In college I served as a judge for a multi-school debate competition. I was amazed at what I observed, and I wished for a moment I could have been part of a debate team. Just ask my husband, I can argue, ahem, debate, with the best of them.
Sometimes when my faith is openly challenged, questioned, or misunderstood, it’s easy for me to get defensive and go into “debate-mode.” It’s not about defending a set of religious ideas. It’s about defending the one who gave everything for me. It’s hard for me to know when to defend and when to let go.
In my daily Bible reading, I came across a passage of Scripture where Jesus himself was publicly placed in this situation. In one setting, four groups of people, one after another, openly challenged him. What I noticed was that he didn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to his responses. Instead, he answered each encounter differently. I wanted to know why.
Situation 1: What Authority Do You Have?
(Matthew 21:23-27, Mark 11:27-33, Luke 20:1-8)
Situation 2: Should We Pay Taxes or Not?
(Matthew 22:15-22, Mark 12:18-27, Luke 20:30-38)
Situation 3: In Heaven, to Whom Will We Be Married?
(Matthew 22:23-33, Mark 12:18-27)
Situation 4: What is the Greatest Commandment?
(Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34)
Situation 5: Jesus on Trial
(Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:53-62, Matthew 27:11-14, Mark 15:1-5, Luke 23:1-3, John 18:28-38)