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Mobs, riots, and the Truth

Acts 17:5-9 (NIV)
5 But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” 8 When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. 9 Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.

I don’t need to tell you, but the concept of truth is a big part of what it means to be a Christian.  Jesus, we’re told, came filled with “grace and truth.”  Then later he tells us he is the way, the truth, and the life.  Everything we believe is based on truth: the truth about our sinful condition, the truth about Jesus’ crucifixion, etc.

The enemy of God will try to controvert that truth – “we’re not that bad…how could one man dying on cross change things?”  Here we see the enemy having a heyday with the truth…

Mix selfish, petty leaders with “bad characters” and pretty soon you have a mob…then a riot.  The fuel this mob runs on is falsehood and half-truths.  It didn’t matter to them that Jesus had spoken directly to this issue and said “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.”  Find a catchy slogan and drowned-out the truth.  As Mark Twain said: “A lie will make it around the world before truth even gets its pants on!”  Even before Twitter!

  • Telling people about Jesus makes you intolerant
  • Wanting to sing Christmas carols means you’re a trouble-maker
  • Standing against abortion makes you a woman-hater
  • Standing for marriage makes you a homophobe
  • Standing against pornography makes you a free-speech opponent
  • Standing with Israel makes you anti-Muslim

I could go on, but you get my point.  We can’t back down to mobs, but must stand for truth…even when it seems like no one is listening.  It’s never wrong to do the right thing.

God will take care of us in the meantime: 9 “You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.  (Mark 13:9-11, NIV)

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