Understanding Jesus isn’t really possible outside of surrender #holyweek

This morning, reading our daily devotional together, Rebekah and I came across the following passage I’d like to share. The section of the book reflects on our journey through Holy Week on the road from Palm Sunday to Easter.

The scripture comes from Luke 20:

So they watched Jesus and sent spies who pretended to be honest, in order to trap him by what he said, so as to hand him over to the jurisdiction and authority of the governor. So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you are right in what you say and teach, and you show deference to no one, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” But he perceived their craftiness and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose head and whose title does it bear?” They said, “The emperor’s.” He said to them, “Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 

Luke 20:20-26

The setting was one of those all too familiar occasions where people like to play games with the truth. But Jesus, the devotional book points out, is all about authenticity. Jesus is about being real. Here is the passage I want to share:

Jesus had not one iota of interest in playing games. Consequently, he was always able to see right through the kind of people who would posture, feign, practice treachery, or outright lie. Because these kinds of people expect others to be just like them – mistrust breeds mistrust – Jesus’ straightforward approach and refusal to play games always threw them. The Jesus Way always does.

Liars have a hard time dealing with people who hold to the truth. Truth exposes liars and makes them nervous, so they don’t like it one bit. The sad thing about their mistrust is that the truth also has the capacity to heal, to love, and to set people free. But people who choose to deal falsely are in fact pretty much scared of the light of truth.

“This is the verdict,” John writes in his gospel. “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed (John 3:19-20).

Those who were trying to trick Jesus could not begin to understand the Savior. They had a value system with firmly set filters, and the truth simply could not and would not resonate in them.

But understanding Jesus isn’t really possible outside of surrender.

(Derek Maul, Reaching Toward Easter, p 118)

Jesus goes on to offer a powerful alternative to playing games. Jesus advocates love. Unconditional love. Not condemning others, not arguing them into submission, not responding in kind to their toxicity. But to listen, and to care, and to offer grace.

Love is the Jesus mandate. Authenticity, and love. – DEREK

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