In John 18, Jesus is having a conversation with Pontius Pilate. Jesus has been arrested by the Jewish leaders, already endured a false trial before the Jewish high court, and is now standing before the Roman governor, who is being pressured by the Jewish leaders to kill him.
Pilate is trying to figure out who Jesus is and why the Jewish leaders handed him over to the Romans to be put to death. As they converse, Jesus says the reason he came to earth was to “testify to the truth.”
But Pilate mocks this concept. He responds, “What is truth?”
I think Pilate would fit well in our 21st century. Many people today seem to say, “what is truth?” They think, “what’s true for you may not be true for me,” which is another way of saying, “what is truth?”
When it comes to food or art – sure, you can have different “truth.” One person thinks chocolate is amazing. Another thinks it’s awful (and we all know THAT person is completely crazy! 😉 You could then say that they both speak the truth, even though they have differing opinions.
But with most things in life, you can’t do this. You can’t look at a blue shirt and say it’s red, then claim that it is your “truth” that blue is really red. To do so makes you a modern-day Pilate.
So with most things in life, truth is truth. It just is, no matter what you believe or say.
The Knife of Truth
But let me caution you – truth is like a knife. When you “wield” it, some will be scared and run away. Already in Riverwood’s short life, I’ve been told that our church (or me particularly) is too “fundamentalist,” narrow-minded, and conservative – simply because I choose to believe that there is truth. So people have run from the idea that we want to be a Jesus-centered community of truth. (The ironic thing is that I’ve also been told I’m not conservative enough!)
But the reason we “lean on truth” at Riverwood is because of what Jesus himself said in John 8:32:
“…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
You see, the truth Jesus is talking about is Himself. When you know Jesus, He will set you free from your sin.
Truth sometimes hurts. It is usually uncomfortable to face our sin. But when we let Jesus wield the knife of truth, like a master surgeon, He carves out our sin, removing it from us, so that we might be spiritually alive and free.
This is why we will lead with grace, welcoming ALL people regardless of their past mistakes, but we will also lean on truth, leading them to the One who loves them exactly as they are, but loves them too much to leave them that way. We will lead them to the truth of the gospel.
So may YOU lean on truth. May you not be afraid of it. May you continue to study it through reading Scripture and being part of a Growth Group or Fight Club. And as you continue to pursue truth in Jesus, may you experience more and more the freedom He generously gives.