In the last blog we looked at a moment from Jesus’ ministry when some local leaders tried to trick him. Today I want to focus on what happened directly after that moment, because I think it reminds us of something that we maybe can forget a little these days. But first let’s revisit what took place, here’s the full story from Luke 20.
Luke 20:20-25 Watching for their opportunity, the leaders sent spies pretending to be honest men. They tried to get Jesus to say something that could be reported to the Roman governor so he would arrest Jesus. 21 “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you speak and teach what is right and are not influenced by what others think. You teach the way of God truthfully.22 Now tell us—is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 23 He saw through their trickery and said, 24 “Show me a Roman coin. Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. 25 “Well then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”
On Tuesday we talked about temptation, traps, trickery, and the importance of being watchful for these things. We also looked at how wisdom can allow you to overcome the traps and the tricks of the enemy. I want to take that discussion a little further today because I’m really inspired and moved by what we see written in the very next verse. Take a look at this.
Luke 20:26 So they failed to trap him by what he said in front of the people. Instead, they were amazed by his answer, and they became silent.
These spies were sent there with a job to do, to get Jesus to say something they could use against him. But notice how they were left speechless with no further things to say. I was really meditating on this and something occurred to me. Once people recognize the absoluteness of the truth they always have a reaction to it. For these spies, they were amazed and silenced. The truth coming from the mouth of a wise man defeated them.
We live in an age when the definition of truth is trying to be changed. Truth is relevant now. My truth and your truth may not line up, and I’m supposed to be okay with it and that’s where you fall into the world’s new religion of tolerance. But truth is an absolute. There is only one. The sky can’t be blue to me and green to you and purple to someone else and we all be correct. It is but one color (except during a beautiful sunset or something, but I trust you get what I’m saying here).
John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
I love how Jesus speaks. He doesn’t identify himself as someone who SPEAKS the truth, he identifies himself AS the truth. I think it’s important for us to remember that, because we’ve found ourselves as part of a society that doesn’t put nearly as much importance on absolute truth as it used to. Half truths, little white lies, social lies, work lies, church lies, we’ve inadvertently adopted a culture of untruth and sometimes we don’t even realize it. It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with someone, it’s that I really wish I could but unfortunately my cousin’s in town that weekend so I’m busy. It’s not that I forgot to do the assignment at work, it’s that I got caught up on a conference call and didn’t get around to it yet. It’s not that I disagree with your lifestyle because the Bible tells me it’s self-destructive and against God’s natural design, it’s that you should just do what makes you happy and I just can’t quite go along with it because it’ll look bad with my church friends if I do. We tell half-truths to keep ourselves out of trouble and out of conflict while not realizing that it’s also keeping us out of full alignment with our God.
We live in a world that’s suddenly unfamiliar with absolute truth spoken absolutely. Sin is bad. You are hurting yourself and living against the loving creator who made you. He wants you to repent and turn from your ways not because He wants to control you, but because He loves you and He knows what’s best for you and how happy and fulfilled you’ll be once you accept your inheritance as His son or daughter.
Absolute truth demands a reaction. It cannot be ignored. Jesus knew this, and that’s why this moment from Luke really speaks loudly. In the long run, no trick or scheme can stand up against absolute truth. It either has to cease or go away, or persist long enough to be exposed. People don’t always respond well to the absolute truth of Jesus and that’s okay, because at least they always respond. Jesus, because as he said himself so eloquently, is truth, and thus Jesus always demands a response. As believers, we have to commit to a return to absolute truth, to find a way to lovingly yet firmly stand for who we are and what we believe in Christ. That truth is free salvation, and a love so pure that it refuses to let people remain lost in the darkness.
Ephesians 4:14-15 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
Much like joy, truth has become somewhat of a lost art in modern society. Its rarity makes it valuable, however. In a society of excuses and little white lies, start speaking absolute truth and watch the people around you take notice. Right now, absolute truth echoes from the walls and ceilings and catches people off guard and breaks through the pretenses we all work so hard to maintain. When married with the love we’re commanded to speak truth in, it is as powerful as any other weapon at work in the world today.
Well, that’s it for another week on the Bible blog. I love all of you and I hope you’re heading into a weekend with some relaxation and fun planned. It’s easy to get so busy living life that we don’t take time to appreciate life, which is a real shame.
If you have a prayer request or just need someone to talk to, my email is always available to you at firstname.lastname@example.org