What is Truth?

We are continuing our thoughts from yesterday on the topic of Truth (Scroll down for yesterday’s meditations). Can we really decide for ourselves what the truth is? Can the truth really be known? With all of the religions, and ideas, and concepts of truth in the world, all of them cannot be right. Only one can be. So, which one is it?

In order to answer this perplexing question, we join an important historical figure who asked the same question about truth. In the 18th chapter of the Book of John, toward the end of Jesus’ life in the flesh, we find the Roman governor of Judea – Pontius Pilate, who was asked to make a decision about what to do with Jesus. During a series of questions, we read: “Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

Pilate’s response was not only rhetorical but filled with cynicism. One can only imagine the tone of voice he used. He was convinced that no answer existed to the question of “What is Truth?” Jesus had just said “Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice,” thus proving that Pilate was not among one of those whom the Father had given to the Son. To further seal his position, Pilate publicly washed his hands of the blood of Jesus.

What a profound statement that Jesus had just made: “Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” In another place we read that Jesus also said, “My sheep hear my voice, and they know me.” When we hear someone’s voice, we hear their words. Hebrews 1 tells us that in these last days God has spoken to us through his Son. To hear the very voice of God, we need only to read his Word. To audibly hear the voice of God, read his Word out loud.

Now that we know where to find the truth (in His Word), how to find the truth (by reading His Word), there is one more reality that is of utmost importance concerning the “Truth” – what it actually is.

The answer is found early in the 14th chapter of the book of John. Jesus was preparing his disciples for his soon-coming departure from this world. He tells us that He is leaving to go and prepare a place for us, and in verse four He said: 4“And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

In this one statement, Jesus gives everyone who ever lived the answer to the question “What is Truth?” The truth in this regard is not only a “generally accepted set of facts defining reality” – it is a Person –  The Person of Jesus Christ. When Jesus said, “I Am the Truth” (emphasis on “I Am”) He settled for all of eternity and to the utter exclusion of any other religion or way, to know the Truth. Jesus Himself is the Truth. Furthermore, by this statement He establishes also that “No one comes to the Father except through Me”. Only one way, not many ways, exists to God.

To know the Truth, you must know Jesus Christ. If you do not know Him, you do not know the Truth.

Mike Engel

I Want to Know the Truth!

In February 2016 actress Amanda Peet appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The conversation was the typical general chitchat, but eventually took a turn towards discussing, of all things – death. Eventually Mr. Colbert asked her what she worries about, and she said that she fears death.

  • Colbert: “We all die… Maybe you’ll go to heaven”
  • Amanda Peet: “I want to know what to believe in!
  • Colbert: “Like what happens after you die?”
  • Amanda Peet: “Yes! I don’t want to become a bag of dust!”

The Media quickly pounced on her “outburst” as captured in a news title a day or so later: “Amanda Peet has Existential Meltdown on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” – Title of short clip on Yahoo News 2/19/16

While actors and actresses are very, very good, at concealing who they really are and at playing a part that represents someone else who is not themselves, we all know that the better they are at doing so, the more highly compensated they are. In a seemingly lighthearted way Ms. Peet was actually revealing something very serious deep inside her own soul.

When she asked, “I want to know what to believe in,” she put forth a question that countless millions of people at some point seek an answer for.  This question has been asked and answered in so many different ways throughout the ages, that it is understandable how such total and utter confusion could lead someone to believe that you could never know the truth. This is certainly reflected in the myriad of religions, sects, denominations, beliefs, and even cults. The list is endless. Everyone seems to claim to have and to know the truth. Probably one of the more famous cults in modern history was The Peoples Temple, led by Jim Jones where he led a mass murder/suicide of 918 of his followers in Jonestown, Guyana on November 18th, 1978. This is a perfect example of towards 1000 lost people, following a lost leader, to a lost eternity. Most of them firmly believed that Jim Jones held the truth and paid for it with their very lives. Another cult, though not so famous, was “Heaven’s Gate” where on March 26, 1990, thirty-nine people participated in a mass suicide in order to reach what they believed would secure them a seat on an extraterrestrial space craft ride following the Hale-Bopp comet for a ride into heaven. …Okay…Now while the greatest majority of the human race would think this is ridiculous, these 39 people believed that their leader, Marshall Applewhite, held the truth, and again, lost people followed a lost leader, into a lost eternity. Not to mention David Koresh, Charles Manson, and numerous “wolves in sheep’s clothing” throughout the ages. But what about all of the “mainstream” religions throughout the world; Islam, Shintoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and every other kind of ism that man can devise? Surely every single one of them would certainly claim that they know the “truth.”

A look at a dictionary definition of the word Truth:

  • conformity with fact or reality
  • a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, visible, or the like
  • an obvious or accepted fact

Quite interestingly, regarding “religion,” this leaves things quite open to one’s own interpretation of what they want to believe. One person’s reality concerning this matter can be in total opposition to another person’s reality. There is a principal called “The Law of non-Contradiction” which simply explained is:

  • Either I am right, and you are wrong,
  • Or you are right, and I am wrong,
  • Or we are both wrong.
  • But we both can’t be right.

Can we really decide for ourselves what the truth is? Can the truth really be known? With all of the religions, and ideas, and concepts of truth in the world, all of them cannot be right. Only one can be. So, which one is it? We will look at this question of what is the truth tomorrow.

Mike Engel

Can a Man Forgive Sins?

