What’s worse than finding out you were wrong about something? Learning it was something you were “certain” you were right about! But apart from the discomfort of an appropriately bruised ego, shouldn’t we actually feel joy in those moments when mistakes and ignorance are replaced by insight and wisdom? Don’t we all welcome a progressive sense that enables humanity to leave behind limitations and discover how empowering a grasp of genuine truth is? Otherwise, we’d all still be living in a world where people believed the sun revolved around the earth, just because it looks like it on the surface of things. One of my favorite quotes has always been T. S. Eliot’s,
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
In a general way, isn’t that really what the Bible is all about? It is the story of people who thought they knew how the world worked, only to discover their encounter and relationship with God brought a whole new understanding of reality, and a subsequent conviction of truth that couldn’t be shaken. Being thrown into a lions’ den or a fiery furnace and yet coming out on the other side unscathed can have that effect on a person. Throughout his entire ministry, Christ Jesus was in effect saying to those around him that they were wrong in their conclusions about how things worked. Right where they saw contagious disease, sinners, corruption, Jesus saw the presence and supremacy of God manifest in the perfection of God’s man. Their assumptions about a Messiah showing up someday as a military conqueror to establish the reign of God’s people had to be corrected by Jesus’ constant insistence that the kingdom of God was here right now. This reign of Spirit could be found within them when they yielded to the love of Christ that was present to destroy the vivid scenes around them that argued for God’s absence.