Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, "By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?"
But Jesus answered and said to them, "I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John- where was it from? From heaven or from men?"
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' He will say to us, 'Why then did you not believe him?' But if we say, 'From men,' we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet." So they answered Jesus and said, "We do not know."
And He said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
The chief priests and the elders of the people want Jesus to stop being Jesus: He's messing with their plans. They like how things are going: they have power, money, and people listen to them. But they weren't doing God's Word. Jesus could care less if they had lots of power over others, He just wanted to preach God's Word.
But Jesus is very humble. When the priests and elders asked Him what authority He was under, He had every right to jump up on a table and yell to them, "God gave Me this right because I'm His Son and He loves Me, and He gave Me this authority to save all you people!" But He doesn't say or do that. What He does it turn the tables on them.
These people were considering the political ramifications of either choice, so they took the middle ground: I don't know. You can't go wrong with 'I don't know', right? Unless, of course, you're lying to Jesus. Then you can go wrong.
This doesn't mean not to talk about God, and it doesn't mean not to praise Him. What it does mean is not to be prideful. We need to be humble when talking about God to others, like Jesus was.
In His Service,
Response Question: Was there a reason Jesus picked this question to ask?