One set of facts and two diametrically opposing conclusions! How often does this phenomenon occur? The universe exists with the intricate and unfathomable designs that it displays; one person looks up and thanks His Creator while another person looks down and thanks mother nature and blind evolution for his existence. A politician makes a speech and a news commentator praises him to the highest while on another channel the same speech is derided as shallow and worthless. A blind and mute man has his physical faculties made entirely whole by a man from Galilee; one group is amazed and says “Could this be the Son of David?” Another group sees the same events and says, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” (see Matthew 12.22-24). One set of facts and two diametrically opposing conclusions!

Someone says “Perception is reality!” Well that certainly presents a problem for the man who was blind and mute! What was reality concerning him? Could he see or not before the man from Galilee spoke to him? Could he see and speak afterward? Reality is reality is reality. Truth is truth is truth. Whether any one perceives reality or truth is of no consequence to reality or truth! Perception may be reality in the world of virtual reality but it is not in the real world in which you and I exist and in which we are held accountable by God. Was Jesus commissioned by Satan because the Pharisees perceived that to be true? Was Jesus sent from God because the multitudes witnessed the miracles and perceived Him to be a prophet? The answer to each of these questions is a resounding, “No!” He was not from Satan because of the perceptions of others, nor was He sent from God because of the opposite conclusion. He was what He was independent and without regards to others. Let God be true and every man a liar! Perception is not truth, nor does God change or cease to exist because of the way we see things!

The Love of the Truth is a precious, precious commodity that is preceded by the love for the truth. The Pharisees which Jesus encountered on this occasion had neither a love for the truth nor the love of the truth! They were deceived by their own attitudes toward truth. When Jesus came into their midst, that deception was solidified into an irreversible decline into the abyss of hell, not because of Jesus, but because of their attitude toward truth; for them, Jesus was a God-sent strong delusion which caused them to believe a lie. Truth was but a thing to be toyed with and to serve their own selfish needs. It was this attitude that made them to be the sons of hell, whitewashed tombs full of dead men's bones, serpents, and a brood of vipers (see Matthew 23 for these and other graphic pictures of the self-deceived). The love for the truth is an essential ingredient to character development in God's scheme of things; unless it is present there simply is no ground in which The Love of the Truth can germinate and flourish. Almost persuaded is an awful state in which only self-deceit and destruction can occur.

Today, the evidence is more than adequate; there is no excuse for being almost persuaded. Those who thought that Jesus might be the the “Son of David” lived in an era in which the evidence was being produced and preserved; we live this side of that era. The evidence has been fully presented and is available for all to see and examine. The love of the truth will prompt the person of a noble and good heart to examine that evidence and follow the path where truth leads him. Other motives lead to self-deceit and strong delusions from which one cannot recover!

I may not know everything, but I can covenant with heaven to pursue and follow the truth that I do know. When I do that, heaven insures me against self-deception and eternal condemnation!

Questions:

1. When a set of facts is interpreted in two diametrically opposing ways, what, if anything, does that say about the facts involved? What does it say, if anything, for the interpreters of these facts?

2. Are the facts to blame for differing conclusions regarding them?

3. Why was Jesus so strong, even caustic, toward the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23?

4. How does one's attitude toward truth shape their future? How dangerous is it to take a cavalier attitude toward truth? What has this to do with self-deception and strong delusion?