|CloserLook > Misc > Misconceptions
Listen to audio
|<< Back to Closer Look Index
I’m sure you’ve noticed that society
often renames things in order to make them appear less sinful or not sinful at
For instance, a certain lady, whom
I will not name except to say she would have been a U.S. President if someone
hadn’t trumped her bid-----
Well, this lady told a tall tale.
Now I’m doing it.
No, she didn’t tell a tall tale,
she told a lie in order to get attention.
But she got caught, and eventually
admitted that she had misspoken.
Yes, she had misspoken.
And maybe misspeaking isn’t as bad
as it used to be, as we’re now being told we are living in a post-truth age.
An age where politicians routinely
supply us with alternative facts.
Now, when I was a boy, the
alternative to a fact was a fiction, and misspeaking would have been immediately identified as a downright lie.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
However, we’re not going to be
talking about lies this morning, although we will be mentioning gossip, which in
many cases is the first cousin to a lie.
But, for the most part, we will be
talking about misconceptions.
Now, misconceptions aren’t really lies,
but they are untrue.
For instance, before 1492,
everyone believed the earth was flat.
It was the conventional wisdom of
the day, just like evolution, which is equally untrue, is the conventional
wisdom of our day.
And misconceptions, just like
gossip, can be harmful.
Certainly, they were very harmful
in the case of Jesus’ ministry, and certainly He took action against them.
But before I rush on, let me take
a long step back.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Isn’t it amazing that Adam was
created as a mature adult, while Jesus entered this world as a helpless baby,
just like the rest of us.
For instance, at the
time of His incarnation, the Son of God couldn’t walk.
But as time moved on, I
can see Him launching forth from the hands of His anxious mother, taking a few
wobbly steps and crashing into the arms of Joseph.
And for the most part,
Mary would have been the one who taught Him how to talk.
Years later, when He
taught in the temple, the accent He had inherited from His mother would have marked
Him as a Galilean, a distinction that was not all that helpful.
You see, the Judeans rather
looked down on the Galileans as being a backward people.
In fact, this bias was
so prevalent that Philip didn’t receive a very enthusiastic response when he
have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote.”
Everything was going
well until he mentioned the fact that the Messiah was Jesus of
In fact, this
so-called fact had been used to silence Nicodemus when he objected to his
fellow Pharisees’ bias against Jesus.
Yes, they shut him up
with the words---"Are you also from
And there was another
problem concerning Jesus’ birthplace.
John 7:40-42 “Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said,
"Truly this is the Prophet." Others said, "This is the Christ." But some said, "Will
the Christ come out of
Well, they were right on about
Micah’s prophecy had pinpointed the
Messiah’s birthplace as
But they were wrong about the
The truth is—Jesus had been born
And since this event occurred a
mere 31 to 32 years ago, it shouldn’t have been too hard to find someone who
could have given them an eyewitness account.
And they were wrong about that
other piece of conventional wisdom.
Both Jonah and Elijah were Galileans.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
However, even with these
destructive misconceptions muddying up the water, Jesus was attracting very
In fact, His popularity seemed to
be creating a problem.
Turn with me to John 3:22-24 “After these things Jesus and His disciples
came into the
Yes, Jesus and John were
ministering in roughly the same area.
Obviously, it was God’s will that
they worked in tandem for a while.
But John’s disciples didn’t see
it that way.
V26 “And they came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, He who was with
you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified––behold, He is baptizing, and
all are coming to Him!"
In their minds, Jesus, who had
been baptized by John, should have been John’s follower, not going off on His
But they were wrong; and it was
time to set them straight.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
John was the last of the Old
Testament prophets, and it was his job to introduce the Messiah to
But to a certain extent, he seemed
to understand what we might call the
In fact, he had first introduced
Jesus as---“The Lamb of God who takes
away the sin of the world!”
And after that greatest of all
events, Jesus would begin the process of taking a bride.
I am not sure what John really
understood, but it’s interesting to note that he used this context to explain his
place in God’s plan.
John 3:27-30 “John answered and said, "A man can receive nothing unless it has
been given to him from heaven. "You yourselves bear me witness, that I
said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ "He who
has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands
and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore
this joy of mine is fulfilled. "He
must increase, but I must decrease.”
No, there was no jealousy on
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
But there was a problem, and
Jesus was aware of it.
The “Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than
John,” which was true.
But if there was anyone who could
put an evil spin on this innocent fact, it would be the Pharisees.
