I remember years and years ago when I was attending a non-denominational* Bible Study, the leader of our group said something I knew in my heart could not possibly be right. I just knew. You know; one of those Holy Spirit bearing witness with ones own spirit kind of moments.
“My husband always says he believes Jesus’ disciples had drunk a little too much wine that night in the Garden of Gethsemane before Jesus was killed, and that is why they couldn’t stay awake,” she told our small group.
Remember Jesus went to His disciples twice that night and asked them to stay awake and pray. The disciples instead slept. (Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:39-47)
Anyway, it really hit me wrong when this woman made that statement. I didn’t want to say anything right then because I didn’t want to appear to be arguing with her and I didn’t want to embarrass her. So, I didn’t interrupt, I simply listened; but I knew she was wrong and I hoped others did too.
I taught Matthew when he was little, to listen for a buzzer to go off in his head. "If something doesn’t sound quite right, or if it is contrary to what you have been previously taught, then listen for that buzzer and check it out to find the truth", I had instructed him. We used this while watching television, reading books, or in any number of learning situations. If we were watching a show that made the statement of “6 billion years ago”….I would make the buzzer sound verbally….BUUUUZZZZ! I would say. And he would know what was being said wasn’t accurate information. We used this method the whole time we home-schooled. I was very particular and careful about what Matthew was taught.
In my Bible Study that day, this was a buzzer moment for me. Buzz! I knew what she said - what she and her husband believed - was simply not true. Why did I know? I knew simply because I knew the character of my Lord. I knew the character of His disciples. I knew what those men were called out to do and what they gave up. Now I am not saying those disciples were without sin. Of course they were not. But I also knew I had never read anything about the disciples getting drunk that night. It just isn’t there. But could I disprove her belief with Scripture?
I went home and re-read the passage. It could have easily been overlooked had I not discerned the inaccurate comment; had I not known the character of these men and expected much from them. Her comment could have remained as truth in some people’s minds. But for myself, I wanted to seek the truth and prove it, if possible. As I read my Bible, the answer to her comment was revealed in Luke 22: 45.
"And when he (Jesus) rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,”The answer was there in just two words: “for sorrow”. It is only two words, but oh how important those two words are! It is for little things like this that I believe Scripture tells us to “rightly divide the word of truth”. (2 Timothy 2:15) We are instructed to make every effort to properly interpret God’s Word.
Now granted, Jesus still told the disciples to wake up and pray and they did not, but it wasn’t because they were drinking. It was because they were exhausted from sorrow at what had happened and what was about to happen. To me, that distinction is important…just a little thing, but very, very important.
The next week at study, the Lord opened a door for me to clarify without embarrassing our leader, or arguing. I was simply able to share the verses. I also saw the expression on her face; the pause, then the look of “a light coming on” and I knew she got it. I don’t know who else in the class understood or remembered from the previous week. But I was happy that I stood up to an inaccurate portrayal of character.
You may be thinking, oh but there were lots of times those disciples sinned…Peter cut off someone’s ear, (John 18:10; Luke 22:50) Peter denied Jesus (Luke 22: 54-62) and all the disciples hid in fright. I know. I am not trying to say the disciples were without sin - only Jesus was without sin – but this time, they didn’t do what was being taught in my class, and that simple fact is worth correcting. Yes, even that one seemingly simplistic situation matters. And it matters a lot to me.
I was happy that I didn’t let something be stated about Scripture that absolutely was not there. I am a strong believer in the fact that even those little things matter. We must protect Scripture both with what is in there and what is not in there. We can’t allow even the little things to be changed. (2 Cor.2:17)
Now obviously God doesn’t need me to protect Scripture. LOL! It has been preserved for thousands of years without me. But we are indeed also, sometimes called to action. Now that discussion is a whole other "can of worms" but those thoughts are for a different post.
The Bible is also clear about avoiding foolish questions, strivings and arguing about the law for it is not profitable. (Titus 3:9) But I believe we are to be defenders of the faith, and correct, when possible, error that is being taught. (Jude 3)
For now, I am thankful I know the character of a few individuals that is worth trusting and defending, and I wanted to share that in the previous post. But more importantly in this post, I wanted to share the importance of seeking truth, devouring it for use in our lives, and just as importantly, defending it. I hope I always step up to the plate to defend truth, even to my own discomfort. I believe we are in a time, where more and more of that will be required.
*This is no reflection on any church, as the Bible study mentioned above was purposefully designed to be non-denominational. There were people from all denominations in attendance and some from no church at all.