WHAT'S BEHIND THE APPEARANCE?
"When the Pharisees, a money-obsessed bunch, heard Him say these things, they rolled their eyes, dismissing Him as hopelessly out of touch. So Jesus spoke to them, 'You are masters at making yourselves look good in front of others but God knows what's behind the appearance.'" Luke 16:14,15 (The Message).
What a powerful hold deception has over people's minds! It is Satan's potent and elusive weapon, blinding us to the most simple and obvious truths. If we would just stop and think logically for a moment, we would recognise how easily we have been duped.
In this case, the Pharisees, who loved money and power and paid any price to get it, made two serious errors; they thought that by outwardly acting holy, they could cover up their greedy hearts, and secondly, they thought that they could fool God. Had they only stopped to think, they would have realised how wrong they were.
Jesus' words should have brought them back to reality with a bump, but it only drove them deeper into their hardened attitude. That's the other part of Satan's arsenal that is so difficult to overcome. He trades on human pride to keep his deception in place. Once a person has made his erroneous beliefs public by acting on them, he will not easily back down and admit that he is wrong.
This stubborn attitude disqualifies a person from access to the kingdom of God. Truth and humility are the two requirements for understanding and entering into the realm of God's rule. They are like the guiding lights that must be lined up to give a ship safe entry into the harbour. Truth displaces the lies that cause us to veer off course, and humility softens our hearts to believe and receive the truth.
Jesus gave us clear directions for getting free from the lies that ensnare us and drive us into misery, pain and loss, "To the Jews who believed Him, Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" John 8:32 (NIV). The truth in and of itself cannot set us free. It must first be believed and internalised to become effective in breaking the bondage of deception.
There is a process in moving from deception to truth. Sometimes it happens is a blinding flash of understanding and at other times it follows a period of careful investigation and growing conviction.
For the disciples, barring Judas Iscariot, it was a combination of the two. They followed, watched and listened to Jesus for three years and then came His death and resurrection. His appearance to them was the last piece of the puzzle. From that moment nothing could budge them from the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Until then they still wobbled and tottered in their faith, but the presence of the risen Jesus cancelled all their doubts and misunderstandings.
This is the moment of revelation and transformation. It happened to the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus; it has happened to millions of people across two thousand years but it never happened to the Pharisees because they refused to examine the evidence. They chose lies over truth and became part of the tragedy of those who never fulfil their God-given potential.
If you examine the evidence with a humble desire to know the truth, there will come for you the dazzling moment of conviction and the life-changing experience of faith, giving you entry and access into the realm of God passionate love and unfailing goodness. All His resources will be yours, you will find the meaning and purpose of your existence and your eternal future will be secure, based on the infallible truth of God's word. But is all comes back to the same thing.
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