Print this Page

“...their fruits...”

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” Matthew 7: 15-20

Very few people in Jersey are afraid of sheep. Sheep don’t attack – ever. The problem which Jesus identified (see bold above) in the Keynote Address which he gave at the very beginning of his public life in AD 30, was that certain people were going around, intentionally dressing as sheep.

Some – but not all – of those people, who looked like sheep, were terribly dangerous. The dangerous ones were in fact ravenous wolves. The Greek adjective which Jesus used for “ravenous” also means “rapacious” and “extorting” and “robbing”.

But who were the particular ravenous wolves dressed as sheep which Jesus was concerned to warn others about on this occasion and throughout his public life? The two words “false prophets” are one word only in the Greek – pseudopropheton. Students of ancient Greek have established that the primary role of a prophetes (singular) was the proclamation and interpretation of things imparted to them. It has also been established that the word pseudo means lies. Jesus was asking his disciples to watch out about “proclaimers of lies” or “lying proclaimers” – either translation is correct.
‘When a half truth is told as a whole truth it becomes an untruth.’ (Walter J Chantry, pastor)

Most adults have grasped the fact that lies abound. Jesus was not warning against liars as such but against declarers of lies. That narrows the field a little. Were there people alive in Jesus’ day who were declaring lies? To be able to make declarations at all, one needs to be in a position of some authority and leadership.

Who then, in Jesus’ day, were the lying leaders who looked like sheep but were ravenous wolves?

Herod Antipas was one. At his black-tie birthday dinner party he was enthralled with a dancing girl and proclaimed that he would give her whatever she wished – even half of his kingdom. She asked that a particular righteous man be killed. Because of his proclamation – and his dinner guests – he was happy to be a murderer.

Another was Pontius Pilate, Governor of Judea. He proclaimed repeatedly that Jesus was innocent of the crimes of which he was falsely accused. But Pilate happily delivered Jesus over to the cruelest execution that Rome had at that time devised for the worst criminals.

A third was Caiaphas, the High Priest of the Jerusalem Temple. He proclaimed that it was a good idea for one innocent good man to be murdered if that would save the nation and allow him to continue to be in leadership. Then he carried out that decision – Jesus was the man.

Has anything changed in our world? Are there any folk around who are present-day declarers of lies? Or present-day lying proclaimers?
Who are they?

Thankfully, Jesus made that abundantly clear – in those days and for us as well – exactly how to identify these leaders who need carefully to be watched. Their fruits.
The things that count most cannot be counted.’ (Anon.)

Picture a fruit tree. If it’s a bad tree, the fruit will be bad. If it’s a good tree the fruit will be good. If the tree is a man or a woman, what is that person’s fruit?

It won’t be on their Facebook page. Why not? Well, a good person will not boast of her goodness. And a bad person will not upload his bad fruit for all to see. More importantly, the fruit which someone produces will not so much be their deeds as their intangible internal attributes like empathy, kindness, truthfulness, forgiveness, patience, cheating in a relationship, boastfulness, anger, avarice, deviousness and retaliation. Look for those intangible internal fruits most of all.

On that basis, you too can identify and then carefully watch the likely proclaimers of lies and the likely lying proclaimers in Jersey today.
Richard Syvret

Email this newsletter to a friend
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Friend`s name
Friend`s email address *
Your name
Your email address *

Send comment
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Your name *
Your email address *
Your comment *