Before you knew it, gossip would be
flying around that Jesus and John were in competition with each other.
So what should Jesus do?
If He had quietly gone to John
and said, “Look, John, you’ve done a good job, but now it’s time to leave,” John
would have been happy to comply.
But that wasn’t God’s plan.
John must be allowed a few more
weeks to fulfill his commission.
As a result, Jesus simply stepped
Actually, He did a great deal
more than step aside.
Judea and departed again to
And by the way, that would
involve a trip of about 50 to 75 miles.
However, He didn’t take the usual
route that most Israelis would have taken, crossing the
No, He went right through the
middle, not only crossing a geographical barrier but a social barrier, and in the process received a stinging rebuke.
“How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink
from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”
But it wasn’t long before His opposition
became His ambassador.
John 4:29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be
Well, maybe He could, and the
Samaritans streamed out of the city to investigate.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Certainly, there is a great deal
we could learn from Jesus’ time among the Samaritans, but this morning, we are
going to content ourselves with answering just two questions:
Why did they believe? and what did they believe?
Don’t forget, they hadn’t seen a
John 4:39-42 “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of
the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did." So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with
them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own
word. Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what
you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is
indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
Certainly, this woman’s testimony
had a great affect, but “many more
believed because of His own word.”
And, as you will notice, they
believed that He was---“the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
Yes, not only did they believe He
was their Messiah, but they were convinced that He was---“the Savior of the world.”
Jesus would never receive such a
And if He had been running His
campaign on the basis of popularity, He would have never left.
But that wasn’t His motivation.
He had been sent to the “lost sheep of the house of
So after two days, and perhaps
with a sigh, He moved on.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
However, the Samaritans wouldn’t be forgotten, and in just a few years, we would read, in Acts 8:5-6---“Then Philip went
down to the city of
Yes, Philip was even allowed to
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
But for the present, Jesus would
be heading for
John 4:44-45 “Now after the two days He departed from
there and went to
I wonder why the Holy Spirit inserted Jesus’ words
After all, He had made this
statement some time ago when the residents of His hometown had rejected any notion
that He was their Messiah.
Perhaps, as He trudged down the
road to Galilee, He was thinking about the wonderful reception He had received
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Certainly, God’s ways are not our
ways, and Jesus’ choices of late might have set us to wondering.
First of all, He had left
And then He left the Samaritans, a
people who had accepted Him wholeheartedly.
Now He was heading to Galilee, an
area that reminded Him of the negative response He had received in
Why would He do that?
The answer is simple.
It was God’s plan, and He was
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
However, His initial reception
wasn’t all that bad.
John 4:45 “So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him,
having seen all the things He did in
Obviously, the news of His
miracles and teachings were having their affect, even in
But then something happened that
we would have passed over, but Jesus detected a much deeper problem.
V46-49 “So Jesus came again to Cana of
So what was the problem?
Hadn’t God provided these signs
and wonders for the very purpose of convincing
Well, yes, He had, but in this particular
case it wasn’t so much if the man
believed, but what he believed, and
in fact, what
If Jesus had to travel all the way
from Cana to
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So why do I say that?
Of course I can’t be 100% sure,
but as you will remember, Elijah, who had been cared for by a widow during the
famine, raised her son from the dead by making physical contact.
1 Kings 17:21 “And he stretched himself out on the child
three times, and cried out to the LORD and said, "O LORD my God, I pray,
let this child’s soul come back to him.”
And then there was the case of the
When the Shunammite woman came to him with the news that her
son was dead, he sent his servant ahead to lay his staff on the child’s
face, and then he traveled all the way to her house where he “lay on the
child, and put his mouth on his mouth” and
Of course, this was
not always the case.
This same prophet had
sent a messenger to tell Naaman the leper to “wash in the
wouldn’t be surprised if
And Jesus wasn’t
averse to this method.
In the case of Jairus’ daughter, He was quite willing to comply with her
father’s requests to “Come and lay Your
hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.”
Jesus even put out His hand and
touched a leper, saying “I am willing;
But this case was different.
And in the nobleman’s opinion, Jesus’
ability to heal was limited both by distance and by death.
come down before my child dies!”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
And to make matters worse, this
certainly hadn’t been a requirement in the case of a Gentile centurion whom
Jesus encountered under similar circumstances.
At that time, Jesus was in
But when Jesus said “I will come and heal him,” the man responded----“Lord, I am not worthy that You should come
under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.”
