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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

'The Truth Will Set You Free'; Universal Truth

According to John 18:38, Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea at the time, asked a soon-to-be-crucified Jesus this bewildering question, 'What is truth?' Jesus never answered him. Why did Jesus not answer  Pilate's question? Was it simply because 'as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth' ( Isaiah 53:7 )? Was Jesus reminding Pilate ( without a word ) that he already knew the truth, that he had no need for Jesus to tell him? Or was it something even deeper? Pilate's profoundly simple question continues to be a thorn in the side for theologians today!Is Truth absolute? Absolutely! Does one person's view, or even the majority's view decide what that Truth is? How about a book? One argument you may have heard is that the Church has taught the Truth for 2,000 years; 'really?! What branch ( denomination? )? That being the case; can we KNOW what Truth is?

To give Jesus' words a bit of context; 'Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.' ( John 8:31 &  32 ). ( interesting that these 'red-letter' words are ONLY recorded in John's Gospel ) Right there it is! Jesus told THEM ( Jews in the first century ) that they would know the Truth, which in turn would make THEM free! Now, I'm by no means saying that we today, in 21st-century cannot know the Truth & be made free; we most certainly can! But Jesus' words to the Jews that day told them that the truth of the Gospel ( about Him ) would make them free, free from the chains of  ( the ) sin & death ( of Adam ). The Ultimate Sacrifice that Jesus made for His People ( the Jews ), not long after He made this statement proved to them that they had in truth been set free from those chains!

In some sense of the word, it IS our knowledge of the Truth ( or, in their case, their knowledge of it ) that sets us free, but in the greatest sense, it is the Truth itself! We are often imprisoned within our own mind ( as they were-'How could a Man be God?' ), but when we allow our Higher Self to overcome our Mind & realize that the Truth, like 'God' Himself, is what It is, not our view, or perception of It, we are thus freed from that prison ( much as they were ). Since one's views ( there are manifold different ones out there ) do not determine what Truth is, we no longer have to defend the Truth! Think of all the wars that we might have bypassed if we had just taken this truth to heart! Some might argue that it is necessary to defend Truth, for as we read in John 17:17 ( b ), 'Your word is truth' Here, Jesus was asking His Father ( 'God' ) to set apart His followers through the Truth. For the Jews, Jesus WAS God's Word ( John 1:1 )! 

This is NOT to say that it was ONLY for the Jews that Jesus was God's Word, though in some sense one might note that Jesus WAS ( primarily ) God's Word to the Jews! As the Jewish Messiah, as we've noted previously in this blog, Jesus came to save HIS people from THEIR sin ( Matthew 1:21 ). The fact that Jesus was, or represented, Truth, which, like 'God', does not change, tells us that even today, in the 21st century, people are still being set free ( 'free your mind' ) by knowledge, or acknowledgement, of the Truth. Was Jesus the ONLY representative of Truth that ever lived on this earth? Like Jesus' response to Pilate, I'll let my readers make up their own mind ( if they so desire ). Whatever one person believes, it's bound to be different from what someone else believes. Who's right? Again, is one view ( of the Truth ) right simply because the Majority believe it to be so? Because a Book says so? Whose interpretation is true? Do we believe what somebody else, even our own mind, says is Truth, or do we calm ( our mind? ) & KNOW that 'God' IS? NOT what we think, or perceive 'God' or Truth to be, but what 'God' or Truth IS!

So, how do we KNOW Truth; as Pilate asked Jesus, 'What is Truth?' Inquiring minds STILL want to know; 'why did Jesus NOT answer Pilate's question?! Common sense tells us that it was NOT simply to fulfill a prophecy ( though it surely did that )! Like 'God', we may KNOW Truth by being still, by calming our minds, by realizing that it is NOT our perception of the Truth that makes it so. It is not even someone else's perception of IT that makes it so, even though they wrote it in a certain book millenia ago. The book in question, of course, is what we know as the Holy Bible, which has been translated, mistranslated & re-translated over the centuries! Which version do we trust? Which version is true? Some say 'This version is the ONLY true one', while others, though they might prefer one version over another, acknowledge that Truth lies within ALL versions. So; who/what do we believe, concerning Truth? Do we believe what our mind tells us is true, or do we trust our gut? Why do we not rather just KNOW ( within ourselves ) that Truth, like 'God', is what It is & stop fighting among ourselves about whose perception of Truth ( 'God' ) is correct?

Charles Haddon Shank

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