As you prepare for worship, you may want to read the following texts:
John 18, John 6
This is the second worship in our series responding to The Passion of the Christ . We will explore Pilate's famous question - "What is Truth?"
Song #647 - "Soldiers of Christ, Arise"
Song #652 - "We Have Heard the Joyful Sound"
Song #238 - "You Are the Song That I Sing"
Song #294 - "You're the One"
Brief Scripture Reading
Song #287 - "There Is a Redeemer"
Communion - John 6:58; John 6:55-56
Song #622 - "Ring Out the Message"
Song #290 - "Shine, Jesus, Shine"
Pilate Ive met him before. Hes as familiar as me. He can convince himself that he has contributed to the construction of the world he occupies, but somehow he doesnt feel at home in it. There are moments when he recognizes that that is just a veneer covering the reality that hes just another part of the huge, cosmic system. That the world he thought he constructed is just an illusion.
Pilate is a truth seeker. Hes looking for something real and with substance. Something that reveals the mystery of the universe.
We are truth-seekers. We ache not for truth, but the truth.
Think about that. Theres no cosmic battle between Satan and God in the garden. Adam doesnt mount a rebellion. Eve is no evil witch commanding the powers of darkness. The tragic moment hinges on a lie that really doesnt seem all that bad. Its a lie that says "Hey, theres another way of looking at this Eve. Im just saying, youve got options. Look here, Adam, Im just saying maybe its time to trust in yourself and grow up a little. You dont have to believe me, but Im just telling you what I heard I mean is that really what you heard God say? Im just saying, maybe theres another way to look at this."
And thats how the lie spreads like a virus. Finally, there are so many different ways of perceiving the world, that we cannot see or hear clearly anymore and suddenly it strikes us Everything we call our world and home is an illusion, a subtle distortion of the truth. We live in a virtual reality which amounts to an illusion; an imitation of the truth.
But what if there is no true reality? When Pilate asks, what is truth? He may be asking with hope that this bruised man in the chains with the Galilean accent might actually be able to reveal it and he may also be making a statement with his question that there really isnt such a thing as truth. The only truth is that which we make for ourselves.
This is all because of the lie the illusion the veil, the cataract that clouds our vision. Gods love his good news, is this he restores our sight so we can recognize the truth. He restores our sight by reconciling us. So the separation into our own personal truth is transformed by relationship
The Gospel cannot be reduced to a formula like E=mc2. No offense to other religions, but the gospel of Jesus Christ cannot even be reduced to a confession such as "Namu amida butsu" or "There is one God and Mohammed is his prophet." There just isnt an equivalent to that in Christianity but havent we tried? I understand how its helpful to condense biblical teaching to four spiritual laws or even five steps of salvation. But reducing the gospel truth down to a formula like that apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ misses the truth. Jesus didnt come among us to amend the instructions and simply announce that theres an easier take on the 10 Commandments that reduces it to two. In his words, "For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the worldto bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice."
Jesus is the truth He IS the way, the truth, and the life. John 8:32- Jesus disciples know the truth and the truth has set them free. The truth they know is more than fact its a person. And a reunion with the Father, the restoration of our home-world, comes through a relationship with Jesus. And our confession, repentance, and baptism are not simply religious obligations wed better perform if we want to be secure in the next life. In Johns gospel, Jesus uses a rather unique image to describe himself a door. "I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture." John 10:9. In baptism, we unite with Jesus theres relationship. Its the loose plank in the fence through which we can escape the false world of the lie and enter into the kingdom or truth.
Jesus invites us. Not to sign up for an exemption from hell. Not to the big house in the sky where we all float around like wisps of smoke. Not even to our evolution to divine beings (trying to become gods is what got us into this mess!) but Jesus uncovers the mystery and casts light on the illusion he shows us the door he shows us the way home - he invites us into his life even now. He calls us to be born again into the new humanity (John 3). He shows us what it means to be truly human. Jesus is truth.
Invitation Song #628 - "Will You Not Tell It Today?"
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