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Do not fear what truth could cost


By Stephen A. Curry

Luke 20:1-8 tells us that one day Jesus was preaching in the temple of Jerusalem. Some of the chief priests and their scribes came up to Jesus and challenged him. They asked Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who is it who gave you this authority?” The way we normally hear this challenge these days is: “Who said you could do this?”

Jesus could have answered directly. After all, he had clearly stated several times that He was sent by God. Instead, Jesus turned the question back on them. “Let me ask you this: Did the authority of John the Baptist come from heaven or was it from human origin?”

The priests and scribes turned to each other and said, “If we say John’s authority came from heaven, Jesus will ask why we didn’t believe him. But this crowd thinks John was a prophet. If we say his authority was from human origin, they’ll kill us.”

Note what the priests and scribes are considering in their response: They are focused on the consequences of their answer. Were they going to be perceived as hypocrites, rejecting the teachings of a man they acknowledge had the authority of heaven? Or were they going to rile the crowd and go with their unpopular opinion that John was just a hack? The question they didn’t consider was which answer was in fact, true?

God is the author of all truth. When we discover truth, we discover something about God. The more we know about God, the closer we can live out the life He intended for us to live a life of joy, a life of fulfillment, a life of love.

The final answer the priests and scribes gave to Jesus is “We don’t know.” And a sincere “I don’t know” would have been a perfectly acceptable answer. We are limited and when, in all humility, we confess our shortcomings, the Christ who came to live as one of us accepts our faults and failures and offers us love and forgiveness. But these officials were not sincere. They didn’t know and they didn’t want to know. God’s truth might not fit their agenda. God’s truth might cost them their arrogance, bruised their egos, and, in their minds, knocked them off their perceived pedestals their pride had built for them among the crowd.

We are prideful creatures. We fall into the same trap as the priests and scribes. We seek answers more for our own reasons, to protect our own perceived interest, rather than look for God’s truth. But God wants us to embrace the truth so that we can enjoy all the blessings our Father has in store, ready to pour out upon the children He loves.

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