Again they came to Jerusalem, and walked across the Court of the Gentiles now quiet and free from the confusion of the morning before, no buying, no selling, and no carrying of loads through it to the city.
They went into the Treasury, where Jesus had taught and cured on the day before; and they found it already full of people who had come together, hoping to listen again to the words of the great Teacher.
But not only were there in the Temple people friendly to Jesus, and eager to hear him; the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the members of the great council, were also there, ready to do all in their power against him.
These men were very angry at Jesus for what he had done on the day before. They pushed their way through the crowds up to Jesus, and said to him, with an air of lordship:
"What right have you to come here and act as a ruler? Who gave you the right to do what you did yesterday?"
"I will ask you a question," answered Jesus promptly, "and if you will answer that, then I will tell you who has given me the right to do what I have done here in the Temple. What do you say about John the Baptist--did he speak the words of God as his messenger? Or did he speak his own words only, without authority or power from God? Answer me that question!"
They were taken aback at this answer of Jesus; and began talking together, while the crowd around looked on.
"What shall we say?" they whispered to each other. "If we say, 'John the Baptist spoke from God,' he will ask, 'Then why did you not believe his words and obey him?' No, let us say, 'He spoke only as a man, without authority or power from God.' But then, if we say that, the people will stone us, for they all believe that John was a true prophet of God."
So after a time these men said to Jesus, "We cannot answer your question. We don't know whether John spoke the words of God or his own words."
Then said Jesus, "No more will I tell you who has given me the power to do these things."
For Jesus well knew that if these men had not believed when John the Baptist said, "Thus saith the Lord," they would not believe him saying, "I do only what my Father tells me to do."