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Monday, February 1, 2021
Bluejay in snow (Doris High)
We had snow yesterday and more projected today.
Our friend Doris High took this photo of a Blue Jay.

"What Is Truth?"

Message summary: One of the great spiritual responsibilities we have is exercising discernment and teaching those whom we influence to do so as well. There is a cacophony of voices that call out to us to go against the truth. We are exposed to these voices at all ages, but our youth are particularly vulnerable. We need to constantly commit to hearing the voice of God, foundationally through His authoritative, inspired, and inerrant Word; the Holy Scriptures.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"'What is truth?' Pilate asked" (John 18:38).

This last year here in Pennsylvania we have endured a man nearing sixty who has been our state's secretary of health. Of course he was seen on the news a lot due to the coronavirus. But what made his appearance a bizarre spectacle, especially as a "health" secretary, is that he pretends to be a woman. Well, now he's been promoted to a position in Washington and we are supposed to take seriously someone like this talking about "following the science"! In so many ways life is becoming more and more like scenes from a Far Side cartoon.*

Today's message is in part prompted by this and other sordid new expressions of rebellion and godlessness, some too graphic to describe but given the downward spiral this is not surprising. These are a validation of Paul's statement in Romans 1:30, concerning "inventors of new forms of evil".

One of the great casualties of our culture's rapidly increasing departure from a foundation of Biblical authority and morality is truthfulness. Truth is defined as "the body of real things, events, and facts, the state of being the case and a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality, the property of being in accord with fact or reality". (Merriam-Webster) Psalm 51:6 states, "Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being".

Today let us examine a lesson from Christ's final hours before His sacrificial death on Calvary.

The last person recorded to have a one-on-one conversation with Jesus prior to His death was Pilate. It's plausible that Christ might have spoken to others on the Via Dolorosa and many are familiar with His last words from the cross. But His last recorded one on one conversation was with Pilate.

This conversation so typifies humanity's response to Jesus. Pilate is an enigma. On the one hand he was very reluctant about proceeding with the conviction, sensing that Jesus was not guilty with his famous words, "I find no fault in this man" (Luke 23:4). But on the other hand he was a typical politician "wanting to satisfy the crowd" (Mark 15:15). This was a coy political move in developing his helpful alliance with Herod; for "that day Herod and Pilate became friends" (Luke 23:12). As an old adage states, "politics makes strange bedfellows". Political interests can bring together people who otherwise have little in common.

Jesus said to Pilate, "Everyone on the side of truth listens to me" to which Pilate responds with the probing question, "What is truth?" That is the crucial question humanity has always dealt with and we recognize it most especially in our postmodern era.

Jesus had said hours earlier to His disciples, "I am the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6).

Pilate asks the question, "What is truth?". I believe it's significant that he does not give Jesus an opportunity to answer. Instead the text records, "With this he went out again to the Jews".  Pilate was face to face with truth but his ears and heart were not open to truth, since going with the "majority thinking" was easier, made him popular and assured him a political future.

It seems we have entered a period in history prophesied in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11: "The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

One of the great spiritual responsibilities we have is exercising discernment and teaching those whom we influence to do so as well. There is a cacophony of voices that call out to us to go against the truth. We are exposed to these voices in many settings, including educational, political and even "enlightened" church matters. We need to constantly commit to hearing the voice of God, foundationally through His authoritative, inspired, and inerrant Word; the Holy Scriptures.

Pilate seems at one point to have the correct revelation that Jesus is a king when he said, "You are a king, then!" Since Pilate's body language (which often speaks louder than words) is not described by John, we don't know whether he said this in earnest or in jest as he raised his eyebrows and grimaced at those who stood nearby. Whatever the circumstance, he certainly did not act appropriately and of course was instrumental in the consequential false conviction of Jesus.

I am so enriched by what our Lord Jesus said to Pilate and through the Word He says the same to us, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth."  Christ knew who He was and why He had come. He came to testify to the truth.

But finally today let us consider the latter portion of our Lord's response: "Everyone on the side of truth listens to me".  I certainly want to be on the side of truth and thus I want to hear the voice of truth. Lord, give us discernment to tune in to listen and to heed Your voice today! The lesson for us: let us listen to the One who is the author of Truth, even when it goes against the answers we want to hear!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, I want my heart to be committed to Your Truth and righteousness, for You are the Way, the Truth and the Life. I place my complete trust in You and reject the godless trends and vain philosophies promoted by the world regardless of how popular they may be; no matter what celebrity, famous person, self-proclaimed academic or "enlightened" church leader promotes or however they may be validated by the "wisdom of this world". Our Lord Jesus stated, "Thy Word is truth." May Your words be embedded in my heart and mind through the faithful study of Scripture so that I might not sin against You and so that I will quickly recognize truth from error. Keep me faithful and true. Amen.

Entire context from daily verse: "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me". "'What is truth?' Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, 'I find no basis for a charge against Him (Jesus Christ)'" (John 18:37,38).

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Voice of Truth"  Video  Casting Crowns

* The Far Side is a popular cartoon that uses "surrealistic humor often based on uncomfortable social situations, improbable events, an anthropomorphic view of the world, logical fallacies, impending bizarre disasters, (often twisted) references to proverbs, or the search for meaning in life."

Finally today:
Here in Pennsylvania restaurants and churches have been particularly impacted by state- mandated closings and restrictions for our "safety". It's far too sordid to include the link, but back in October 2020 the "health" secretary mentioned in the first paragraph informed Pennsylvanians on an official governor state website "inventive" ways partners can engage in sexual activity and avoid COVID-19. Tragically, but not surprisingly, a biblical moral lifestyle was not even listed.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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