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Daily Worship


April 1 | Matthew 21:18-32, 42-46





Deception vs Trust

by Mary Alice McGinnis

What words would you say to describe God? What mental picture comes to mind when you think of Him? What is His character like?

I don’t know about you, but when I read the account of Jesus cursing the fig tree, it caused me to wonder, “Why would Jesus, God’s Son, destroy this fig tree? Did He just impulsively destroy that which did not meet His immediate need? Was He just so hungry that He became angry?” (Sounds like me when I get "hangry.")

Maybe I see Jesus as no different from all the humans I have encountered in my life, who are only out for themselves

Jesus, the perfect Son of God, is full of grace and truth. What if I truly believe that Jesus is indeed all powerful, all knowing, is perfectly good, perfectly just, and embodies perfect love? How could I view this differently?

We probably don’t know much about fig trees in our part of the world. It is uncommon for fig trees to have lavish leaves but have no fruit. The leaves give the indication that the plant is healthy and flourishing, therefore the promise of fruit seems the obvious result. It's like the fig tree was saying, "April Fools!"

Jesus’ issue with the fig tree was not selfishly motivated. His reaction was to the fig tree’s deception. Wikipedia says: "Deception or falsehood is an act or statement that misleads, hides the truth, or promotes a belief, concept, or idea that is not true. It is often done for personal gain or advantage."

There are myriads of deceptive practices all around us every day. The Pharisees and elders who were among those Jesus taught. They were deceitful and self-seeking. They were living a “good life” according to the law, but yet their hearts were far from Him. When Jesus brought their deceptions out into the open, they sank deeper into self-deception and sought to destroy Jesus rather than turn to Him.

I have experienced firsthand the heart wrenching agony of being deceived by someone I trusted. Is there anything worse than the pain and betrayal of deception? How does a person ever recover from such violations of trust? Jesus' next words give me comfort

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

When others show themselves to be unfaithful, deceptive and manipulative, I can have confidence faith and TRUST in my Savior. He is my perfect King and my Redeemer who sees all and knows all.

The enemy, Satan, tries to weave doubt into my mind. He tempts me to wonder if God is trustworthy. Does He really care? When doubt comes to haunt me, I sometimes find I separate myself from Him, withdrawing from Him. I don’t want to spend time with Him or pray to Him. I may even become angry with God and decide to oppose Him by taking things into my own hands.

Jesus is inviting me to trust that He will make all things right, no matter how impossible it may seem. Besides be being a victim of deception, I have also been a deceiver and betrayed the trust of others. In my mind’s eye, I can see faces of people in my life whom I have betrayed and hurt deeply. Where can I go to find peace from the anguish of my guilty conscience?

The tax collectors and prostitutes of Jesus' day were masters of practicing deception for personal gain. They were infamous evil doers. Yet, many who encountered Jesus were changed. When they realized the full weight of their guilt, they turned to Jesus to receive His forgiveness.

“Truly I tell you the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom.”


Jesus, thank You for teaching me to TRUST YOU when the hurt of betrayal and deception afflict me. Help me lean in to knowing You more when doubts arise. When I am overwhelmed by the weight of my own sin and betrayal, fold me back into Your loving arms of forgiveness. Help me to trust that You will one day make all things right.

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