Don’t Make Assumptions, Find Out

(John 7:40-44)

get the facts
Get to the Facts
Photo source: stock.xchng taken by Thomas Römer

The Jews at the time of Jesus were in a quandary. Here was this man doing all kinds of signs and wonders and good things, and yet the authorities wanted him arrested and put to death. They were divided as to what to think.

The authorities who they expected to know the truth, especially the teachers of Judaism, gave no credence to Jesus at all. And yet the works he was doing were so astounding, so incomprehensible that they believed he just had to be a prophet or man of God. Here is a great lesson for all of us.

Making Assumptions

The leaders of the people believed Jesus was opposed to what Moses and the prophets taught. And yet everything Jesus did was in full accord with what was written of him in those writings and the Holy Scriptures.

So why did they make such assumptions? Because they didn’t bother to listen to him. They didn’t spend the time seeking the truth of what he was saying. They only sought to prop up their own position for fear of losing face or losing influence. They didn’t want to admit to being wrong.

How many people today are in the same position? How many people will defend a wrong conclusion, decision or belief “to the death” rather than admit to being wrong and thus learning something new?

What causes such thinking in the first place? Pride! Pride and arrogance. A proud person cannot learn because they believe they know it all. Add arrogance into the mix and they get worse because they get their backs up and will argue the point even when the evidence proves they are wrong.

Overcoming Assumptions

The people in Jesus’ time knew about the coming Messiah or the Christ. They knew where He was to appear from and because they did not bother to check, they believed Jesus just could not be the Christ. Look at what they were saying here, “Has not the scripture said that the Christ is descended from David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” (Verse 42)

In this we can see that they knew the Christ was to be descended from King David and would come from the village where King David was born. Well we know that Jesus was indeed born in Bethlehem, and if they checked the records they would be able to prove it.

Now the people could have just asked him, which they didn’t. They could have just said, “So Jesus, where were you born?” But they didn’t and due to their ignorance, wrong assumptions were being made. Perhaps they though he may have lied about where He was born, but there was an even better proof of this important fact.

At the time He was born, all the people had to return to their home cities as Caesar Augustus had proclaimed a census of the whole Roman Empire. In this census the names of all the people were recorded and they were enrolled. This was the first census that had occurred and so the record would clearly show that Jesus was indeed born in Bethlehem. (Luke 2:1-7)

So how could the wrong assumptions be resolved? Get the facts! Find out! Ask the right questions! If you don’t know or are not sure, check with someone that knows and you will find the knowledge that you need so that what you believe is based upon fact rather than assumptions.

Faith

In spite of this lack of knowledge some believed anyway for they said, “When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This is really the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” (Verse 40-41) The facts could have been checked, but in the end it all comes down to faith, for even when some people have the facts staring them in the face, they still do not believe.

Consider the discussion described in the story of the rich man and Lazarus. When they both died, the rich man speaking to Abraham from afar asked him to send Lazarus back to warn his brothers so they would not suffer as the rich man did. But look at Abraham’s response to him in Luke 16:29-31.

29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’
30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’
31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'”

You see here that even if these men were to be warned by someone returning from the grave, they still would not listen. These people who would not accept the Old Covenant would likewise not accept the New Covenant. Why? Because they did not have faith.

It is through faith that we grow and are transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. And our faith is strengthened and improved through increasing our knowledge of the truth. As Paul showed, “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

Faith is based upon knowledge of the truth. And when your knowledge of the truth increases, the assumptions and wrong thinking disappear because you know what is right from what is wrong.

So test your own thinking. Is what you know based on the knowledge of the truth of the New Covenant or not? Are you relying on the words of other men rather than the words of God? Test what you know against the gospel of Jesus Christ to see whether it really stacks up or is a house of cards built upon the sand with no real foundation.

Either way, what you believe will be tested and tried. And whether you go through the tests relatively unscathed or you fall in a heap will be determined by whether your beliefs are based upon knowledge of the truth or assumptions.

