Jesus quite deftly answered them all before posing a question of His own to those around Him: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?”
And it strikes me that Jesus might ask the same question of us whenever we may try to play word games with Him as well. For in the end, it’s not about theological acumen or intellectual acrobatics– it’s about what each of us decides to believe about this Jesus.
Holy Week brings us smack dab in front of that Man from Galilee who claimed that He was sent from the Father above. And today is a time for putting aside our personal conflicts and honestly dealing with the truth He presented to us. For Jesus, in effect, spoke power to truth, that is, He demonstrated in both His words and His deeds unquestionably the reality of who He was.
And not even the snarkiest journalist of the day could find a single way to prove Him otherwise.