I know this is a little longer than what I normally publish but this is one of the most important posts that I have ever put together. Please bear with me and read through it’s entirety.
In the Gospel of John (John 18:37-38 NIV), when Jesus is brought before Pilate (Pontius Pilate , the fifth prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, serving under Emperor Tiberius from AD 26 to 36.), Pilate asks Jesus if he was a king and Jesus responded saying “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.” The ASV Bible translates the latter Greek text statement as follows “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” It is recorded that Pilate responds “What is truth?” and then Pilate indicates that he finds no basis for a charge against Jesus.
Pontius Pilate was a real man in history and so was Jesus. Few scholars, if any, doubt the reality of their existence. But the answer to Pilate’s question “What is truth?”, remains elusive within our society to this very day.
One of the definitions of truth is “a statement proven to be or accepted as true”.
If we value truth, if we want to know what is true and conversely what is not true, Jesus indicated to all of us at his trial that we should take into consideration what He has said.
To many people within our society, including some of my own immediate and distant family relatives, there is an immediate association made within their minds when they consider what I hold to be true. “Dad holds some pretty strong beliefs”, is a statement that I have heard stated about myself. It’s not that they don’t love me, or that I don’t love them, that question isn’t even on the table. It’s the “pretty strong beliefs” that I hold where they draw the line, so to speak. They are their own people, they make their own decisions about what they hold to be true and conversely what is not true.
I can appreciate that, in fact, I wouldn’t expect them to believe something just because I have said it. Most people are given the opportunity to make their own evaluations and determinations. But just because most are given the opportunity does not in itself mean that we will exercise that opportunity. In fact, many rely of what others have said about Jesus and have not taken the time to read and consider what He actually said. Some people simply can’t be bothered, it takes too much time, or they have other more important things with which to devote their limited time to.
Once again, I can appreciate that, because at one time, actually, a couple of times, that was my position. But, eventually, because I am a reasonably sane, reasonably intelligent man, I did take the time to read what Jesus said and I, like many others, came to the understanding, realization and conviction that Jesus was indeed “special” and the truths that He said He came to tell us about, brought me to the place where I am today.
I don’t claim to know all of the answers to all of the questions. To be candid with you, I don’t even know all of the questions but I do have the answers to enough of the questions to satisfy my heart and my mind. I make no apologies for the truths that I hold dear. You can write me off as one who has taken this “religion thing” a little too far. Conversely, I say to you, if you haven’t taken Jesus seriously, you haven’t taken it far enough.
There are indeed “truths” that Jesus came to tell us about, actually a whole bunch, a lot more than you would probably think. And it’s not just the truth that He gave us, there’s also the history of the Old Testament and God’s unfolding revelation of the promise of His Son, the Messiah, the Anointed One, actually being born as a man. And then there’s Jesus’s actual ministry, His death and His resurrection, followed by the growth of the Christian Church throughout the world.
In my personal pursuit of “truth” I also studied secular and Christian Church history to see how they lined up with the truths that Jesus gave us. If you’re looking for a perfect Church you’re going to have a hard time finding it. The Christian Church is comprised of people and people make mistakes, significant mistakes, for many varied reasons, even today. But the truths that Jesus gave us haven’t changed and Jesus Himself hasn’t changed. And throughout history you can find many who have consistently endeavored to walk in accordance with His truths.
Do you have “strong beliefs”?
Do you believe there is no God?
Do you believe in God but think that basically all religions are the same?
Do you believe that basically you’re a good person and if there is a heaven you’re probably going to go there?
Do you believe that you can put the witness of the truth that Jesus gave us to a side burner and pursue your own interests and personalized concepts of truth without any residual effects to the reality of objective truth (true for people of all cultures, times) versus subjective truth (true for the person(s) making the judgement, even though it may not be true for others)?
Do you believe that your personal convictions are true and you are justified in passing your convictions onto your children and others that you love?
Even though Christianity is the largest religion in the world, Jesus Christ is not just another religious figure in history. His witness is unique and He is the only religious figure in history who rose from the dead. The Christian Church was founded on this vital historical fact.
The Apostle Paul makes the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ abundantly clear in 1 Corinthians 15:13-18 NIV
“If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.”
And, also of importance, we’re not talking about an abstract relationship with God here and now, where the communication is only one way, from us to God. That’s not what Jesus promised us and it’s not what people who have committed their lives to Jesus experience. There is two way communication and you’d have to experience it to appreciate it and confirm it’s reality.
I’m going to leave you with four scripture verses and ask you to ponder the truth that I consider is contained in them.
John 17:17 NIV where Jesus is praying to His and our Father in heaven about us: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
Psalm 19:1 NIV where the Psalmist tells us “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” That would be the singular event in the Big Bang where our universe that was created out of nothing, before all space, time or matter existed. Try thinking outside of that box.
Romans 1:20 NIV is where the Apostle Paul tell us “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Do you really think that our planet earth is common or ordinary, or that the code in DNA just evolved by chance? You might want to check into the probabilities factor on either of these realities.
Romans 2:14-15 NIV is where the Apostle Paul explains to Jews who already had the Mosaic Law (the laws of God given to Moses), how our Gentile (non-Jewish) consciences have God’s laws about what is right and wrong already written on our hearts: “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.”
And finally, five questions:
Is what you believe based on hearsay and/or just random thoughts and ideas that you’ve unconsciously just put together over the years?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how highly have you ranked the importance of trying to determine why we are here and what, if any, purpose is to be found in our existence?
Are we, in your estimation, just an accident of random chance, with no more significance than a withering blade of grass that lives and dies?
If material gains are important, why is it that we place love (an immaterial value) above all else?
If God is real and His Son Jesus is real and your spirit lives on after this body dies, when you die and God asks you what you did with the witness of His Son, Jesus Christ, what do you think your response will be?
If you’d sincerely like to know what I believe is God’s answers to these questions, try reading through the entire New Testament and then decide. You owe that to yourself and to those who you love.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!