Cheaters and manipulators
Each side claims this about the other.
Who’s telling the truth? How do I know who to trust?
There’s a lot of confusing information, mistrust, flat-out lying, and uncertainty about who to listen to these days. Whether it’s the current crisis, politics, racism, loving my neighbor, the news, schools, businesses, churches… there’s a lot of differences of opinion on everything. I know I’ve been begging God to show me the truth and help me to see through the lies. And I’m guessing I’m not the only one.
As we navigate these crazy days, how do we decide who to listen to, who to trust? How can we know who’s telling the truth? How are we to know which side is lying? Maybe both sides are! Is anybody really in control? Does anyone know what’s really going on? How do I live?
So many questions and so few answers.
But recently, I think God gave me at least one clear answer.
We need to start with Matthew 28. I’ve been thinking about this chapter lately, and I realized something.
Matthew 28:2-4 records “There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.” (italics mine)
This is after the death of Jesus and recounts the story of His resurrection.
We learn later in the chapter that some of these same guards report to the Chief Priests exactly what happened. They are then bribed and told to lie and say the disciples stole the body. (A conspiracy theory if you will!)
Here’s what I realized. The guards saw it all, and they knew the truth. Not completely earth-shattering I know, but hang with me. That means these men saw the stone rolling away and the angel sitting on it. And the angel is described as an amazingly brilliant shiny creature – in other words, obviously NOT a human being. The guards weren’t fools. They had to be aware something huge was going on. The Bible even records the guards were terrified to the point of fainting in fear. Maybe these men realized they were in the presence of a power they could not control or contain or even explain.
Either way, the guards knew the death of this man Jesus was something different. Most massive stones don’t roll away by themselves. Most tombs aren’t visited by supernatural beings.
The truth was right in front of their eyes. The soldiers were eye-witness to at least part of the resurrection. They had so many reasons to believe, or at least to begin asking the right questions.
But they didn’t.
At least not all of them. Some of the soldiers ignored what they saw and refused to believe what they knew to be real. They were willing to live according to a lie. Why? Did the soldiers really care about about any of this? Maybe. Maybe they honestly hated Jesus and the thought of Him coming back to life. Or, maybe the lie was simply more convenient. The truth would mean changes they weren’t prepared to take and shifts in their thinking they couldn’t handle.
Do I honestly think these men were horrible, no-good, terrible men who wanted to live a life based on lies?
Nope, I think they were simply all too human. Like us.
I wonder if this is one of the reasons we struggle so much with not knowing who to believe. As human beings we are willing to ignore the truth that’s in front of our face if the lie is more convenient. To make matters worse, I don’t think this is usually a conscious choice. I think we make this decision without even realizing it.
And let’s be honest, is the truth ever more convenient or is the lie usually easier?
As a human being I have a propensity to ignore the truth and believe the lie. My eyes can so often be blind, unable to see what’s often right in front of my face, and I don’t even realize it.
So what hope do we have you may ask? Who can open my eyes and help me to see the truth versus the lie? Who can give sight to the blind?
Good questions. So, now let me show you something else I learned recently.
Isaiah 42 records a prophecy about the Servant of the Lord, the Messiah, that was to come. Also known as “the Son of David.” And verses 6-7 state,
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
7 to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”
Reading through this prophecy, the Rabbis (Jewish teachers) understood that God was promising the Messiah would come and give sight to the blind. The Son of David would bring light and the gift of sight.
The Rabbis taught that one specific thing the Messiah will do when He comes is open blind eyes.
You have to wonder if this is why the gospels record Jesus healing numerous blind men in His ministry. Many of them calling out “Have mercy on us Son of David! We want our sight!”
In calling out to Jesus, these blind men were acknowledging the truth they had been taught – the Son of David was specifically sent to give sight to the blind. The Messiah would bring light into their darkness.
Jesus Himself uses this miracle as proof of His Messiah-ship. In Matthew 11 John the Baptist’s disciples come and ask Jesus “are you the Messiah?” And Jesus says, “yep, and here’s how you know, I’m healing the blind…”
Right here, Jesus is claiming to be the Messiah and therefore, He is giving sight to the blind. That’s one reason why He was sent!
Because blind men are every where. In fact, so are blind women.
Apparently blindness is something all human beings struggle with in one capacity or another. Be it physical, spiritual, ethical, or simply blind to the reality in front of our faces, all human beings struggle with a lack of true sight.
So what can we do about it?
Learn from the blind who went before us.
Church, it is time to cry out and beg God to open our blind eyes. It is time to cry out to the One who was sent to give sight to the blind. “Lord, Son of David, we want our sight!” I have been praying that single prayer, without really knowing why, for several months. When God brought it all together and I learned the reason behind that prayer it began to change. I’ve started praying, “Lord, Son of David, we NEED our sight! We are blind down here without You!”
What if we as a Church got on our knees and begged God to open our eyes to the truth?
What if we asked God to reveal the lies we are believing and the lack of clarity in our vision?
What if we acknowledged we are blind and can’t see the Truth without help.
And what if that led to repentance and a change of heart and behavior?
What if that led to humility and an openness to be taught truth?
What if that led to open communication between the two factions in the Church?
Lord, Son of David, You came once giving sight to the blind, You can do it again! We need to see the truth! We need You to open our blind eyes and bring light into our darkness! We want to see!
Otherwise, we’re just a bunch of blind people bumping around in the dark. Like everyone else.