The tomato was once known as the “poison apple”. This myth was held for over 200 years in Europe due to the fact that aristocrats got sick and died after eating them.
The truth of the matter was that the high society in Europe used pewter plates. Pewter has a high lead content, and the acidity in the tomatoes served on a pewter plate would leach the lead from the dish. Those who then ate the tomatoes from that plate often succumbed to death by lead poisoning. Because other foods served on the same pewter dishes did not have the same affect, it was assumed that the tomato was the culprit. As a result, the myth became popular belief, and the innocent fruit that is extremely high in nutritional value, was given a bad name and avoided at all costs.
I wonder how many such myths humanity has believed over the years. True enough, each one is grounded in innocent ignorance; nonetheless, harm could have been avoided if only the truth had been known.
John 7 records an interesting story, one that is also based on ignorance. Jesus had gone to Jerusalem for the Passover, and after listening to His inspired talk, many were convinced this was the Christ they had been awaiting: “On hearing his words, some of the people said, ‘Surely this man is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘He is the Messiah.'” (John 7:40-41 NIV). Some, however, did not believe: “Still others asked, ‘How can the Messiah come from Galilee? Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?'” (vs. 42).
But wait! Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He was of the seed of David. What was the people’s problem?
Simply this: Just like the people of 17th and 18th century Europe didn’t have all the facts, the people of Jesus’ day did not have all the facts either. They did not have the gospels, and their social media was mouth-to-mouth gossip that took a long time to get from one side of Israel to another. The people did not realize that Jesus was, indeed, of the line of David, nor did they know the circumstances that had brought his parents to Bethlehem just in time for His birth. They were ignorant, and Jesus became to them a “poison apple”, someone to be avoided at all costs.
It’s sad, isn’t it, how ignorance can take us away from the things that could truly benefit us.
Many of you are going through difficult times right now. Maybe it is serious illness or injury. Maybe it is financial problems, loss of jobs, homes, etc. Maybe it is persecution or war. Maybe it problems with relationships or even death. Whatever it may be, the future looks grim. Have these facts that surround us become “Poison Apples”? Are we basing our beliefs on the visual evidence without taking the time to properly investigate Truth, the Truth that God promises to provide for all our needs? (“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:19 NIV) The facts that God can heal all our diseases? Forgive all our sins? Rescues us from our troubles? (“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits–who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion…” Psalms 103:2-4 NIV)
Friends, no matter what is knocking at your door this day, remember that you have a choice to make: You can choose to let it be a “poison apple”, or you can choose to place your trust, not in what you see, but in the Truth of God’s Word.
A wise man summed it up nicely: “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.” (Rabindranath Tagore, as quoted in “Hope Springs” by Ana Lisa de Jong). Let’s not succumb to the “poison apple” mentality. Instead, let’s put our trust in God and in the promises of His Word. When we do, we feel the light and we sing; even when the dawn of deliverance from our problems is still dark.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.