The Story of Jesus – Truth
As a generality, we do typically do not like confrontation. We either change the subject, run from it, avoid it, stay and deliver it or receive it. Whatever the choice, it is not pleasant or easy to hear. The Truth in the Person of Jesus Christ, who cares about God’s people and the bondage that has been placed upon them by the Pharisees, tells it like it is.
He knows their hearts better than anyone else because He is God. He knows their evil intent for selfish gain through all the man-made rules conjured for the purpose of sustaining power over the Jewish people, God’s people. He calls them frauds…aggressively and openly. He talks directly to them, not about them. Worst of all, Jesus tells them he has given up on them because of the abuse of generations of prophets who tried to tell the truth before He came down from heaven. What is it going to take? They train other leaders to be just like them, so they will get what they have always had…abusive power over God’s people. Yikes, do we do that?
The religious leaders and scholars have become the gatekeepers who have decided who gets in. Do we do that? Read all of Matthew 23 to get the full flavor of Jesus’ displeasure of these gatekeepers. Here is the last paragraph…
Matthew 23, The Message
37-39 “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Murderer of prophets! Killer of the ones who brought you God’s news! How often I’ve ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn’t let me. And now you’re so desolate, nothing but a ghost town. What is there left to say? Only this: I’m out of here soon. The next time you see me you’ll say, ‘Oh, God has blessed him! He’s come, bringing God’s rule!’”
THE DISCIPLES RESPONSE…HOW ‘BOUT THOSE LAKERS?
We have a family joke about changing the subject away from unpleasant confrontation or conversations that might lead to extreme disagreement. I’m not sure who started it, but when we say “how ’bout those Lakers”, it is a cue to change the subject. I am amused by the disciples’ similar response just after Jesus’ compassionate Truth-telling…
Matthew 24, The Message
24 1-2 Jesus then left the Temple. As he walked away, his disciples pointed out how very impressive the Temple architecture was. Jesus said, “You’re not impressed by all this sheer size, are you? The truth of the matter is that there’s not a stone in that building that is not going to end up in a pile of rubble.”
So, how ’bout this temple, Jesus? Isn’t it impressive? But Jesus did not buy in to changing the subject. Jesus is Truth. We may want Him to go easy on us. But He cannot. He knows what is best for us. We should not change the subject, we should concentrate on changing us. We will have His help in the transformation.
Dear Heavenly Father, Wow, You came to earth and told the leaders directly what is not of You and what is not best for Your people! Oh Father, keep us from causing any kind of harm to those who want to know You. We do not want to be the gatekeepers who hinder those who seek You. Help us to welcome with all with open hearts and arms of love! Help us to see them from a distance like the father of the prodigal son and open the gate and then run to meet them where they are! Yes, point out any wicked way in us, cleanse us, then give us Your power to change and mature to be all You intended for us to be and do.
In Jesus Name, Amen