It never ceases to amaze me about how biblical prophecy was remarkably fulfilled in great detail even though it was spoken hundreds of years beforehand. In the prophecy of Isaiah, for instance, God told us that He would send a Messiah, a man that would be more than a man; He would be God in the flesh:

14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14)

 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (Matthew 1:23).

Some say that Jesus never went around claiming, “I am God.” I agree that Christ was far too humble of soul to state such an arrogant statement, but when you look in detail what He did and said, it was evident that He saw Himself as God. Take, for instance, the healing of the paralyzed man:

3Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7“Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11“I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:3-12).

In this passage, we see an indirect claim to be God. Christ claimed to be able to forgive sins—an astonishing claim! C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity puts it well when he writes,

“One part of the claim tends to slip past us unnoticed because we have heard it so often that we no longer see what it amounts to.  I mean the claim to forgive sins: any sins. Now unless the speaker is God, this is really so preposterous as to be comic. We can all understand how a man forgives offenses against himself. You tread on my toe and I forgive you, you steal my money and I forgive you. But what should we make of a man, himself unrobed and untrodden on, who announced that he forgave you for treading on other men’s toes and stealing other men’s money? Asinine fatuity is the kindest description we should give his conduct.  Yet, this is what Jesus did.  He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured.  He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the person chiefly offended in all offenses. This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws were broken and whose love is wounded in every sin.  In the mouth of any speaker who is not God, these words would imply what I can only regard as a silliness and conceit unrivaled by any other character in history.”

Do not miss this truth, my dear friends. God has come to us in human form and shown us His great love for us by taking the penalty that our sins deserve—death and separation from God. Isn’t it time to receive Him as Savior and Lord—for that is exactly who He is! Keith Thomas

Does the Old Testament Say That God has a Son?

Does the Old Testament say that God has a Son? The Tenakh is what Christians call the Old Testament. The Tenakh is the sacred writings inspired by God for Jews and Gentiles (Non-Jews). The Jewish people have been faithful in their responsibility to keep these sacred writings free from error. So, what does the Tenakh (the Old Testament) say about God having a Son?

6“I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” 7I will proclaim the LORD’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. 
8Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. 
9You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” 10Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. 
11Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. 
12Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, 
for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him (Psalm 2:6-12).

There is a King coming to the people of Earth, a mighty warrior King who will put down all evil and rebellion against the Most High God. Verse 11 says that we are to pay homage (kiss) to this King. Everyone who places their trust in this King will be blessed and be able to take refuge in Him (verse 12). The Holy Scriptures, the Tenakh, says that this King will be God Himself

Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him (Isaiah 40:10).

You might be a Jewish person, but perhaps you have never read the Tenakh, for most Jewish people read only the first five books of Moses. Just so that you know that there are more places than one that God says that He has a Son, what about the book of the Tenakh called Proverbs? When talking about some of the attributes of the Creator God, the writer of Proverbs says:

4Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know! (Proverbs 30:4).

This mighty King of Israel is the same suffering servant that we wrote about a few posts previously. His name is Jesus, which means The Lord our Savior. He has come once to deliver us from the guilt and shame of our sin, but He is also coming again as our mighty King and deliverer from the satanic forces of deception that are at work in the world. Surely there is never a better time than today to kiss the Son and take refuge in Him. Bow the knee to Him and call upon His Name that your sins and guilt be washed away and that when He comes, He will come as your King and Deliverer.

Keith Thomas

The Ascension of Christ

We are meditating on the last words of Christ before He ascended to heaven (Scroll down for yesterday’s thoughts). Before ascending from Bethany on the Mount of Olives. His instructions to the disciples were:

I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

God can do more in five minutes through His Spirit working in you and through you than you can do by yourself, attempting to work things out in your own human strength and ability. We all have God-given abilities and natural strengths that God has placed within us. These gifts are to be used for God’s glory. The words “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49) denote something that is being bestowed upon them for a specific purpose. This power from on high was necessary to transcend what they, the disciples could do through their own human efforts. What a wonderful thought that God can clothe us with His strength and His Spirit to do His work here on earth!  He adorns us with Himself even while we are in this earthly form. I find this truth to be very encouraging because it tells me that, even when I am feeling helpless in a situation, out of my depth, or just inadequate for a task, then I know that His Spirit is sufficient for me. After spending time with His disciples, instructing and preparing them for forty days, it was finally time to leave them, physically:

50When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God (Luke 24:50-53).

The vicinity of Bethany is the other side of the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem. Luke writes again in the Book of Acts about this same account when Christ was taken up from them in bodily form:

10They were looking intently into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” 12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is near the city, a Sabbath day’s journey away (Acts 1:10-12).

While they waited for the Spirit’s filling, the disciples used the time by boldly meeting together in the Temple courts and praising God (Luke 24:53), not caring about anything that the religious elite might do to them. In quiet surrender, have you ever held your hands up to God and asked Him to fill you? Are you thirsty for more of Christ? That is the major qualification to be filled with the Spirit:

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given since Jesus had not been glorified (John 7:37-39).

Why don’t you come to Christ today and abandon your life into the Good Shepherd’s hands? He wants to take away your doubts and fill you with His Spirit if you will ask Him. Jesus has promised the believer His abiding presence. He promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. Whatever this life holds in store for you, He promises that you will not face it alone (John 16:7-14).

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. Click on study 66 at this linkJesus Appears to the Disciples (Luke 24:36-53). Keith Thomas.