They Can’t Handle the Truth; Tell them Anyway. (Matthew 26:63-68)

Matthew 26:63-68


63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, 68 saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”


        Cue up in your mind that legendary scene from “A Few Good Men.”  You know the one. 


Kaffee: I want the truth!


Jessep: You can’t handle the truth!


        Does it seem strange to you that, at the point in the gospels where Jesus is the most open with the Jewish leaders about his identity, they lose their minds?  Is it strange that, the more the Son of God tells them the truth, the more they can’t handle the truth?


        The scene above is a powerful reminder of what man will do with God in his natural state.  As Jesus sits before the Jews who demand he tell them the truth, the court is infuriated by his silence.  Jesus, who knew his rights and knew he did not have to answer their questions, chose to give them the information that he knew that they would use to put him to death.  The strange thing is, the information that Jesus gives them is perhaps the clearest information that he ever gave them to demonstrate to this group of religious leaders who he really is, God in flesh, God’s own Son.


        Have you ever thought to yourself that you just wish God would be clearer with you or with a loved one about his identity?  Have you ever wished that God would reveal himself to people more clearly, and then people would believe in him?  The scene above shows you that God’s revealing himself to sinful humanity is not what will make sinful humanity worship God.  In fact, the very opposite is true.  The more a dead-hearted sinner sees of who God is, the more that sinner hates and rebels against God.  This is not any sort of indictment on the beauty and character of God.  On the contrary, God is wonderful, beautiful, holy, and glorious.  However, sinful man, in his natural state, desires to usurp God’s throne.  That was the sin in the garden when Eve ate the fruit because it would make her “like God” (Gen 3:5).  And that sin, the desire to be free from God’s standards and to rule the universe as we please is the sin that infects the heart of every person in the world today.  No, if God were to reveal himself to us as Jesus clearly spoke to the Jews, we would try to curse, spit upon, and slap him too if we were left by God in our natural, sinfully dead, state (Eph 2:1-3; Rom 3:9-17).


        What you need to pray, either for yourself or for your lost friends, is not that God simply show himself to them.  Rather, you should pray that God would make alive their sinfully dead hearts.  Pray that God would give them the ability to desire him.  Pray that God would draw them to himself (John 6:44), and that he would help them to see, not just who God is, but that loving and serving God is beautiful—more soul-satisfying than anything else in the universe.


        You might wonder how this impacts your evangelism?  There is only one way that I would let this impact my evangelism.  If we know that people need the power of God to draw them to God, we can be very honest with them about who God is.  We can be confident that God has the power to draw men and women to him, and that he can do so without our using sneaky tricks, silly gimmicks, or emotional ploys.  If God changes people’s hearts to help them to see him as glorious, we need not fear sharing the gospel with anyone, because God can change any heart, no matter how dead it appears to be.  The fact that God must do this heart work before a person will receive him should give us the confidence that we need to share the gospel openly, honestly, freely, boldly, prayerfully, regularly, and powerfully. 


        In general, people can’t handle the truth.  In general, people do not want to be faced with their God, because they have been living for themselves and rebelling against God all their lives.  But, God has the ability to break through those walls.  So, accept no excuses from people about wanting the truth.  They don’t.  At the same time, tell them the truth.  Maybe they can’t handle the truth, but, if you give them the truth, it might be that God will break through and change all that, saving their soul in the process.