That must’ve been music to Jesus’
ears, for He turned to the crowd and said---“Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even
And He wasn’t finding it at the
John 4:50-51 “Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your
son lives." So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he
went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him,
saying, "Your son lives!"
At last, a Jew with the faith of
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Well, it wasn’t long before Jesus
was heading south again.
Yes, He was leaving Galilee and
John 5:1 “After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went
But He wasn’t going to the temple.
No, He was heading for the sheep gate, and
the much more unhealthy smell of the pool of
V2-4 “Now there is in
No, V 5 tells us, “a certain man was there who had an
infirmity thirty–eight years.”
Actually, we’re not told how many
years this poor man had been sitting by the pool.
But we do know 38 years is a long
In fact, when Jesus was born in
And we don’t know exactly what
his infirmity was, but it was serious enough to greatly affect his mobility.
So here we have a man who could
hardly walk, and his only hope of a cure was his ability to run faster than everyone else.
Now, if that isn’t a hopeless
situation, I don’t know what is.
V 6-7 “When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in
that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made
well?" The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into
the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps
down before me.”
----“Do you want to be made well?”
The answer should have been
obvious, but all the poor man could do was tell Jesus why such a thing was
impossible, and I don’t think you could blame him.
For years he had been inches away from the mercy of
God, and had missed it every time!
But now the mercy of God had come to him!
John 5:8-9 “Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." And
immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day
was the Sabbath.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Jesus had given him two commands.
He was to rise, and he was to
take up his bed and walk.
And the second one got them into
a lot of trouble.
V 10 “The Jews therefore said to him who was
cured, "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”
Obeying Jesus often gets us into
trouble, doesn’t it?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I’m quite sure the Jews hadn't seen
The pool of
But they had certainly witnessed a
blatant piece of Sabbath- breaking.
V 10-12 “He answered them, "He who made me well said to me,
‘Take up your bed and walk.’" Then
they asked him, "Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and
Isn't selective hearing wonderful?
They completely missed the words, “He who made me
well,” but they didn’t miss a syllable of the words “Take up your bed
So, here was a man who was walking
for the first time in 38 years, and all they could think about was the fact
that he was carrying his bed on the Sabbath.
However, the man didn’t know who
it was who had asked him to do such an awful thing, as Jesus had blended into
the crowd almost immediately.
Was Jesus afraid of this very
No, He wasn’t, and I’ll tell you why.
First of all, Jesus could have
healed the man on any day of the week, but He deliberately chose the Sabbath.
And, secondly, if Jesus wanted to hide
His identity, He certainly wouldn’t have confronted the man in the temple.
He taught regularly in the
temple, and He had stirred up some very dangerous opposition.
This man would have been
hard-pressed to find anyone in the temple who couldn’t identify Him.
And V16 says “For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to
kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.”
So why did Jesus make
it so easy for them to find Him?
Well, it was because He
wanted to make a point, a point that was closely connected to one of their
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
You see, the Pharisees
believed the Messiah would be the son of David, not the Son of God.
It was a common
misconception, in spite of some very clear evidence in God’s Word to the contrary.
For instance, Isaiah 9:6 says---“For unto us a Child
is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Did you get that---“Mighty God, Everlasting Father.”
And we’re talking about the
V 7 “Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and
establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever.”
Yes, “even forever.”
And again in Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of
you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
And of whom else but God could it
be said---“Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
And we could go on.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
On another occasion, Jesus took
them to task concerning this misconception.
In Matthew 22:42 He said---“What do you think about the Christ? Whose
Son is He?" They said to Him, "The Son of David.” (Yes,
the Messiah would be a man, the son of David)
But then, referring to Psalm
110:1, He asked another question:
Matthew 22:43-44 “---How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: ‘The LORD
said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your
And then He asked a question they
could not or would not answer---“If
David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?”
And now, He had deliberately
healed a man on the Sabbath in order to connect the dots.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Certainly, the Pharisees were
correct in defending the Sabbath.
Sabbath-keeping is one of the Ten
Exodus 20:10 “but the seventh day is the Sabbath of
the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work---.”
But Sabbath-keeping was meant for
man, not God.
God only rested on the first
Sabbath, after creation, and He has been working ever since.
And it was on this very premise
that Jesus rested His case.
Returning to John 5:17 “My Father has been working until now, and
I have been working.”
And they got His point loud and
V 18 “Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not
only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself
equal with God.”
Yes, Jesus was “making Himself equal with God,” and He
agreed with them.
