72. Authority Questioned.
Since Jesus had not been appointed through their religion, the high priests and others of the temple wanted to know where he got his authority to teach about spiritual matters. As Jesus had his authority from the same source as John the Baptist and as John had been well accepted by the people, Jesus simply turned the question back to them in regard to John. Thus they were trapped between the common people's experience that John was a true prophet and their refusal to accept him. The situation was the same with Jesus, and they did not accept him either. Therefore they did not answer, because they were afraid of the people. Jesus left them in their dilemma, because those doubting and testing were not about to take a person's word about himself.
The parable of the two children and their father's vineyard was interpreted by Jesus to refer to these Jewish priests and teachers who claimed that they were serving God but refused to follow the way of justice John had taught, while many of the disreputable people who had no pretensions had truly repented and began to follow the spiritual path. The converted "sinners" were in more of a spiritual consciousness than the hypocritical priests.