Posts Tagged ‘picking and choosing what to believe’

Luke 9:43-45 — Have you ever had someone tell you something that is boldly and utterly true, but you refused to believe it. You refuse to believe it until it’s too late or that what was said actually came true. There was a time in my past that I refused to believe that someone I used to be married to was simply manipulating me to get what they wanted. There were people that I cut out of my life just to make this person happy. Everyone saw it. People would tell me the truth about it but I refused to listen. Many of us have gone through this in their lives. There is someone that we are so in love with that we refuse to see how they manipulate us into getting what they want and that they are only in it for “what’s in it for me.” We refuse to see that they beat us down emotionally. We refuse to see that we are different people when we are with them just to make them happy. We refuse to see that we are like a cat on a hot tin roof in our lives just because we are trying to please someone else. People corner us and tell us the truth about these toxic type of relationships but we refuse to believe the truth that is being told to us.

I think the disciples were kind of like us in this passage. They had this idea of what the Messiah was supposed to be. Thus, what Jesus was telling them; they did not want to believe it. I am not comparing Jesus to bad relationships as I mention above but I do mention the illustration to prove a point. Sometimes what we have in our mind is not the truth and when people show us the truth we refuse to believe it. To the Jews of the first century, the Messiah had been built into this conquering mighty warrior that would come and finally throw off the shackles of occupation and restore Israel to its former military and political glory not seen since the days of Solomon and David. The people of Israel had suffered through be conquered by the dynasty of the day for hundreds and hundreds of years. First, the Assyrians take the northern kingdom. The Babylonians take the southern kingdom. The Persians then conquer the Babylonians. The Greeks under Alexander the Great conquer everyone. Then come the Romans. The Jews had so many nation’s footprints on their backs they needed a scorecard to keep up with which was which. They were tired of occupation. Thus, they took the Messiah of Scripture and twisted it into the truth that they wanted. They wanted a real conquering hero that would lift the chains of oppression. They wanted a kick-ass Messiah that would drive the Romans out and re-establish David’s kingdom. Jesus tells them to read Scripture. He tells them that He, the Messiah, the Son of Man (as foretold by Daniel), must be betrayed, suffer and die.

This was the truth of Scripture but they refused to believe it. It did not jibe with the truth that they had fashioned in their head. They wanted satisfaction now in this life. They wanted revenge. It was the Israelite mentality that seethed below the surface. The truth of the Messiah from Scripture was something different. Jesus was being contradictory to popular belief but He was not being contradictory to Scripture. All the prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament are of a suffering servant who would give His life for the sins of His people. Jesus was to be slain as a sacrifice for our sin. He was not to be a military leader to drive the Romans out to meet the current needs of the Israelites. He came to save the entire world from itself. He came to save souls for eternity. He came to reconcile us to God. But that was not what the disciples knew from the myths that their society had created in their heads about the Messiah. They did not understand the truth that Jesus was telling them. According to Don Schwager, the disciples were “like a person who might receive a bad verdict from the doctor and then refuse to ask further questions, they, too, didn’t want to know any more. How often do we reject what we do not wish to see?”

How often do we hear God’s Word and refuse to believe it? How often do we read God’s Word and rationalize away why it does not apply to us? How often do we pick and choose what we will believe from the Bible and fashion our own belief system that fits with what we want? How often do we bastardize God’s Word into saying what we want it to say? How often do we ascribe something to the Bible that’s not even in there? We are like me in past relationships that I refused to see the reality of even when it was brought up to my face. I fashioned the truth to justify my situation. I refused to see. I was blinded by my own desires. I was blinded by my desire to be in a relationship so much so that I refused to see the truth that I knew was real. As Christ followers, we need to understand and obey all Scripture. It is timeless truth. It will always be true. The things we may fashion as beliefs may change but God’s Word is unchanging. Sometimes, it cuts like a knife through us. Sometimes, God speaks the truth to us through the tough comments of friends. In these sometimes, we must see and understand. We must accept the truth. We must comply with the truth of God’s Word. Sometimes, we must hear the verdict and accept the changes that we must make in our attitudes, lifestyle, and previously held stubbornly self-centered beliefs. Like the battered woman who has the courage to break free from an abusive husband because she finally sees the truth of the situation, we too must accept the truth of God’s Word and not fashion it into what we want it to be.

Father, help us to be better students of your Word. Help us to see it as all of it applying to us not just the easy and good parts. Help us to see your truth and change our attitudes and behaviors to comply with your will. Help us not to fashion you and your Word into what we want it to be. Help us not to make you into what we want you to be. Help us remember that we are here to give you glory and not the other way around. Help us to see our relationship with you in the right perspective. Help us to seek out your truth and not our own. Amen.