Albert Mohler on Preaching

“Few people grasp the preacher’s challenge. Where else in life does a person have to stand weekly before a mixed audience and speak to them engagingly on the mightiest topics known to humankind: God, life, death, sin, grace, love, hatred, hope, despair and the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Who is even close to being adequate for this challenge?”

(Albert Mohler, The 2013 Preaching Survey of the Year’s Best Books for Preachers)

Dealing with Stupid Questions

23 And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things. (Matthew 21:23-27)

Jesus hadn’t exactly blended into the background since arriving in Jerusalem. After entering the city to a kingly welcome, he proceeded to chase the money-changers and vendors out of the temple before taking up a spot to teach and heal the people who came to him. Not surprisingly, the religious leaders of the day weren’t thrilled by this series of events, and in this passage they come to Jesus to question him yet again.

I’ve never believed in the old maxim that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Having spent most of my life in a classroom, either as a student or a teacher, I can positively state that there are indeed stupid questions. I’ve also found that the stupid questions are usually the ones that are not thought through all the way before being asked or the ones asked from ulterior motives. The chief priests and elders provide further proof of that here.

By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority? If this is an honest question (and I don’t think it is), then we seriously need to question the intelligence of the Jewish leaders. In John 10, Jesus is in Jerusalem, walking around the temple, when the following exchange takes place: Continue reading Dealing with Stupid Questions