By Mary Lindow through the Holy Spirit
Truth is slippery.
A lot more slippery than any of us want to admit.
And we do have to, in a sense, choose what to believe.
Pontius Pilate seemed quite comfortable with that. Jesus was "talking truth" and Pilate lived in a place of work where “truth” was meaningless. All that his employer cared about was results!
The world’s vision of truth is attractive.
It allowed Pilate go back to his home at the end of the day…it allowed the Priests to deal with that "problematic man Jesus" while still being able to eat the Passover.
It sends the crowds home from the protest hoping that the rebellion will start soon and be successful. (That sure sounds familiar doesn’t it!)
Pilate was dealing with those "pesky" Hebrews.
The poor guy is the governor and he can’t even get the latest group of complainers to come into his house because it’s Passover, that would make them “unclean,” and they wouldn’t be able to eat the sacred meal.
Now Imagine that!!
Being the governor, and having to go outside to hear the complaints of your subjects? Your subjects whose "truth" meant that your palace was unclean? You can understand why the guy got maybe a bit sour.
His employer just wanted the people under Pilate to behave!
That was a pretty tall order among a people as fiercely independent as the Israelites. The Romans didn’t care all that much how order was maintained; they just wanted Pilate to "make it happen"!
Israel after all, was a center of commerce, and disturbances, and rioting there were inconvenient and they were expensive.
All of this left very little time for Pilate to talk philosophy with this troublesome Jesus fellow. He needed results!
"Truth" for Pilate meant keeping order, keeping peace, keeping his job. That’s what he chooses to believe in. Even so…he tried to give Jesus a fighting chance.
But the crowds?
Well, they don’t cry out, "What is truth?"
But, they did CHOOSE what to believe.
Jesus has proclaimed a kingdom of truth.
THE truth that God’s will is realized
when we live lives of compassion and healing.
A truth that we are all loved by God and called to live this love out for one another. It’s a truth that has stood the world on end…
...But the crowd decides instead to believe in the old standby.
Barabbas the thief, who was a violent man, the kind of guy who is useful to a revolution, is the one they cry out for.
They want what they want…
..and so, aren’t really all that different from Rome or Pilate in their way of dealing.
They’ll trade truth for the hope of what they’ll see in terms of "results."
And, we all too often...
…We choose on our own, what to believe as well.
Repentance means "to turn" in the scriptures, to "turn away from.
But it’s not easy!
And it doesn’t help that the words of our Master—(who stands in passive protest against the established powers of the world as he answers Pilate), has had his words mangled and misinterpreted over and over again by those who frankly, wanted Jesus to sound a little more like "them."
The world teaches us its version of truth.
The world teaches us to think: "It’s mine, I earned it."
Jesus says, "It’s a gift, share."
We learn to think,
“They need to follow my rules."
Jesus says, "The greatest rule is love."
We learn to think, "I’ll give when my needs are met."
Jesus says, “Think that way and you’ll always need more.”
We learn to think, "me first."
Jesus says, "be last."
The world’s truth keeps you from ending up like Jesus.
It gets you to resist taking a cross for what IS truth.
Believing in something means acting and sacrificing for something, and what Jesus wants from us is not our dying, but rather that we live a life dying to our own selfish ambition which most are VERY proud of. (They will tell you exactly how proud they are of their achievements and skills often, or, live secret lives of self gratification because THEY deserve the rewards!)
The cry of God’s heart is that we would understand that,
the “way of God” is way beyond "our way".
The way of God IS our call,
and that the way of God is the path to freedom.
In the end, we have to choose what to believe in.
Fortunately for us, faith is also a gift, a gift God gives us.
But that doesn’t mean living it doesn’t take some effort.
We are called to be light to this world.
We are called to care.
We are called to make the effort!
Let's walk with our Master.
Let's take the path of sacrifice, and let our lives reveal and radiate the joy of "living out God’s love" for others.
Perhaps then, the world will see that "what is truth"...
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"THE MESSENGER" ~ Mary Lindow
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