And if my memory serves me correctly,
I believe that was the only thing they ever agreed upon.
And so, having established His
claim, He continued to expand upon it.
V19 “---Most assuredly, I say
to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for
whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.”
By this time, their blood pressure must be
going right off the charts.
However, with much cooler heads,
we have the opportunity of learning something else about Jesus in V 20.
In spite of the fact that He had left the
ivory palaces about 31 years ago, there had been no communications gap--- “For the Father
loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show
Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.”
And then He describes what some of
those “greater works” would be.
V 21-23 “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even
so the Son gives life to whom He will. "For the Father judges no one, but
has committed all judgment to the Son, "that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”
Yes, these same Pharisees would
be meeting Jesus again, and this time they wouldn’t be the accusers.
At the great White Throne
Judgment, the books will be opened, and their works will accuse them.
However, the very Judge Who will sit
on that throne has made a way for the vilest sinner to escape His judgment.
V 24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in
Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has
passed from death into life.”
Yes, believers in Jesus have
everlasting life already. It is a
Their salvation is history, for
they have “passed from death into life.”
And in the future, they “shall not come into judgment.”
I’m so glad of that fact, aren’t
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
However, in spite of this
wonderful provision, the Pharisees continued to hang on to their
And they continued to cling to another
misconception that has prevailed right down to this present day.
It is a common misconception which
many of our friends and relations are committed to.
And perhaps there is someone here
this morning who is convinced that his or her good works can earn them a place
I have to tell you that God’s
Word makes no such claim.
In fact, Ephesians 2:8-9, says the very opposite---“For by grace you have been saved through
faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works,
lest anyone should boast.”
And Titus 3:5 assures us that it
is “---not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His
mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So what’s wrong with good works?
Well, the answer is—absolutely
In Matthew 5:16 Jesus said “Let your light so shine before men, that
they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
And Titus 3:8 reminds Christians---“that those who have believed in God should
be careful to maintain good works.”
Yes, good works are important, and God will reward His
children who maintain them.
But good works are not able to secure
our place in heaven.
That’s not what they were designed
Let me illustrate my point.
An automobile fits the bill if we
want to travel from
However, if you want to go from
An automobile will never get you
there, not even if you over- inflate the tires.
And good works will never get you
No, when it comes to gaining an entrance
through those pearly gates, Jesus says---“I
am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through
But why is Jesus the only way to
Isn’t it possible to get there on
Well, Jesus’ agony in the
Matthew 26:37-39 “And He took with Him Peter and the two
sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and
deeply distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly
sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me." He went a little
farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is
possible, let this cup pass from Me;---”
He was referring to our cup of sin, a cup that was so repulsive
to His sinless nature.
And He was referring to the very cup of iniquity that would keep us out
Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me;”---- and there was
If there had been any possibility
that good works, long pilgrimages, or
even a lifetime of penitence could prevail, this would have been the time for
God to declare it.
Surely, with His Son sweating as
it were great drops of blood, a loving Father would have answered---“You’re
right, Son. Come home to our ivory palaces, and we’ll let them work it out for
But there was silence.
There was silence because “the wages of sin is death” and
those wages must be paid.
So then, because it was God’s
will to save ruined sinners, it would be His will to make---“Him who knew no sin to be sin for
us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Jesus knew that.
He had always known that.
And so, in the briefest moment of
time, He ended His appeal with the words----“nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Some misconceptions can be quite
For most people, back in the
1400s, their firm belief that the world was flat really didn’t make that much
That’s because most people never
traveled any further than a horse could take them.
But when it comes to our eternal
destiny, misconceptions are deadly.
So don’t be satisfied with alternative facts; the alternative of a
fact is a fiction.
The real truth is found in the
Word of God.
Certainly, I have only been able
to give you a bare outline in this message, but our elders, and indeed many in
this assembly, both men, women, and young people, would be happy to answer any
of your questions from God’s Word.
Just ask them.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Well, we have been walking in the
steps of the Master, and I trust the Holy Spirit has enriched each of our
And I don’t think the walk was
too long, was it?
Although, most of us weren’t too
disappointed when we missed out on that 12-mile walk to
But the good news is, we can
continue walking with Jesus.
Not only has He promised to never
leave us nor forsake us, but He told His disciples---“I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
so, come, Lord Jesus!”
Home | Bio | Site
Map | Genesis | John | Romans | Ephesian | Hebrews | Misc |
; Phone: 1-226-240-5485