(Jesus said) "... When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me." John 8:44b-45
Not so long ago, Joe Lentini, and nine of his friends, went out to dinner at Bobby Flay's steak place in Atlantic City. The host of the business dinner told Lentini he should pick a bottle of wine, which some of them would share.
Lentini, who is hardly a wine connoisseur, told the waitress to give them something decent. She pointed to a bottle and when Lentini asked the price she said, "Thirty-seven fifty." The meal was a good meal, and the wine was a good wine. Then, at the end of the dinner, the waitress presented them with the bill.
The bill totaled over $4,700!
That's mostly because the bottle of wine Lentini had ordered, Screaming Eagle's Oakville 2011, cost $3,750! The group called over the restaurant manager. He asked, "Did the waitress say thirty-seven-fifty or did she say three-thousand-seven-hundred-and-fifty?" They all agreed; they all had heard her state the price as being "thirty-seven-fifty."
After some serious discussion between the group and the manager, the price was finally lowered to $2,200. It was one of those times when nobody ended up being happy. The dinner party had to chip in to pick up the tab, which they felt was still outrageous, and the restaurant's manager lost a big chunk of profit, even as he garnered a bunch of bad publicity for his place.
Now that story is an example of an honest, albeit a costly, mistake. The waitress thought she had said one thing, and the people to whom she was speaking heard something quite different.
Without stretching things too far, the same thing happens among Christians.
The Lord says one thing, but people often hear something different. Need an example? Here's one that shows what can happen when Scripture is ripped out of context and misapplied. In Matthew 27:5b the Bible tells us Judas "departed and he went and hanged himself." That's God's Word and it's true. Equally true is Luke 10:37b where it says, "You go and do likewise."
Reading those two passages together it would seem the Lord is encouraging us to do ourselves in. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Lord sent His Son into this world to give us hope, forgiveness and life eternal. To that end the Savior was born, lived His perfect life, and carried our sins to the cross. With His glorious resurrection all who repent of their sins and are brought to faith in Him are assured that salvation is theirs.
But that truth from the Lord is thrown out the window when people are told -- and they believe -- repentance is not necessary since Jesus never judges, and He always accepts people just the way they are. When that happens the father of lies smiles because God has said one thing, but the devil has helped them hear something else.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I always listen to You and not the father of lies. May Your words of salvation move me to be a witness to Your truth and love. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries