by Dorette Saunders
It seems that at every turn there is a hidden agenda, deception in the most unlikely places, and it is beginning to become the social norm. If we are wise, we know that the devil never usually catches us with outright lies. No, indeed! Remember the temptation of Eve by the serpent in the garden (Genesis 3:1-6). Remember the temptation of Jesus by the devil in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11).
In both scenarios, the devil mixed lies with truth in an attempt to undermine the faith of both Eve and Jesus. Eve succumbed to temptation, but Jesus overcame by his knowledge of who he was, and his use of Scripture. This is why it is important to know the Word of God so we can recognize lies even when they are disguised with a smidgen of truth. If we keep God’s Word in our hearts, we will not be deceived.
Lean in to the elders of the synagogue crying out for Jesus’ death. They are a rabid, murderous group who are appealing to Pilate to kill Jesus because they are jealous of him, the word that he teaches, and the influence he has on his audiences.
“They started accusing him and said, ‘We caught this man trying to get our people to riot and to stop paying taxes to the Emperor. He also claims that he is the Messiah, our king’” (Luke 23:2, CEV).
Does this sound like the Jesus we know? Of course not! Suddenly, the rabbi that they once marveled at as he taught in the temple becomes “this man.” Talk about playing to Pilate and Pilate’s base.
The elders of the Law knew that Rome would punish anyone who attempted to subvert the people under its rule. They also knew that refusing to pay tax to Rome was a serious offense, and considered treason. They knew too, that the introduction of another king, besides the Roman Emperor, would draw not just rebuke, but possibly death. So these folks who should be upholding God’s laws in the Torah were conspiring to kill the Son of God, the Messiah, by packing lies with a dab of truth.
Did they not recall how Jesus spoke truth to them when they confronted him asking if it were lawful to pay taxes to the Emperor? The Scriptures say:
Jesus knew what they were up to, and he said, “Why are you trying to test me? Show me a coin!”
They brought him a silver coin, and he asked, “Whose picture and name are on it?”
“The Emperor's,” they answered.
Then Jesus told them, “Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God” (Mark 12:15-17, CEV).
Look around in our society. It is rife with people spreading lies with a dab of truth. It pops up everywhere—in politics, in religion, in schools, and in families. And, if we are not careful, if we are not attuned to God’s Word, we could easily get sucked in.
Jesus cautions us that these things will happen, especially when the end of the age is approaching:
And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet” (Matthew 24:4-6, CEV).
It’s time to calm our hearts as we look around us. Truly God is in control and nothing that happens takes God by surprise. In the meantime, let us wait with joyful anticipation because we know the coming of our God is near.
PRAYER: Gracious God, help us to filter out the noise that would make our hearts quake and our souls grow faint. Remind us of who we are in you, and that you are with us—everywhere we go. Rebuke the lies that threaten to sink us, and help us to stand firm in your truth. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.