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Written by Bill Bradford
“Thy word is truth” (John 17:17) Jesus declared in His prayer before He was arrested and had to face the terrible night and day ahead of Him before He died. Jesus had to understand the truth from God, His Father, in order to maintain His faith when experiencing suffering so excruciating that would naturally cause any normal person to doubt his decision to go through this. In the same prayer the other three gospel writers say that Jesus probed the Father’s will but, at the same time, agreed without hesitation that He would see it through to the end. The Father’s word was final.
If you didn’t know “truth” from the sure word of God, it would be hard to be sustained in a trial like that. Jesus knew the Father’s word was “truth”.
This particular truth (“ought not the Christ to have suffered these things”) He explained to the incredulous disciples on the road to Emmaus after He was resurrected. Peter rejected this truth when Jesus began to brace them for what was to come. “Far be it from you, Lord, this shall not happen to you,” Peter contradicted Jesus. Jesus rebuked him simply, but sternly, “Get behind me Satan, you are an offense to me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but of the things of men.” This truth -- that the One who carried out the creation on behalf of God -- would suffer and die so that we could live forever in God’s family is a truth that we still strive to comprehend. Jesus couldn’t allow any doubt to enter his thinking that God’s plan could be executed in any other way. “God’s word is truth.”
Satan, the adversary, also offered Jesus the easy way out, when he offered Him world rulership right then and there. Jesus appealed to God’s word similarly to the way He responded to Peter: “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’”
How many times are we lured away from holding fast to the word of God, when the arguments of the world, the “things of men,” as Jesus described them, seem so plausible and appealing. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 16:25).
Can I trust myself to always know what is right? And therefore do what is right? Absolutely not! I have to rely on the word of God for truth and His Spirit to convict. Truth is hard to take sometimes, especially when we are confronted with evidence that we are wrong. Here we have to make a choice. Will we trust ourselves, leaning to our own understanding while living in a world that is eager to draw us into some false thinking. All it takes is a little false thinking to give us a way out.
Jesus was tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. He cried out with tears to Him who could save Him. He could not afford to be led by human feelings and emotions that allowed him the easy way out. Humanly, we will find a way out, aided by the reasoning of the devil.
There will always be a “new norm.” The world accepts today what it didn’t accept a year ago. The changes come fast and tend to sweep the world. Everyone is connected to everyone else. This is the end time world in which we live. It is dangerous, seductive and clever. The people of God in the same prayer are sanctified (set apart) by the truth from God -- “sanctify them by your truth”. “He has made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he has hidden me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver he has hidden me” (Isa. 49:2).
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