Lying for the Truth
It’s not ok to lie about or mischaracterize the people you disagree with, even if they are wrong (or you think they are wrong). It’s a sign of a weak argument when you must make stuff up to defeat them. Why should I believe you’ll tell me the truth if you lie about your enemies? If a man will lie about his opponents to gain favor with his side, then why wouldn’t he lie to his side to stay in the good graces with them? It seems to me keeping your people happy is the goal, by any means necessary, rather than truth. If truth is essential and the main thing, it will always be the main thing, not just when you are fishing for compliments from people who already agree with you. Willfully misrepresenting people you disagree with to make them look bad is bearing false witness. But people like red meat, and more than enough preachers and politicians will gladly throw it. And you aren’t doing your side any favors.
In Mark 1:21, Jesus went to Capernaum and taught in the synagogue. The people were amazed at his doctrine because he taught like one with authority, not like the scribes. The scribes were the scholars of the day. They spent their time not only in the law of Moses but also in the traditions, interpretations, and commentaries on the law. Jesus spoke for himself. He taught the Scripture and taught it truly and faithfully. But He taught not a system of a scribe or a theology of another man but expounded as one with authority. And the people noticed. He taught as He knew. Here was someone who got their authority from God, not from a school of the scribes.
We next find the scribes in chapter two, listening to Jesus tell a man his sins are forgiven. The scribes said it was blasphemy for a man to say he could do only what God could do. Jesus said he could forgive sins, and only God can forgive sins, therefore, blasphemy. Logic. But there was another option. The Son of Man does have the authority to forgive sins, and the Son of Man is God (Daniel 7:13-14). A little later, the scribes wondered at Jesus, who ate with sinners, which went against the tradition. They attributed sin to the great physician, who came to save sinners
What do the scribes think about Jesus? They’ve heard him preach and seen him heal incurable diseases, proving He is the Son of Man. They have challenged Jesus and been proven wrong. The words and works of Jesus showed their tradition was powerless, but Jesus had come in power. Rather than submit to the Lord, they lie about him. They could not overcome his arguments or explain to people how he cast out demons. So they slandered Jesus with lies and said Jesus was demon-possessed. And all their friends and followers said, “amen.”