Summary: How Jesus Overcame Others’ Faulty Assumptions
How Jesus Overcame Others’ Faulty Assumptions - Matt. 22:23-24
Illustration:Leadership is the discipline of deliberately exerting special influence within a group to move it towards goals of beneficial permanence that fulfills the group’s real needs.
Dr. John Haggai, Lead On!.
Everyone knows how difficult it is to associate with people who rely on faulty assumptions and prejudices. Jesus once said to the Pharisees, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You give a tenth of your spices, but you have neglected the more important matters of the law - justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel." (Matt. 23 :23,24)
The Lord seeks to correct the hypocritical attitude that assumes God can be pleased by observing microscopic issues while neglecting the macroscopic matters of greater importance. Jesus was the Master at identifying, correcting and changing faulty assumptions.
Illustrations:On one of his European tours, the master magician and locksmith Harry Houdini found himself locked in by his own thinking. After he had been searched and manacled in a Scottish town jail, the old turnkey shut him in a cell and walked away. Houdini quickly freed himself from his shackles and then tackled the cell lock. But despite all his efforts, the lock wouldn’t open. Finally, ever more desperate but completely exhausted, he leaned against the door--and it swung open so unexpectedly that he nearly fell headlong into the corridor. The turnkey had not locked it.
Harold Kellock, Houdini.
1. Jesus knew that many people are not even aware of their faulty assumptions. The Lord said, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?’ (Matt. 7:1,2)
A family of five was rushed to the hospital to have their stomachs washed out after the cat with whom they had shared a meal of mushrooms suddenly began to have stomach contractions. While members of the family showed no signs of illness, the doctor still had them rushed to the hospital. When they returned home they found the cat feeling well, after having produced five kittens.
England Post, in Homemade, April, 1989.
2. Jesus is not suggesting that we should remain naive about other’s faulty assumptions, but that we should begin by correcting our own sins of omission, sins of commission, sins of wrong disposition and sins of erroneous assumptions. James writes, "If anyone knows the right thing to do it but fails to do it, for him it is sin."
Illustration:The photographer for a national magazine was assigned to get photos of a great forest fire. Smoke at the scene hampered him and he asked his home office to hire a plane. Arrangements were made and he was told to go at once to a nearby airport, where the plane would be waiting. When he arrived at the airport, a plane was warming up near the runway. He jumped in with his equipment and yelled, "Let’s go! Let’s go!" The pilot swung the plane into the wind and they soon were in the air. "Fly over the north side of the fire," yelled the photographer, "and make three or four low level passes." "Why?" asked the pilot. "Because I’m going to take pictures," cried the photographer. "I’m a photographer and photographers take pictures!" After a pause the pilot said, "You mean you’re not the instructor?"
3. Jesus assured people that wrong assumptions begin with faulty understandings of the character of God. The Lord said, "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him."(Matt. 7:9-11)
4. Some people believe that God is distant, uncaring and harsh. Faulty assumptions about our heavenly Father may have been influenced by the early impressions of our earthly Father. Jesus stresses that our heavenly Father is eager to give good things to those who entreat God for real needs. By learning more about the Lord’s attributes you will begin to see life from His eternally wise perspective.
5. Jesus gave us the acid test for people with faulty assumptions when He said, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will know them." (Matt. 7:15,16) People may pretend to be something that they are not, but their attitudes, behaviors and works know them.
6. Jesus warns people who try to live by faulty assumptions. The Lord said, "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." (Matt. 7:19) God is in the business of pruning, chastening, and refining people so that they may bear more fruit. Those who are persistently rebellious will be cast away to make room for people willing to do God’s will.