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January 26 – Power and Truth

We all know that “children should be seen and not heard” because after all, what do they really know? I remember a story that culminated in a parade. As everyone watched the parade and marveled at the emperor’s new clothes. Finally, it was one of those children who shouldn’t have been heard who spoke up. He spoke truth to power and messed up the whole parade. People in power don’t like the truth to be revealed. Too often, when the truth is revealed, they realize that their worst nightmare comes true and they are standing naked in the middle of things, figuratively usually, but in this story, literally.

Once when Jesus entered Jerusalem He entered at the head of a parade. He was riding on a donkey, the only time we see that in the Bible, and the crowd was cheering Him. The Pharisees, who were the power in Jerusalem, or thought they were, didn’t like it. The prophecy was that the Messiah would come into Jerusalem like that. The crowds were getting excited and proclaiming Jesus to be the Messiah. Power doesn’t like seeing truth, and so Power spoke to Truth – then Truth responded. “Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ ‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’” (Luke 19:39-40)

The Pharisees didn’t like being told, in other words of course, that they had no clothes. Jesus reply that if the people were silence all nature itself would praise Him, was not well accepted by the Power. They thought that sinners, common people, non-Pharisees, should be seen and not heard. They should be seen marveling at their amazing righteousness. They should have no other heroes. They were the ones loved by God. At least that’s what they seemed to think. Jesus’ words of truth cut through their façade and left them speechless. In one quick interchange, they realized that they had been stripped of their power and that there was a new power in town. That power was dangerous to them, because He was Truth. Power based on personal attributes doesn’t like truth. It didn’t back in the days when the Pharisees were in power. It still doesn’t today. The Pharisees were so threatened by the Truth of Jesus that they worked to crucify Him. Little did they realize that the political power they craved would soon disappear and they would be scattered around the world in disgrace while the disciples of Jesus would scatter around the world sharing the Truth of Jesus with anyone they could.

Power still doesn’t like truth. Much of the work nations do is shrouded in secrecy. Big businesses and corporations keep their secrets. In some cases that’s reasonable. People in power though have their secret sins that they don’t want others to know. The only hope for those of us with secret sins is the Truth of Jesus. Let’s face it, everyone has their sins, the secrets they don’t want anyone to know. We all hide our sins from others hoping that people won’t discover the real us. The Truth of Jesus speaks to each of us in the midst of our secret sins. The message is clear: God loves us. God cares for us. God offers forgiveness to all who turn to Jesus. Once we accept this truth – that God offers forgiveness through Jesus Christ, we then become speakers of truth to others. We speak the truth of forgiveness to those caught in the power of sin. For all who hear, the truth is stronger than the power of sin. Sin keeps fighting, but there is no power on earth that can overcome the truth of God’s love, mercy, and grace. To all caught in the power of sin, God calls, “Come to me.” The question today is are you living in the Truth of God, or the power of sin. Choose truth. Speak truth. Live truth.

Oh Lord, it’s so easy to get caught up in the power of sin. I am reminded of the words in the song where You break the power of cancelled sin. Break that power in me and help me to live in Your Truth.

Daily Devotion by Bob James


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