Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jesus: The REAL Thing

Here's a short little Bible Study Devotion that I had posted awhile back for my church's devotional website. I needed to repeat it today, ask myself the tough questions...I would love for you to join me.

“He saw through their duplicity and said to them…”
Luke 20:23


When I was a little girl, I began to get chosen for parts in school plays. The talent God gave me flourished all the way through high school. In my small town, I was a pretty big hit! When I moved to Dallas on a college music scholarship, it didn’t take long to realize that I was a small fish in a much larger pond. I began to learn more about performing and “getting into character.” At times I would get so into a role that I would have a difficult time finding the “real me” again.

Luke 20 shows us a parallel. The religious leaders had done a great job of convincing their small towns that they were a big hit. Now that the crowds were following Jesus, they were becoming small fishies in a much larger pond. In this text, they came out in full character, trying to make Jesus and the people believe that they are the real thing. After building their entire lives around the O.T. Law, it had become their identity in a false way. They had grown so comfortable living the list of dos and don’ts in the Word, that they had hardened their hearts to the Living Word standing right in front of them! This was duplicity in the purest form (pun intended).

What a contrast we find in Jesus! He was authentic in every way as He focused on His purpose. When His parents found him in the Temple as a young boy, He was fully determined to teach the Word. When Satan tempted Him in the desert, He resisted the challenge by speaking the Word. Now, as He was interrogated by these rulers, He answered them as THE Word. Their deception became transparent. And the crowd which stood there hanging on His teachings--He saw through them, too: their doubts, their lies, their sensationalism, their need to identify with someone popular—the way they would turn on Him in the next few days. It amazes me to think that even at the point of the cross, He kept His focus. The pain could’ve gotten to Him, the need to take care of His mom could’ve compelled Him, but NOTHING divided Him from His purpose. Thank goodness for us, He was the real thing!

Here we are on the journey, over 2000 years later, and Jesus sees through our duplicity as well. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating even to the dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” He, the Word Himself, sees and knows us—“Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13

Today, let’s step out of any bogus character we’ve grown comfortable with and uncover ourselves before Him. As we willingly lay off any deception or falsehood, we will see that our true identity is found in Him—THE Word--our Redeemer, Savior and Friend.

Discussion Questions:
1. What does the word “duplicity” mean? How does the Hebrews verse, “it (the Word) judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” tie in to Jesus’ statement about duplicity?
2. Read John 1:1 to learn more about Jesus as the Word.
3. Am I “for real” before the Lord and others? Commit to pray for this daily.
4. When I read the Bible, are my attitudes consistent with it? Or, like the Pharisees, do I have any comfortable areas I’ve built into my identity that I need to give over to God to replace or remove?

Oh, Lord God, thank You for being the real thing. Thank you for being the Way, the Truth and the Life for my sake. Help me to be like You in this way. I confess my two-faced thoughts, attitudes and actions, Lord. Please forgive me and help me to overcome this way of living. I truly long to be like You, the real thing. In Jesus' name, Amen.


In the Key of HE,

3 friends shared a comment:

Homesteader in Training said...

Once again you get the wheels a turning my friend. I'm going to have to copy and paste this. I promise not to sell it in my best selling book I'm doing lol. Just kiddin.
Hugs.

Betsy Markman said...

I know there's a lot of duplicity in my soul. Even with writing...how much do I do it for the Lord, and how much for the praise of men?

Lord, make us pure in heart, in motives, in love!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

My husband and I were just talking about our hypocrisy as it pertains to the presidential election and otherwise. We just finished watching an unnamed presidential candidate give buy his 30 minutes of time on TV. A good watch, but after it was over, we talked about our capacity to "love"...to really walk in another's shoes without condemnation and purely with the love of Jesus that compels us to "walk across the aisle" despite deeply held differences.

It's our requirement. Period. If we can't, we find our labels pretty quick. Pharisees as charged.

Whew...confession is good for the soul!

peace~elaine