Intro: ‘Smoke and mirrors’ is an English idiom that describes an illusion of things made to look better than what they really are. We can easily accept illusions fueled by our emotions, ambitions, and intellectual struggles in this life. Such, lead us away from the life, the way, and the truth God has given.
Rejection is defined by a refusing to accept, submit to, believe or make use of. We have the option to reject good and reject evil. We have the ability to serve the good and serve the evil. We have the conscience to discern truth and ignore truth. We are masters in how we give chase to capture our illusions. We are naive at confronting (face to face) what rejection of our reality demands from us.
The rebellion in the Garden of Eden did not hinder the heart of God to chase after the human heart. Evil would not have final victory, though like the 1/3 of angels who fell; there would be humans that would follow suit to the ‘smoke and mirrors’ of ‘the knowledge of the evil’.
The Lord pursued and confronted:
a son, a servant, & a judge.
God would not recoil from rejection. Instead he confronts it face to face. However, we cannot overcome evil on our own. Each individual must decide to accept or reject God’s offer to depend upon His ‘knowledge of the good’ alone. For Jesus Christ, our Creator, is the perfect son, the perfect servant, and the perfect judge.
Cain (Genesis 4:6-16)
Proverbs 15:13 – A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
Cain’s spirit was not walking in the attitude of a ‘cheerful’ countenance before the Lord. His heart was not set on the ‘good’ of the Lord nor the striving for excellency in doing everything for the glory of the Lord. For this reason, the Lord did not look compassionately on his offering. Cain became indignantly angry. So, the Lord himself pursued after Cain to reason with him and confront, ‘face to face’, the emotional struggle of his heart. Anger stole away the joy and respect for life (James 1:20). We read the Lord encouraging him to ‘rule over’ this sin rather than allow the sin to devour his soul (Genesis 4:7).
Sin’s illusion was that Abel, another person, was the source of Cain’s troubles. However, Cain chose to reject the warning. The Lord confronted with words of life; Cain, in anger, took a life (Genesis 4:8). “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Cain rejected the sanctity of life.
The Lord Himself would answer Cain’s question. As children of God, we are compelled to love life, enjoy life, and give life to one another because the Son of God is the author and sustainer of life (Acts 17:25-28; Colossians 3:15-20). The heart of God loves life so much so He gave Himself for life (John 3:16). We are encouraged to lay our life down for one another.
Galatians 2:20- I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
1 John 5:12-13- Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
Christ is The Life.
Judas – (Matthew 26:19-25; John 13:18-27)
Proverbs 2:20 So you will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous.
Judas’s soul had witnessed firsthand the signs, wonders, & healings from the beginning of Jesus’s ministry on earth. For three years he, as the treasurer, intimately served alongside Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, as an apostle. Judas became enticed by the ‘broad way that leads to destruction’. So, Jesus Christ pursued after Judas to reason with him and confront, ‘face to face’, the spiritual struggle of his heart. Greed stole away the joy in the way of holy living (Proverbs 1:19; Hebrews 13:5). While Christ’s spirit was troubled, Judas eagerly received the communion from the hand of Jesus Christ and “immediately went out” to betray.
Sin’s illusion was that lacking material security was the source of Judas’s troubles. However, Judas chose to reject the warning. The Lord confronted with the way of righteousness; Judas took payment (Matthew 7:13-14). “Master, is it I?”
Judas rejected the way of escape.
The Lord Himself would answer Judas’s question (Matthew 28:18-20). As children of God we are called to serve one another because the Son of God came to serve (Matthew 20:28). The heart of God devoted Himself to serve, submitting His will to the Father for the joy set before him (Hebrews 12:2). We are called to walk the paths of righteousness.
Matthew 6:24 – No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
1 John 2:5-6 – but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
Christ is The Way.
Pilate – (Mark 15:1-15, John 18:28-19:22)
Job 6:31 – Let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!
Pilate’s mind was aware Jesus had been delivered out of envy (Mark 15:10). The trial of Jesus was not for a crime, but of power. Pilate’s ‘willingness to content the people’ dictated his judgment. Sarcasm was Pilot’s arbiter to truth. So Jesus Christ pursued after Pilate to reason with him and confront, ‘face to face’, the intellectual struggle of his motives. Fear of man stole away the courage to judge rightly with truth (Proverbs 29:25). While Christ surrendered to injustice, Pilate participated in the shedding of innocent blood.
Sin’s illusion was that appeasing the demands of men, was the source of Pilate’s troubles. However, Pilot chose to reject the warning. The Lord confronted with truth the source of real authority; Pilot took an exit (John 18:36-38; 19:11). “What is truth?”
Pilate ignored truth and where real authority resides.
The Lord himself would answer Pilate’s question (John 19:11). As children of God we are instructed to judge our motives, cross examine ourselves because the Son of God will judge our deeds (1 Corinthians 11:31-32). The heart of God maintains right judgment and He will rule over the earth (Revelations 19:11). We are to obey truth and do justice.
Micah 6:8 – He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Psalm 9:7-8 – But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.
Christ is The Truth.
The reality of the trilogy of rejection that was, and that is, and that will be, is always confronted with the trilogy of the Way, the Truth, and the Life of the Trinity, as personified in the example of Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
What kind of son/daughter, servant & judge will you be?
2 Peter 1:1-12; Romans 5; Proverbs 30:5-14; John 17:17-26; Revelations 1:1-8
written by Michelle Kelso Kafer