Assumptions and Accusations
We’ve all been there. We make an assumption about someone or something, we stew on it, believe it to be true, and then make an accusation.
Sometimes our assumptions are right. But sometimes they aren’t. And we can end up hurting others, cause relationships to fall apart, create tension, make enemies.
It is easy to be hurt when others make wrong assumptions about us. But do we take the time to question our own assumptions? Do we find out what is true before we jump to an accusation?
It is advent season- the time that we prepare our hearts for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. In my own personal preparation, I have been reading a great deal in the book of Isaiah.
And as I have read, I have been reminded of the biggest assumption and accusation that was ever made.
Around 2,000 years ago, there were people who were waiting in anticipation- just like we are. But they were waiting for their Messiah to come- the one who had been promised to “preach good news to the poor”, “to bind up the brokenhearted”, “to proclaim freedom for the captives”, “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”, “to comfort all who mourn”, and “to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.” (from Isaiah 61:1-3)
Their anticipation led to some pretty major assumptions! They were looking for their Messiah to come as a King- to overthrow the Roman government- to free His people.
For the religious leaders at that time, it must have been dreadful to assume that you knew what you were expecting and what it was going to look like and then Jesus comes along. And He says things like, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). And “If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well” (John 14:7)
The Jewish people made assumptions- what they believed the Messiah would be. So when Jesus was not what they had expected, they could not believe. They allowed their assumptions to dictate their belief, rather than allowing their hearts to be confronted by truth.
These assumptions led to accusations. They assumed that Jesus was not the Son of God and so they accused Him of blasphemy. In John 10, Jesus says this, “Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does.” (vs. 36 and 37).
Jesus was inviting them to find truth- to move past their assumptions. But they couldn’t do it. They couldn’t admit that they might possibly be wrong.
John 12: 37-43 says this, “37 Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
“Lord, who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”h]’>[h]
41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
Having your assumptions challenged can be a very humbling thing. But it forces us to ask the question- do we love praise from men more than praise from God?
Isaiah 53:7 says, “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Jesus did not deserve to be accused. The accusations were clearly based on false assumptions. Yet he accepted the penalty of death, because He understood that He was accomplishing the will of His Father.
As much as I don’t like this (I can completely relate to Peter when he cut off the ear of the soldier who was trying to arrest Jesus!), I am able to accept this. Because it was God’s plan. He so desperately desires relationship with us. And the only way that relationship is possible is through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
I understand this.
But I have a hard time understanding the religious leaders! How could they accuse a man who had the Spirit of the Lord resting on Him? A man who had the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, of counsel and of power, of knowledge and the fear of the Lord? (from Isaiah 11:3 and 4)
It is easy to sit on my comfy couch and be critical of the religious leaders of Jesus’ time. But don’t I do the same? I make plenty of assumptions. And there are times when I am stuck in my pride and my selfishness- I am blinded to truth- and I allow my assumptions to end in accusations.
I am being challenged this season as we approach Christmas- and I pray that you are challenged as well. Because we might be making assumptions that are right. But what if they are wrong? Will we be like the Pharisees and miss the birth of the Messiah? The truth of Jesus? The true Son of God?
Who do you assume that Jesus is? Do you expect him to heal all of your loved ones? To rid the world of injustice? To bring an end to wars, poverty, abuse?
What happens when your assumptions aren’t met? Do you trust Jesus to be who He says He is? Or do you grow angry? And bitter? And doubt God’s love?
Father God~ May we enter this holiday season with humble hearts. May we allow our assumptions to be challenged. May we be open to truth. And may we care more about your praise than the praise of men!