Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Convincing the skeptic

Jesus eats with publicans and sinners - Alexandre Bida
Jesus eats with publicans and sinners - Alexandre Bida

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Matthew 11-12; Psalm 86

TO CHEW ON: " ' For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, "He has a demon." The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, "Look, a glutton and winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!" But wisdom is justified by her children.' " Matthew 11:19

Have you noticed how, when a segment of the population disagrees with government's position on an issue (like developing land or extracting oil or ore from the earth) they demand a study. When that study comes back but doesn't support their position, they ask for another? It seems there is within us an unwillingness to move from strongly held beliefs and convictions no matter what arguments or proofs we're presented with.

That's what we see in the people of Jesus' time. They were having a hard time believing God had actually showed up.

They flocked out to see John who preached repentance in his unusual get-up and abrasive way (Matthew 3:4-7). But instead of linking him with the fulfillment of the prophecy (Matthew 11:10 compare Malachi 3:1), they said, "He has a demon."

They came to Jesus and listened to His words with amazement but when they saw Him socializing with the wrong set, they discounted Him as a party boy, glutton and drunkard.

Jesus summed up the situation with a little proverb: "But wisdom is justified by her children."

The Amplified renders it:
"Yet wisdom is justified and vindicated by what she does (her deeds) and by her children" - Matthew 11:19 AMP.

and The Message:
"Opinion polls don't count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating" - Matthew 11:19 MSG.

I take that to mean, judge the wisdom of a teacher and his / her teaching (Jesus's John's, ours) by the fruit of that life and its influence.

This is encouraging to us as we seek to win family members and friends to Jesus. They will probably be swayed from skepticism more readily by the example of lives of love and service than by any of our intellectual apologetic arguments, no matter how clever or convincing.

PRAYER: Dear God, in the end, You by Your Holy Spirit, break down barriers of unbelief in the hearts of family members and friends. Help me to live a life that will help, not hinder, them along the path to belief. Amen.


Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked AMP are taken from the Amplified® Bible,
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
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Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

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