JESUS ADDRESSED ERROR
By Tom Moore
There are many of misconceptions and false views in our day as to the kind of person Jesus really was. It is a popular view to consider Jesus as very excepting, tolerant, and non-judgmental. Our Lord is portrayed by many as being very non-confrontational – not wanting to argue with anyone, and accepting just about all men regardless of their conduct, doctrines, and attitudes.
We must not allow the world to develop our understanding of Jesus. The Bible must be our authority in creating our perception of our Lord. We must be as the noble Bereans, where of them it is said, “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
One of the attributes of the Father’s Son that many have difficulty with is His boldness in addressing and correcting error. Many find it hard to believe that Jesus would actually confront people and tell them they are wrong – and then tell them the correct view. This type of action goes against our current culture. Most of the world has a pluralistic attitude, sometimes referred to as multiculturalism. This is the view that all cultures regardless of their moral and religious views are equally valid. The world, as a whole, believes that Jesus was not judgmental of others’ views and practices, and would never embarrass anyone suggesting they had the wrong view on a matter. But this is not the Jesus of the Bible. Jesus corrected error, engaged in debate, and participated in logical argument setting forth truth and countering error.
Let us now consider one biblical example of Jesus confronting error. In Matthew 15, Jesus is confronted by the scribes and Pharisees making accusation against His disciples, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread” (Mt. 15:2). Notice that the scribes and Pharisees did not accuse the disciples of transgressing God’s law, but “the tradition of the elders.” They were criticizing Jesus and His disciples for what they believed to be wrong doing.
How did Jesus respond to this accusation? Did Jesus say, “Look fellows, let’s not argue – religion is not about arguing. Let me just give you a big hug and we will agree to disagree.” This is not the approach that our Lord took in any shape, form, or fashion.
Rather, Jesus comes back at them quickly and boldly, saying, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?” (Mt. 15:3). Jesus says, you are the one transgressing, and you are doing so by placing your traditions above the teachings of God. In the next few verses Jesus will show them where they have violated actual inspired teachings – not just His disciples.
The example Jesus uses is they thought they could use their money for items to the neglect of the parents, and called it a “gift” (Mt. 15:5), or “Corban” (Mk. 7:11) – that is, dedicated to God. They thought this exempted them from the caring of their parents. They were violating, though, one of the Ten Commandments, “Honor your father and your mother” (Exo. 20:12), by their tradition of “Corban.” Jesus is saying, How dare you make up a law that clearly goes against biblical teaching! Our Lord’s stern condemnation of their error is clearly seen in the next verses, “THESE PEOPLE DRAW NEAR TO ME WITH THEIR MOUTH, AND HONOR ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR FROM ME. AND IN VAIN THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN” (Mt. 15:7-9).
Does this sound like a man who did not want to be judgmental or one who was multicultural in attitude? Not on your life! The examples of Jesus confronting error could be greatly multiplied, but this one example is enough to prove that the view many have toward Jesus (accepting and tolerant of most things) is clearly false.
Friends, doctrine matters to Jesus. The often held view that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere is foreign to the Bible. Jesus boldly and courageously addressed and corrected error. If we want to be like Jesus we will go and do likewise.