DayBreaks for 1/17/17 – The Body of Truth is Bleeding
We like to think of the stories of Jesus when he welcomed the little children, where he forgave the woman taken in adultery, where he speaks of the lilies of the field and birds of the air while reminding us that we don’t need to worry, for he is on our side. Those are not only good stories, but they are true and reveal to us a lot about the nature of God that was fully contained in Jesus. But those are not the only stories of Jesus in the Scripture. And some of the other stories are less comforting and far more disturbing.
The cleansing of the temple (John 2:13-22) is an excellent case in point. We don’t see “Jesus, meek and mild” in that story. We see an enraged Savior. He’s not acted impulsively – he took the time to “fashion” a whip – before tearing through the tables and corridors of the temple, tossing around the tables and undoubtedly the “earnings” of those who were selling things in the temple of God for exorbitant prices.
We don’t like to contemplate that image of Jesus, do we? How many people have you ever known who said that the cleansing of the temple is their favorite Bible story? I know of no one who loves that story for its own sake.
Jesus was a passionate man, and is a passionate God. He loves goodness – and is passionate about it. He hates evil and anything associated with it. Perhaps more than anything else, he loves truth and hates falsehood. Jesus loved the truth so much that he said, “I am the truth.” How important does Jesus think the truth is? It is as important as Jesus himself, for he is truth!
In The Importance of Being Foolish, Brennan Manning wrote: “In our society, where money, power and pleasure are the name of the game, the body of truth is bleeding from a thousand wounds.” Jesus is bleeding from a thousand wounds, for he has been misrepresented (perhaps unintentionally) by those who would claim to show others what Jesus is like. They portray only the soft, tender, gentle Jesus, but not the Jesus who is incensed by injustice, by unholy lives, by dilution and twisting of the clear truth of Scripture.
How do we go about trying to be discerning about truth? Again, I think Manning had something worth considering: “The first step in the pursuit of truth is not the moral resolution to avoid the habit of petty lying – however unattractive a character disfigurement that may be. It is not the decision to stop deceiving others. It is the decision to stop deceiving ourselves.” We need to have the same passion for truth that Jesus held in his heart. If we don’t, we are not true disciples and are only deceiving ourselves.
PRAYER: God, open our eyes to truth and to our own self-deceptions. Help us to love truth and hate deceitfulness and dishonesty. Give us the discernment to recognize truth when we read it, see it or hear it – and to recognize falsehood in all its forms as the tool of evil. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All Rights Reserved.