(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Thomas Römer)

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2 Replies to “Don’t Make Assumptions, Find Out”

  1. Hello brother John,

    Your post is justifiably correct that everyone who seeks human approval and worldly knowledge and wisdom seems to be self demised by virtue of blindness due to Satan’s deception.

    I have tried to understand the old testament and how it marries with the new and through searching and looking at many sermons from many preachers I was not able to humanly connect the old covenant with the new covenant or the former sea (old testament faithful) to the latter sea (new testament faithful).  According to worldly thinking we try to gather as much information as possible then with experience we THINK we become wiser in our venture. However this is the reverse of how a born again spiritual Jew operates. A spiritual Jew knows that God is the source of all knowledge and wisdom and first seeks by faith God’s wisdom, then all knowledge flows from this. As it is written knock, the door shall be opened and ask and it shall be answered. So as born again faithful we first seek God’s wisdom and approval to be found worthy before we are given access to knowledge that no university or worldly experience/wisdom can provide.  

    The world’s way is first go to university, read lots of books and gather as much knowledge as humanly possible and with time you obtain experience, then you retain wisdom and become the source of knowledge as a broadcaster/author.

    The heavenly way is the complete opposite and is not burdensome neither are you required to be a learnered individual, but rather you ask for God’s wisdom by faith straight from the start without needing human experience. The disciples certainly were no university graduates of the university of Jerusalem. They were almost zeroes of the Jewish society who led simple lives. There is an exception of one of the disciples, however the point is that these disciples amazed even the learnered when they were brought before judges in courts and testified in a manner that displayed amazing wisdom that was out of this world and out of reach of even the most educated by worldly standards. 

    So the worldly educated way is NOT God’s way for the simple example on how Christ picked his disciples and their lack of education appeal and character background. One of them was even a thief and made the accountant. The manner in which Christ choose his disciples certainly would not have mainstream well informed educated choice.

    So pride comes from the desire to defend a position to the death in order to sustain self esteem in a worldly social system of acceptance. To be accepted within the mainstream educated persona, is more appealing than going along or even listening to a bunch of smelly fishermen.

    In short the world seeks wisdom by progressive human effort of hit and miss through countless trial and error. This approach is an in efficient slow process of compiling more knowledge that is comparable with wordly knowledge.

    In short this is the sequence for wordly wisdom:

    Acquire Knowledge by human effort —> with time and lots of hit and miss affair gain experience —-> with experience one acquires wordly wisdom

    In short this is the sequence for heavenly wisdom:

    By faith, fasting, prayer and supplication ask God who is all knowing and all wise —-> you are granted knowledge together with wisdom in no time virtually.

    One can see how simple fishermen were able to baffle and make dumb the smartest of the educated and wise by wordly standard.

    So which is the more practical and efficient approach to acquiring knowledge and wisdom?

    Through Christ we can go directly to the throne room of God and knock on the door and ask with our hearts intention of understanding having put on spiritual eyes and not carnal.

    1. Hello Sargon & thank you for this comment.
      You mention the difficulties you have had in connecting the Old Covenant with the New Covenant. Although the truths of the New Covenant are prophesied and defined in many ways in the Old Covenant, both in the law and the prophets, it is clear they are different in many ways. I would also refer you to Hebrews 8:8-9 which may help explain your difficulties, for it says,

      8 For he finds fault with them when he says: “The days will come, says the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;
      9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in my covenant, and so I paid no heed to them, says the Lord.

      Note the first word of verse 9, which says the new covenant is NOT like the Old Covenant. Why? Well the Old Covenant taught law and although it was holy, just and good, it established the power of sin and put man into bondage. Whereas the New Covenant preaches freedom from sin and freedom from the Old Covenant law. So is it possible for a man to be under both a bondage and freedom at the same time? Its like oil that will not mix with water.

      Amnyway, perhaps this may help you understand at least in part where the difficulty lies.

      God bless & thanks again for your thought provoking comment.

      John

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