Summary: If Jesus is the answer - what effect will that have on your life
24-03-05 NR Good Friday
What is Truth(Jn 18:33-40 and 19:19)
I would like to meditate this afternoon on Pilate’s words in John 18:38: What is truth?
And perhaps answer the question.
Context: When Pontius Pilate interrogated Jesus before his crucifixion, Jesus proclaimed that "Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." (John 18:37).
To this, Pilate replied "What is truth?" and immediately left Jesus - to address the Jews who wanted Christ crucified (v. 38).
As Francis Bacon put it in his essay "On Truth,"
"’What is truth?’ said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer."
It used to be the case that the adjective "true" has a very straightfoward meaning.
It used to be said that “a statement is true if and only if it corresponds to or agrees with factual reality.”
But we live in a society doesn’t believe in truth anymore. For them truth is relative and therefore there is no absolute truth.
The post modern axiom is : “What is true for you isn’t necessarily true for me”
The poet Steve Turner wrote a parody of this attitude and called it "Creed". In part of the poem he said:
I believe that each man must find the truth
That is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust. History will alter.
I believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth that there is no absolute
The Christian theologian and Roman Catholic priest Richard Neuhaus has said that "In the absence of truth, power is the only game in town.
And this is exactly what happened when Pilate had Jesus flogged and crucified.
The fear of Caesar’s power won out over truth in Pilate’s heart.
But Truth isn’t relative.
At least Jesus didn’t think so when he said to his disciples “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6)
For Jesus, Truth was found in a person. Truth was in Jesus the Divine Man.
There was no relativity there.
When we realise that the Truth is personified in Jesus, this helps us to make sense of the words of Jesus when he said: “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.” (Jn 8:32)
If we as Christians believe that Jesus is the Truth, then that will affect the way we live. Because we will then trust him in what he says.
It is not enough to believe in Jesus – we must go further and trust him. And if he is the Truth – surely we can trust Him
Story: When I was called into the ministry, it meant giving up the security of a good job.
One of the questions I asked myself then was – Can I trust the Church for my salary.
But on reflection, the real question I was asking was :
“Did I really trust Jesus to look after my needs . After all it was He who had had called me.” Trust makes us vulnerable.
There is, in my opinion, a gulf of a difference between believing in the teachings of Christ and trusting in the teachings of Christ.
Let me illustrate that by way of a story:
Story: In the late 19th century (1859), Blondin a famous high wire walker had a tightrope placed across the Niagara Falls.
He then proceeded to walk across it with a wheelbarrow in front of him.
When he reached the other side, he stepped down to the applause of the crowd.
He went up to members of the crowd and asked:
"Do you believe that I can walk back on that rope without falling off?" - "Yes" they each replied.
"Do you really believe I can make back to the other side?" he asked.
"Yes" they replied. "We’ve just seen you do it"
"Then" said Blondin "get into the wheelbarrow.
"Not a chance" they replied "It’s far too dangerous".
This is the difference between believing in and trusting in sonmebody (in this case Blondin and his ability to walk across the Niagara Falls).
So when we think of Pilate’s question: “What is truth?” let’s not just give intellectual assent to the proposition that Jesus is the Truth.
We musty go further than that.
We need to step into the wheelbarrow!!
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me (Jn 14:1).
If Jesus is the Truth, then we can trust in Him
I was very touched by the poem that the Queen Mother chose for her own funeral.
I think it expresses her Christian faith beautifully.
Let me read it to you.
I said to the man
who stood at the gate of the year.
“Give me a light that I may tread safely