Good morning. It is Monday, April 11, 2022. Jeanette Stark here.
As children most of us read, or had read to us, the story of the Emperor's New Clothes.
To freshen your memory, it is the story of two crooks who arrive in the city of an emperor who loves to look good. The emperor spends an extraordinary amount of money on his clothing and pretty much ignores the needs of his people and his kingdom. Posing as weavers, these crooks offer to make him magnificent clothes that are invisible to those who are stupid or incompetent. How could he resist?
The scoundrels are hired, they set up looms and “get to work”. They pretend to cut fabric and use thread and they go through all the motions of weaving.
Over time a string of officials visited the imposters, even the emperor himself visits them to check on their progress. Each person sees that the looms are empty but, they pretend to see the clothing to avoid being thought a fool.
Finally, the weavers report that the emperor's new clothes are finished. They pretend to dress him, and he sets off in a large parade through the entire city.
The people of the town go along with the nonsense, not wanting to appear incompetent or stupid. That is until a child blurts out that the emperor is wearing nothing at all. The towns people then realize that they have been fooled. And here is the kicker: the emperor hears what everyone is saying, but he continues the procession, walking prouder than ever.
The moral of the story is that something can be widely accepted as truth but because many people will not question, it is seen as truth. Equally important, we can know we are in the wrong but choose to continue walking in error.
Why did everyone pretend to see the new clothes? Because the weavers had made the claim that only the wise could see it. No one wanted to admit they could not see it because they would be deemed unwise.
There are so many parallels here! Are we dressed? Do we have on clothing or are we naked?
Revelation 3:17 says, “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—"
Jesus has offered repeatedly to clothe us. We may not be naked, but what we are wearing is dirty. The Bible calls it filthy.
“Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” Zechariah 3:4 NKJV
The filthy garments represent sin. Isaiah 64:6 tells us “…we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags…”
I watched a reality TV show some time ago that focused on what people will do to simply be seen as “part of the crowd”.
A small group of people were staring up into the sky, pointing and exclaiming with great excitement. As strangers approached, they would look upward trying to see what all the commotion was about. The people that were in on the joke, would ask "Do you see it?! WOW! It’s incredible!" Most of the unsuspecting folks would admit to seeing something that was not there. They knew they saw nothing and yet they admitted to seeing it.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you gone along with the crowd, just to fit in? Have you twisted the truth, just so you would be accepted?
We have this deep-down desire to be accepted by others. We long to be valued and appreciated. But at what cost? Have we begun to believe the lie? Do we speak up when we know something is not true? What makes us stand apart from the world? Only Jesus and His robe of righteousness can save us.
We are like that emperor in the children's fairy tale. We are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked! But, Jesus promises to clothe us with His robe! We can trust Him.
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness…” Isaiah 61:10 ESV
That’s the good news friend. With Jesus, our filthy garments and nakedness can be covered. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we will hear the truth and see the truth. We will know the truth and act accordingly. And just like that young child in the fairytale of the Emperor’s New Clothes, we can loudly exclaim, even in the crowd, that is not the truth.
“Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” Revelation 19:7-8 ESV