“Truth”

A Good Friday Meditation

April 19, 2019

The Rev. Todd R. Goddard, Pastor

West Walworth: Zion & East Rochester United Methodist Churches

jezus-and-pilate.jpg

 

John 18:33-38 (http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=422412919)

 

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him.

 

Prayer.

 

The truth is …

 

The Passion narrative from St. John

Has led me to brew on Pilate’s rhetorical question to Jesus

“What is truth?”

 

The truth is

In today’s world so often

Avoided, exaggerated, interpreted, hidden, stretched, bent, or simply denied.

 

What is it about the ninth commandment

“Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor”

(Deuteronomy 5:20)

That it is so hard to comprehend and practice?

 

The truth is

Significantly different from telling a lie.

Lies, or bearing false witness, as the Deuteronomist would say,

Deviate from the truth for personal gain.

Lies expose the selfish, self promotion, unbridled self interest.

The size of the fish I caught is exaggerated

Simply so that you will think more highly of me and my fishing skill.

 

The truth is

Significantly different from the opposite of fake news.

This would require one to assume that all news was truth.

Yet, we all should be aware that news is blurred,

Sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally,

By point of view, cultural blinders, moral and ethical assumptions, implicit or explicit biases, and religious beliefs.

 

The truth is

Really, really hard to pin down.

On the one hand are cold, hard facts.

On the other hand are deeply rooted beliefs.

This apparent contradiction has unnecessarily pitted science against religion for centuries.

 

The truth is

Believers believe and deniers deny.

And it’s really, really hard to lever someone to cross to the other side.

Then along comes Jesus.

 

“For this I was born,

And for this I came into the world,

To testify to the truth.

Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

(18:37b)

 

The truth is

Truth can only be found in the testimony of Jesus Christ.

 

The truth is

“In the beginning was the Word,

And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (1:1)

All things came into being through him. (1:3)

Life came into being. (1:4)

Life led to light,

The light of all people.

 

The truth is

“The Word,” God, that is,

“Became flesh and lived among us.” (1:14)

 

The truth is

Found in his testimony:

“I am the Bread of Life.

Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and

Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (6:35)

Truth.

 

“I am the Light of the World.

Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness

But will have the light of life.” (8:12)

Truth.

 

“I am the Gate.

Whoever enters by me will be saved, and

Will come in and go out and find pasture.” (10:9)

Truth.

 

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

No one come to the Father except through me.” (14:6)

Truth.

 

“I am the Vine,

You are the branches.

Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit,

Because apart from me

You can do nothing.” (15:5)

Truth.

 

“I am the Good Shepherd.

The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (10:11)

Can you hear Mary weep?

Can you see Jesus breath his last?

 

Truth is

“I am the resurrection and the life,” Jesus testifies.

“Those who believe in me,

Even though they die,

Will live,

And everyone who lives and believes in me

Will never die.” (11:25-26)

 

This gives us hope;

An expectation for what awaits us

In just three days.

 

Truth is

I am unable to convince anyone of the truth.

Like everyone else,

I am only able to testify to the truth of Jesus Christ.

 

The lever that leads to belief ...

The catalyst of conversion ...

Is God’s gift of grace,

His presence in the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

The Holy Spirit knows our condition, circumstances, and needs

Before we know them;

Before even our birth.

The Holy Spirit uses the testimony of apostolic commission

To lead the unbeliever to the altar of

Repentance, forgiveness, conversion, and justification.

And the Holy Spirit fills the breath of the newly converted,

Abiding within,

Empowering testimony

To this wonderfully beautiful, newfound truth.

 

Don’t worry about what you are to say.

The Spirit will give you the words.

 

Truth is

When darkness falls and

We strip this sanctuary of all color;

When we lay his body in the tomb and

We return home this cold, cold night;

We know …

We know the truth.

 

Truth is

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ

Is not God’s final word.

Amen.