Addressing Apparent Truths

At times it is logical to form an impression or conclusion about someone that while partially true and based in fact can lead us to an inaccurate and destructive conclusion. A partial truth can be just as deceptive and dangerous as an outright lie. Jesus came to reveal not only outright lies, but partial truths that can also deceive us.

When he addressed the demonized man in Capernaum’s synagogue he did just that. The man with the demonic spirit revealed what might have been the people’s view of God. If Jesus was from God had he come to destroy them? The people didn’t view God as necessarily benevolent, but as a judge ready to condemn them for their misdeeds. Their history with God in the desert was a violent one and the people at that time lived in fear of who God was. When they had disobeyed by worshiping an idol, the judgment was severe. From their perspective God was severe, harsh and dangerous, best left alone for others like Moses and the prophets to deal with, while they went about their religious responsibilities. Even up until their own time, God was shrouded in mystery. The High Priest could only enter God’s presence in the Holy of Holies, the inner most part of the temple in Jerusalem one time a year, on the day of atonement. With his question posed to Jesus, the demonic spirit played upon these fears in the people implying that since Jesus was from God, he was there to judge and destroy them. Jesus immediately confronted that lie and cast out the lying demonic spirit. However, Jesus’ actions and authoritative words caused even more amazement/fear to rise up in the people.

To create fear was not Jesus purpose, he came in order to set people free and correct the misconceptions that the people had regarding who God is. The Greek term for salvation is used in three different contexts and translated with three different words. It is used how it is often translated in English to save someone from their sins and bring them into a right relationship with God. However, it is also translated as healing someone from a physical ailment, as in the case of the woman who reached out and touched Jesus’ cloak and was healed. Finally it was used in the case of freeing individuals from demonic spirits. In other words, Jesus did not come to destroy man, but he came to help people in whatever need they had and reveal to them that this was God’s heart toward them.

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