When I learned I was on the Spectrum, I had my explanation for why I’m not quick on my feet. It also explained why I am physically awkward on my feet. If there’s something to stumble over, bump into, or trip over, one of my limbs will find it. Anyway, my brain doesn’t operate at the speed of a dime. But in its defense, with sufficient processing time, it can come up with a good answer that sometimes even surprises me.
Quickness on one’s feet is a nice attribute to possess. It’s a good quality to have for those whose jobs constantly put them in emergency situations where they do what needs to be done with little or no time to think. I can only wonder what it is like to be able to give a quick and accurate response to a question at the drop of a hat. Or be able to mouth off a “gotcha” answer silencing the asker.
Most folks can identify with being asked directions by a passer-by. I was recently put on the spot when a family driving by asked for directions. The location they were seeking was a place I knew like the back of my head. But they wouldn’t have known it by my hem-hawing. They patiently waited until my brain came up with the right answer. If I had given them an answer off the top of my head, odds would have been good they’d have to ask another stranger.
One of the many things I admire about my Lord and Savior is how He interacted with people when He walked upon this earth. Since social interaction is difficult at best living on the Spectrum, I appreciate how Jesus was a master of it. He interacted with His disciples who sought His teaching, the multitudes who sought Him for miracles, the outcasts who sought His attention, and His enemies who sought to silence Him.
Jesus got lots of questions. Some genuinely wanted His answer such as Nicodemus who grilled him into the night. Then, there were those who were deceptive. They were aiming to use the Lord’s own words against Him.
Such as in Luke 20:1-8 where we find Jesus teaching in the temple when a gang of chief priests, scribes, and elders came to Him posing a question: “Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?”
Jesus could have responded with a long answer. He could have gotten into a debate with the group. But instead, he answered with a question: “I will also ask you one thing, and answer me: The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?”
The scribes, priests, and elders weren’t expecting to be put on a spot by a question themselves. They got together and reasoned it among themselves before answering. I picture them in a huddle like they do on a football field. They thought if they said John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, Jesus’s comeback answer might be, “Why then believed ye him not?” If they said John’s authority came from men, the people would stone them for the crowd believed that John was truly a prophet of God.
So they came up with an answer that is still popular to this day. I often use this answer myself. It is a good one to use when it is a truthful answer. It was basically: “I don’t know”. That answer fell right into Jesus’s hands. In other words, the group walked right into that one. The Lord, quick on his feet, just stated: “Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.”
I never cease to be amazed by Jesus’s answer in this story. In this round, Jesus had the last word. He gave them an answer they couldn’t use against Him. This was just one of a number of times when Jesus put his enemies to shame by His words alone.
It is tempting when confronted about one’s religious beliefs to respond in anger. But doing so may just give the confronter exactly what they want. It is better to give no response than to get in the mud with someone. One doesn’t walk away from a mud fight without getting muddied up him or herself.
Jesus’s answer was short and to the point. Sometimes a few words are best. How does one know what to say on any given day? Pray daily for the words from the Master of right answers.