Summary: Our response to the Truth of Jesus determines how we will receive His blessings, and how well we will extend God's love to this generation.
Don’t Let Your Heart be Hardened
There’s only one point today:
If you want to know the power of God’s Truth,
You have to soften your heart.
How do People respond to the truth?
37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
“Lord, who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”[h]
39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts,
nor turn—and I would heal them.”[i]
The crowds had Truth standing before them, yet
42 Jesus said to them . . . 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
Pilate had Truth standing in front of Him (John 14:7), Yet . . .
John 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. John 18
But it’s not just the crowds & people like Pilate who resist Truth.
Mark 6: 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They [the Disciples] were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
Mark 8:17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?
Yet the TRUTH is powerful, able to set us free from sin
John 8: 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Let’s unpac that verse just a bit. Three quick points before we move on:
1. This promise is quoted quite a lot. But
it is made to people who are really (the word is TRULY) disciples of Jesus.
“If you hold to my teaching (literally, if you remain, or abide, in my word), you are truly my disciples. THEN . . .”
Think about Judas. He was sent with the other 11 to “heal the sick, raise the dead, & cast out demons”. Yet Judas was not truly a follower of Jesus. He hardened his heart to the point that Satan himself could enter it (John 13). The truth doesn’t make you free unless you respond to it properly.
2. THE WORDS There are two words most often translated in the NT as ‘truth” or “truly”.
One is Amen ?µ??, or ?????
It means reliable, or valid. It may be the most like what we think when we say the word “truth” in English
The other, which is used here, is aleitheia ????e?a it means Not Hidden
There are two words most often translated in the NT as “know”.
One is Oitos, which means knowing about something-Like I know the capitol of France is Paris, but I’ve never been there.
The word here, however is gnosko- ???ses?e
this is knowledge based on EXPERIENCE. The truth of God is not just something you hear or see or memorize from a book. It is the kind of truth you have to live. Strong’s Greek Concordance defines the word this way:
"experientially know") – functional ("working") knowledge gleaned from first-hand (personal) experience, connecting theory to application; "application-knowledge," gained in (by) a direct relationship.
The important thing Jesus wants of us and for us is relationship. It’s that relationship that is liberating. As Jesus said
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. . .” (John 14)