Life Beyond Horizons Ministry receives many emails, comments and prayer requests in any given week and they range in topic from encouragement to questions about faith and requests for prayer. But one thing I have noticed over recent months is a certain uptick in one particular area – a growing frustration among believers with the outright lies and deception that permeates our world, even finding it’s way inside the church. Once trusted sources are also becoming suspect – leaving many to wonder who can you trust?
I was recently engaged in a very direct discussion with an acquaintance regarding faith and the world today. This person had broached the subject of religion, knowing I would not back away from the topic, and he was determined to discredit the Bible as nothing more than a collection of allegories and fables. My simple response was this, “the Bible, the collected Word of God, is Truth.” He immediately responded, almost shouting, “the Bible is NOT Truth!” In fact, he repeated the statement twice for emphasis. Our discussion continued on for quite some time, but that’s not the point of this discourse. What fascinated me was this person’s strong reaction to this word – Truth.
In today’s society, reference included with apologies, truth is akin to beauty – it exists within the eye of the beholder. What once was foundational, beyond reproach, this day is measured on a sliding scale of subjective inference. Truth is the proverbial glue that holds nations together, without truth, the concrete foundation of civil discourse is reduced to shifting sand. Consider this, if there is no truth, then there can be no lies.
In George Orwell’s book 1984, he envisioned a dystopian nightmare experienced through his protagonist Winston Smith, a governmental everyman laboring away deep within the bowels of the Records Department at the Ministry of Truth. His work is as forthright as it is diabolical, to rewrite history – or delete it altogether – by any means necessary, to eradicate any contradictions with current statements of the elite. The end result is a polished version of truth that corroborates the current day propaganda. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Those in control become able to exercise their truth within a sliding scale of relativism, an ever changing moral reality.
The truth in its purest form stands on it’s own merits – factual, indisputable, and verifiable. The problem with truth is that it becomes terribly inconvenient when one side is determined to impose their will upon another. They justify their tools of subterfuge while utilizing a stratagem of deceit to achieve their goals. Their outcome is presumed of such vital importance it thereby justifies any violation of accuracy as acceptable for the common good.
This is of course nothing new – in Jesus’ time on earth, his teachings of servant leadership, putting the needs of others above one’s own self, flew in the face of the establishment. Just like today, when someone stands up and dares to disrupt and dismantle the corrupt systems that the elite have manipulated for their own pleasure – that system will not idly stand by while their golden calf is slaughtered. The Pharisees schemed and plotted, behind closed doors, to kill the one that spoke Truth. When they had arrested Jesus their heinous plot was launched into motion.
The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus answered him. “I have always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, where all the Jews gather, and I haven’t spoken anything in secret. Why do you question me? Question those who heard what I told them. Look, they know what I said.” When he had said these things, one of the officials standing by slapped Jesus, saying, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?”
“If I have spoken wrongly,” Jesus answered him, “give evidence about the wrong; but if rightly, why do you hit me?” John 18:19-23
Later in scripture they had removed Jesus to be interrogated by the Roman prefect (governor) of Judea, Pontius Pilate. In reading these scriptures, one thing is clear, Pilate by all measure is the current day politician we elect and re-elect ad nauseum, to serve our tattered democracy. Ever ready to pontificate, convinced of their own grandiose abilities – yet when pressed to make the right and just decision in the face of outrage, they choose the cowards way out. They infer some level of reason, then publicly wash their hands of the situation. Pilate knew that Jesus was an innocent man, having done nothing to merit arrest, let alone a punishment of death. But faced with a growing demand from the populace to crucify this man called Jesus – he could not find it within himself to do what was right. Let’s read on in the following verses.
Pilate told them, “You take him and judge him according to your law.”
“It’s not legal for us to put anyone to death,” the Jews declared. They said this so that Jesus’s words might be fulfilled indicating what kind of death he was going to die. Then Pilate went back into the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about me?”
“I’m not a Jew, am I?” Pilate replied. “Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”
“My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”
“You are a king then?” Pilate asked.
“You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
“What is truth?” said Pilate. John 18:31-38
As unexpected as this might seem, this is exactly the reason all believers should be joyful and full of hope. These scriptures demonstrate how God’s perfect plan of salvation was effectively administered according to His will.
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17
My point is this, what if the Governor of Judea at that time had been a strong leader, full of courage and resolve, ready to rule with a swift hand of justice based in truth. Jesus would undoubtedly have been released back to the Jewish leaders, who under Roman law, were not allowed to carry out the death penalty. God’s will is perfect, but we struggle to understand His ways, but here we have the benefit of hindsight. God had to allow Pontius Pilate to be in that position of authority at exactly that time in order for the perfect plan of salvation, meaning Jesus’ death on a cross, so that all of mankind could be redeemed.
In understanding this method, through study of scriptures, we can and should stand up with courage in facing each day, filled with hope, knowing that God is in control. As one of our readers shared with me, “things are not falling apart, they are falling into place” according to God’s plans. I love that quote and I want to drive this point home. We are witnessing some of the greatest turmoil of any generation that has preceded us and it can be unnerving. We see so called leaders taking high office and we wonder how can this be? Look no further than the example of Pilate. God allows those officials to hold office only to satisfy His will for mankind. But for everyone that has accepted Jesus into their heart, we have no reason to shrink back and hide, or sit in fear of some unknown danger lurking just around the corner. We have work to do – our best life is ahead of us – so get up, sing God’s praises for another day, and go about your work, your errands, whatever you have to do, with a happy countenance of peace. Be that light in this dark world so that others that might be living in fear, not having the benefit of a personal relationship with God, will be drawn to that light that represents the love of Christ. This is your opportunity to be a living testimony to a life set apart from this fallen world.
The world today is on a downward trajectory, and I’m not even talking about the pandemic, but the evil forces that have come out of the darkness into full public display, its ghastly. Violence in the streets, mass killings, anger, a total loss of any semblance of self control – all of which makes perfectly clear, because we are not of this world, our lives as Christians should stand in stark contrast in peace and hope.
In closing, I want to share these words from Jesus, and I want to pay particular attention to the context in which they were spoken. Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane on the very evening he would be betrayed at the hands of Judas, leading to his crucifixion and resurrection. This was his prayer, on behalf of His disciples, which stands in scripture for all believers, to God our heavenly Father.
“Now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy completed in them. I have given them your Word. The world hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I am not praying that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by the Truth; your word is Truth. As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. I sanctify myself for them, so that they also may be sanctified by the Truth.“ John 17:13-19
We do not have to ask “What is Truth?” The Word of God is Truth and in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John goes on to tell us that the Word became flesh and gave himself as a sacrifice for many. Jesus told us that he is “the way, the truth and the life.”
Jesus also said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Matthew 12:30
Study the words of scripture and allow yourself to be filled with joy and hope. Let that peace that surpasses all understanding guard your heart and mind. Do not let the evil within this world steal your joy – acknowledge God in all things and stand firm in Truth.
God Bless you for reading, please reach out to us if you have not accepted the free gift of salvation that comes through Jesus Christ. For believers, we encourage you to step up in faith, request our free ministry cards and join our Community Missions Team in sharing your faith in your own community.
John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons Ministry