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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Was Jesus Gullible?

How have you learned the cost of following Jesus? Would you describe yourself as gullible or cynical? Why? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, pages 1350-1).

We need to ask a frank and stark question with great implications for all Christians—Was Jesus gullible? (Gullible defined: Naive and easily deceived or tricked - "at that early age she had been gullible and in love"; Easily tricked because of being too trusting - "gullible tourists taken in by the shell game" WordWeb Pro).

Can you think of one instance in which Jesus was gullible or duped? I can think of none—not even by Satan or by Judas, or by those wanting to trick or entrap him in religious or political arguments. Jesus was cool and smart. Personally I have not begun to measure up to the standard set by Jesus. Too often I have naively believed in the malleability of clever, deceitful, and even rapacious men concurrently with the magical power of my own good intentions and winning powers of persuasion. I go into one end of a “love tunnel” as a Pollyanna and emerge on the other side cynical and angry. Have we ever given it a moment’s thought that to be thus gullible is downright unchristian and replete with pride?

I think if given a second chance the devil would tempt Jesus not with worldly power and prestige, but by appealing to Jesus's redemptive nature. “I will give you the power,” the devil would say, “to work magic with reprobates. And most especially with that particular man forever quoting scripture as his favorite con game to manipulate you like his very own puppet. I will give you the power to facilely win him over to salvation by your marvelous gentleness and good intentions and by your being agreeable and nice. In fact, my very power as the devil will be torpedoed by your callow, simplistic, simpleton smile.”

God deliver us from the temptations of such naiveté! This obviously is an indulgence in wishful thinking and self-pride. It sets us up for a fall into cynicism and disbelief. May we like Jesus have a clear perspective on the devil’s true intent and avoid this last insidious temptation with its appeal to delusional spiritual and redemptive power. May we, like Jesus, keep our attention fixed on heaven and thus keep clear of the world’s siren songs of sinful silliness.

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