Keeping On The Side Of Truth

We live in an increasingly noisy world with so many voices vying for our attention. To stay on the side of truth, we need to listen to Jesus.

Keeping On The Side Of Truth

August 5, 2021

I still remember laughing with my young students as we read The Emperor’s New Clothes. Entertaining and engaging, this classic fairy tale from Hans Christian Anderson always pleased my young crowd. (If you are unfamiliar with the tale, you can read it here.)

We couldn’t help but chuckle as the vain emperor fell for the cunning lies of two crafty swindlers. Presenting themselves as expert weavers, they claimed to create clothes made of incredible cloth, visible only to those effective in their jobs, or incredibly wise. Afraid of seeming inept or stupid, the emperor and all his subjects fell for the ruse. Only an innocent child had enough courage to notice and point out the truth. At the end of the fairy tale, even though the emperor suspected the truth, he refused to admit it. He continued to march proudly in front of his subjects, even though he wore only his underwear.

I can easily laugh at the emperor who foolishly chose to believe the lie, even after hearing the truth. But sometimes it’s easier to maintain the status quo and follow a lie than to stand up for the truth. 

In the gospel of John we see a man caught in the same conflict between truth and lies. Because Roman law did not grant them the authority to execute someone, the Jewish leaders brought Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea. Before giving the command to crucify Him, Pilate tried to determine if Jesus had committed a crime deserving such a death. As he questioned Jesus, the two of them had a conversation about truth:

You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. (John 18:37-38 NIV)

As Pilate asked his rhetorical question, What is truth?, I can’t help but see the irony. He already knew the truth: Jesus did not commit a crime punishable by crucifixion. But the majority of the people surrounding him believed Jesus deserved to die on a cross. Although he tried to reason with them, they continued to cry out for Jesus to be crucified. Like the fictional emperor, Pilate found it easier to ignore the truth. But his choice led to far more sobering consequences. Yielding to the riotous crowd, he turned Jesus over to be crucified. (John 19:4-6

In stark contrast to Pilate, Jesus came to testify, or bear witness to the truth. Jesus had one purpose for coming to this world: to teach us the truth about the Father. Throughout His life and ministry, He taught and held to the truth, even when it became unpopular and dangerous. 

In the second part of His statement, Jesus issued a challenge: Anyone who claims to be on the side of truth must listen to Him. Pilate, the first to hear the challenge, walked away from Jesus and chose to listen to the noisy voices of the crowd. 

In today’s world, we don’t normally face a shouting mob. But the internet and social media platforms give rise to thousands of voices, all vying for attention. The sheer volume of notifications, posts, comments, tweets, texts, video stories and emails can feel deafening and overwhelming. If I’m not careful, I find myself spending more time scrolling through the internet and social media than listening to the Word of God. While not everything posted are lies, they are also not all true. 

To stay on the side of truth, I need to be intentional with my time and energy. Sometimes this means taking a break from social media and spending time absorbing the truths in the Bible. Listening to Jesus keeps me on the side of truth and protects me from following lies.

As I continue down this road, I pray to focus on listening to the One who leads me into all truth. Wherever the road leads you, I pray you can do the same. 

Keeping On The Side Of Truth

August 5, 2021

We live in an increasingly noisy world with so many voices vying for our attention. To stay on the side of truth, we need to listen to Jesus.

I still remember laughing with my young students as we read The Emperor’s New Clothes. Entertaining and engaging, this classic fairy tale from Hans Christian Anderson always pleased my young crowd. (If you are unfamiliar with the tale, you can read it here.)

We couldn’t help but chuckle as the vain emperor fell for the cunning lies of two crafty swindlers. Presenting themselves as expert weavers, they claimed to create clothes made of incredible cloth, visible only to those effective in their jobs, or incredibly wise. Afraid of seeming inept or stupid, the emperor and all his subjects fell for the ruse. Only an innocent child had enough courage to notice and point out the truth. At the end of the fairy tale, even though the emperor suspected the truth, he refused to admit it. He continued to march proudly in front of his subjects, even though he wore only his underwear.

I can easily laugh at the emperor who foolishly chose to believe the lie, even after hearing the truth. But sometimes it’s easier to maintain the status quo and follow a lie than to stand up for the truth. 

In the gospel of John we see a man caught in the same conflict between truth and lies. Because Roman law did not grant them the authority to execute someone, the Jewish leaders brought Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea. Before giving the command to crucify Him, Pilate tried to determine if Jesus had committed a crime deserving such a death. As he questioned Jesus, the two of them had a conversation about truth:

You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. (John 18:37-38 NIV)

As Pilate asked his rhetorical question, What is truth?, I can’t help but see the irony. He already knew the truth: Jesus did not commit a crime punishable by crucifixion. But the majority of the people surrounding him believed Jesus deserved to die on a cross. Although he tried to reason with them, they continued to cry out for Jesus to be crucified. Like the fictional emperor, Pilate found it easier to ignore the truth. But his choice led to far more sobering consequences. Yielding to the riotous crowd, he turned Jesus over to be crucified. (John 19:4-6

In stark contrast to Pilate, Jesus came to testify, or bear witness to the truth. Jesus had one purpose for coming to this world: to teach us the truth about the Father. Throughout His life and ministry, He taught and held to the truth, even when it became unpopular and dangerous. 

In the second part of His statement, Jesus issued a challenge: Anyone who claims to be on the side of truth must listen to Him. Pilate, the first to hear the challenge, walked away from Jesus and chose to listen to the noisy voices of the crowd. 

In today’s world, we don’t normally face a shouting mob. But the internet and social media platforms give rise to thousands of voices, all vying for attention. The sheer volume of notifications, posts, comments, tweets, texts, video stories and emails can feel deafening and overwhelming. If I’m not careful, I find myself spending more time scrolling through the internet and social media than listening to the Word of God. While not everything posted are lies, they are also not all true. 

To stay on the side of truth, I need to be intentional with my time and energy. Sometimes this means taking a break from social media and spending time absorbing the truths in the Bible. Listening to Jesus keeps me on the side of truth and protects me from following lies.

As I continue down this road, I pray to focus on listening to the One who leads me into all truth. Wherever the road leads you, I pray you can do the same. 

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2 Comments

  1. Sheila Daniel on August 18, 2021 at 1:19 PM

    I love your comparison of the fictional emperor and Pilate. I’d never thought of it like that, but it’s so fitting! Thanks for sharing your insight. 💜

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on August 18, 2021 at 2:03 PM

      Thank you Sheila! 💕

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