Summary: Suppose some organization or person filmed your every action and thought. Would you like the film? Could you bear to watch it? Could you handle the truth about yourself? How are you at facing the truth?
“He’s Amazing: He Wants the Truth”
There are tremendous concerns today about invasion of privacy. People fear the FBI and the CIA. We are reluctant to grant them powers that would enable them to gather information about us without our knowledge – although many suspect they may already be doing so. We simply don’t want the proverbial ‘Big Brother’ watching us. Even in our relationships we are trained to shelter the truth about ourselves – our best friends and spouses often don’t know the whole truth. But imagine for a moment, that some organization or some person filmed your every action and your every thought. Would you like the film? Could you bear to watch it? Could you handle the truth about yourself? How are you at facing the truth?
The Bible gives us a clear picture of our answer. We begin, of course, with Jesus. After He read the Scripture for the day, in His hometown synagogue (4:22-24): “All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. "Isn’t this Joseph’s son?" they asked. Jesus said to them, "Surely you will quote this proverb to me: `Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’" "I tell you the truth," he continued, "no prophet is accepted in his hometown.” This was a MOMENT OF RECOGNITION. Jesus knew they would not handle the truth of who He was or what He said. Jesus was simply putting flesh to what King David had cried out to God centuries before (Ps. 139:1-4): “You have looked deep into my heart, LORD, and you know all about me. You know when I am resting or when I am working, and from heaven you discover my thoughts. You notice everything I do and everywhere I go. Before I even speak a word, you know what I will say…”
With that same spirit, JESUS LOOKED AT THE CROWD AND KNEW THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS. Jesus knew that He was too familiar to them. He was just a local boy, Joseph’s son. In their minds, surely He couldn’t be THE messenger from God, could He? Surely His word was no more authoritative than any other rabbi or evangelist! Why should they listen to Him? Familiarity breeds contempt.
And this morning Jesus is looking at us and knows our hearts and minds. I wonder, IS JESUS TOO FAMILIAR TO US? Many of us have lived with Jesus for so long that we’re comfortable with Him, we’re sure we know His every word; we’re convinced we’ve heard all His sermons; we’ve been comforted by Him so many times that we almost take Him for granted. Is there anything new we can hear from Him?
Like any close friend, we know Him so well that nothing He says or does can offend or upset us. We have a handle on Him. Will you listen to Him?
Let’s go back to Nazareth. Knowing their hearts and minds, Jesus made a MOMENTOUS REVELATION to the congregation (25-27): “I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them cleansed--only Naaman the Syrian." Jesus had apparently never read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People! In fact, Jesus majored here in how to lose friends and anger people! But His task was to preach the truth. So Jesus reminded them of two stories from their history in which God favored the non-Israelite. He was comparing their current era to one of the worst eras in their history, and was suggesting that their archenemies were more worthy of His ministry than they were! His message was clear - God loves all people, not just them! It wasn’t even a new message - they had heard it before: just because you’re an Israelite doesn’t mean you’ve got it made! But this was one of their very own sticking it to them.
And THE TRUTH HURTS. The Jews really did not want mercy for other nations. Jesus merely challenged their exclusiveness, assaulted their reason, and discredited their pride. And they were stuck. To accept Jesus’ words was to admit they were wrong. And it’s always hard to face the one who’s right when we’re wrong. Can you handle the truth? Jesus looks at us this morning and reminds us that THERE IS NOTHING SPECIAL ABOUT JUST BEING A CHRISTIAN. We must not forget that He is the Son of God, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. He is the exclusive truth of God, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. He is not part truth and part opinion – He is all truth. All He says carries the authority of God. We cannot select some of what Jesus says – because we’re comfortable with it – and reject the rest – because we’re uncomfortable with it. We cannot say, “I’ll love my neighbor but this business about not worrying about tomorrow is for the birds.” We cannot say, “I’ll not murder, but this bit about forgiving 70 times 7 is hogwash.” We cannot say, ”Oh I’d never commit adultery, but what’s wrong with a little lust in my heart and mind?” Truth is truth – Jesus said He is the Truth. Will you believe Him? Or is He too familiar? Can you handle the truth?