The Spirit of TRUTH
Happy Father’s Day!
It was at the dinner table and the son asked, “Dad, are bugs good to eat?”
The father replied, “Shhh, let’s not talk about such things at the dinner table, son.”
After dinner the father asked, “Now, son, what did you want to ask me?”
“Oh, nothing,” the boy said. “There was a bug in your soup, but now it’s gone.”
There once was a duck that wants to fly like an eagle. He tells the bull standing nearby, “Look at that eagle resting on top of that tall tree. I wish I could fly that high.” The bull lifts his head up and looks at the eagle and says, “Well, I’ve heard that eating my poop can make you fly.” The duck exclaims, “Really?”
He decides to try and waits until the bull poops and swallow some of it. A few hours later, he tries to fly, and he found himself at the lowest branch of that tree. “It works!” he feels thrill and eats more bull poop. The next day, he is able to fly to the middle of the tree. He gets completely pumped up, and decides to eat more.
After a few days of eating bull poop, he finally reaches the top of the tree. He rests on top of the tree and feels extremely satisfied with his accomplishment. “Wow, this bull poop, the B.S., works!” Suddenly, “Bang!” a hunter sees a sitting duck on top of the tree and shoots him down.
The bull looks at the dead duck and exclaims, “Well, it’s true that BS will get you up there, but will not keep you up there.”
Our world is full of B.S.
Our world is surely full of BS and people begin to believe that in order to be successful you have to be full of BS. The danger is, if you believe the only way to rise up in the society is through employing a lot of BS, you will end up doing the same. The truth is, it may get you up there but will not keep you up there. So, don’t let your mind be influenced by the BS, or the fake news, but look for the truth.
The question is what is the truth? Two thousand years ago, Pontius Pilate asked Jesus face to face, “What is truth?” because Jesus said to him, “I came into this world, to testify to the truth.” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Eventually, Pilate put the truth on the cross and crucified him.
In fact, the entire passion story is full of lies. The Caiaphas, the high priest, broke the laws of Jewish court system to convict Jesus.
First, the trial was held in secret. Jesus was arrested at night, so that people wouldn’t know his arrest. He was quickly tried by Caiaphas without public awareness.
Second, it involved bribery. The priests bribe Judas Iscariot to betray him. Bribery was against the Jewish law. That’s another sign of corruption among the religious leaders of the time.
Third, Jesus had no one present to defend Him. There was no defense lawyer. Maybe no one dare to speak up for him. Even Peter, who was able to sneak into the court denied him three times.
Fourth, there were no witnesses. There was a requirement that an accused must have at least 2-3 accusers at the trial, but none was there.
Fifth, they used Jesus words against himself. They asked trap questions and trick questions to get Jesus self-incriminated. Nothing is new, isn’t it? If you follow the news, you would see that our lawmakers are still playing the same tricks and laying the same traps to incriminate whom they hate. It has become a culture of guilty before proven innocent.
Six, they carried out the death penalty the same day. Capital punishment required a long period of trial and wait time in prison, but by the next morning, the sentence was announced and by noon Jesus was already nailed on the cross.
Less than 24 hours after the last supper, Jesus was buried. It was a well-planned scheme to crucify the man who is the personification of Truth. It reveals how corrupt this world was, and maybe is, that it cannot handle the truth.
Pilate stood face to face with the Truth and asked, “What is truth?” He could not find truth because even though he knew Jesus was innocent, he still thought Jesus was dispensable, when necessary to protect his own office. According to some historians, Pilate ended his life by suicide.
What is truth? Using the word TRUTH as a mnemonic acrostic, let us discern Truth based on today’s scripture lesson from John 16:12-15 and other related verses.
First, truth is transcendental. What it means is that truth transcend human nature. We cannot find truth by our own effort because we are blinded by lies. Jesus said in John 8:44, “You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (Jn 8:44).
From the moment human beings were taken in by the lies of the devil, we became blinded by lies and lost the ability to discern the truth. In order to keep us from the lies, God gave us the laws through Moses. However, the laws cannot take us to the truth. The more laws we have the more cunning we become and the more laws we learn to break. That’s why we need grace and truth.
John 1:17 says, “The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
Since grace and truth came through Christ, the only way to know truth is through Christ. Jesus said in John 14:6c “I am the truth.” The truth is not a thought, not a concept, not a philosophy, not a social construct, but a person. So, instead of asking, “What is truth?” we must ask, “Who is Truth?” because it transcend human ability to put it into words or thoughts.
Today, not having Jesus here physically, we have been given the Spirit of Truth. Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth;” (Jn 16:13).
1 Corinthians 9:2-10 says, “But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him’—these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.”
The job of the Holy Spirit is to reveal God’s truth to us. Notice it also says that “for those who love him.” I have talked about this last week. One of the two conditions to receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is that we must love Christ. We cannot treat Jesus as a Genie to give us our wishes on demand. He requires us to love him passionately and not transactionally.
God’s truth is revealed to those who love him.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Mat 24:35).
“The sum of your word is truth; and every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever." (Ps 119:160).
Truth is unchangeable. It’s absolute. One of the problems in our society is that we think truth is relative. We wrongfully think my truth is true to me, and you have your own truth that is true to you. We think saying this makes us appear tolerant, but when we sacrifice truth for tolerant, we become ignorant.
The reason Pontius Pilate asked, “What is truth” reveals a human hunger and thirst for truth. Even though we struggle in the swamp of lies, we know there’s such thing as truth deep inside. It may be from are conscience or from what John Calvin called, “the sense of divinity” and “the seed of religion” that we are created with.
No matter how messed up we are, at the end of the day, we ask, “What is truth?” because we hunger for the absolute. Without it, our life is built on sand—a house of cards. With it, our life is built on the rock.
There are some absolute truths that we know. For example, murder is always wrong.
Truth is unchangeable either in time or space.
Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (Jn 8:31b–32).
The truth will set you free. It’s transformational. The fundamental human desire is freedom, before happiness. We ultimately search from happiness, but freedom comes first. That’s why our founding fathers stated, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Of course, life comes first. Without life, we have nothing pursue, but as long as we have life, we want liberty—freedom. Then with the freedom, we pursue happiness. Truth sets us free.
Truth also transform our health. University of Notre Dame did a major research a few years ago that shows that those people who tells the truth are healthier. Some people think telling a little bit of white lies does no harm, but the study shows that you might improve your mental and physical health if you cut down on the fibs.
Of course, the state of freedom will also sets us free from many kinds of sicknesses related to stress and anxiety.
Lastly, truth is our home. All our lives, we want to return to the truth because it’s our home sweet home. It’s the most comfortable place. The Bible says we BELONG to the truth, not just know the truth.
“This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” (1 Jn 3:19–20).
How do we know that we belong to God? Our hearts condemn us when we divert from the truth. There’s a story about a thief who became a Christian and got baptized. He felt he is now a new creation and no longer a thief.
However, a few weeks later, he came to the pastor with sadness and asked, “Pastor, I stole again last night. If someone is in Christ, he is a new creation, why did I steal again? Why am I still a thief?” The pastor asked, “What happen when you steal before you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?” He said, “I was excited and proud of myself each time I stole something, especially something big.”
“How do you feel now?” the pastor asked. “I feel guilty,” he replied. “See, that means you are a new creation. You are not proud of the sin of theft anymore. You are condemned by your heart because you belong to the truth and you have a more sensitive conscience. Now you know the truth, so sin no more.”
Since Jesus is the truth, it’s reasonable to say that those who belonging to him belong to the truth.
Here’s the TRUTH in summary:
Let’s belong to the truth. Amen!