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John 18: What Is Truth?

In John 19, Jesus is brought for trial, and at the end of the chapter He is brought before Pontius Pilate as the acting Roman governor at the time. Jesus engages Him on the issue of truth.

Joh 18:37  Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Joh 18:38  Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.

Jesus spoke about truth as an actual entity. It was not some type of hypothetical. Jesus was there to bear witness to the one and only truth. Pilate then responds by asking what truth actually is. I think we find that same type of dilemma in the world today. Many people feel like truth is something undefined. They talk about it as something that is kind of wishy-washy or ambiguous. It is almost like some kind of giant gray area.

It does not seem like Jesus handled truth in this way. When He is talking about truth, He did not negotiate. He talks about truth is something that is actual. Jesus came to bear witness to the truth. That is a distinctly different message.

I think that is something we need to keep in mind. There is a difference between a world where truth is negotiable and where truth is actual. There is a difference between subjective and objective. One is where the world seems to move towards, and the other is what it seems Jesus was referring to. As a result, we need to figure out where we are.

Psalms 43: A Christmas Psalm?

Merry Christmas to all of you out there! I hope that you have a wonderful holiday and enjoy time with friends, family or whoever else you might be spending the day with. As you can obviously tell, we are not taking a holiday from reading a chapter per day, so today we are in Psalms 43.

We do not know the author, but in my opinion, it sounds a lot like what David had written in previous Psalms. The interesting part about this one is that he (or I guess possibly she) makes a very appropriate request considering today is Christmas.

Psa 43:3  O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.

Psa 43:4  Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.

The author is asking for the light and truth to come from God, and after that has happened, the author will be able to approach the altar of God.

How perfect is that?

Let’s talk about light and truth. Jesus was indeed both of those things for the world.

Joh 1:7  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

Joh 1:8  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

Joh 1:9  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

As most of you probably already know, these verses are speaking about John the Baptist’s mission to tell people about Jesus. Jesus is indeed the true Light.

Joh 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Jesus being the Truth brings quite a few implications along with it. It implies absolute honesty, and it also implies omniscience. If Jesus is truth by nature, then it seems to me that He must be able to provide the true answer in every situation. The only way to do that is to be omniscient and understand all things about every situation.

Now, with these two characteristics, we then read about approaching the altar of God. In the Old Testament, you had to be a priest if you wanted to do that. As I understand it, the altar was generally the territory of the priests as they needed to handle sacrificing and other things.

Notice then that because of this Light and Truth, this author is going to be able to approach the altar. Perhaps the author was a priest, but we don’t know that for sure. If the author was not a priest, then we are talking about a game changer. We are talking about someone who is capable of giving all people direct access to the God of the universe. It sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it?

Jesus came, lived, died and rose again. He provided the perfect sacrifice that covers over the sins of anyone who will receive that forgiveness. That is really the most miraculous part of Christmas. It was the first step in a process that provided salvation for you and me. It is the best gift you could ever receive.

Psalms 27: My Light and My Salvation

Psalms 27 presents some pretty popular verses, and when we dive right into it, we find something very interesting.

Psa 27:1  Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

I want you to take just the first sentence. God is light and salvation. Therefore, whom shall I fear? As a result of God being light and salvation, this rhetorical question is reconfirming that we have nothing to fear.

What does that mean though that God is our light and our salvation?

Light is a pretty common image in the Bible. For example, Jesus described Himself as the light of the world.

Joh 9:5  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Also, we hear about the Bible being compared to a lamp.

Psa 119:105  Nun. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

We hear about sin being darkness, and it is pretty obvious that God is the opposite of that which is light. God is perfection, and that is what the light symbolizes here. We do not need to fear because we have the perfect God on our side, and He is greater than anything we might face.

Now, why does salvation cause us not to fear?

One thing is for certain.

Mat 10:28  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

We don’t need to worry about anything that can happen to us here on earth. I don’t want to deny that terrible things can happen, and I know that there are a lot of bad things that happen. However, I do want to say that we need to remember that salvation is the ultimate gift. If we have that, then no matter what we face here on earth, living infinitely with God will be worth all of that.

So, why don’t we need to worry? We have the power of God behind us as symbolized by His perfect light. He cannot sin, and He is more powerful than all the darkness that might be around us. Beyond that, we have the gift of salvation. This gift basically goes beyond anything that we might have here on earth. These are two great promises that we can rely on every day.

Job 18: How Not to Be

Job 18 talks a lot about what is wrong with being a wicked man. Job’s friend Bildad is obviously doing this because he believes that Job is exactly the kind of man is describing. However, in my opinion, this is a pretty good description for any of us if we are apart from God.

Job 18:5  Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine.

Job 18:6  The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him.

Job 18:7  The steps of his strength shall be straitened, and his own counsel shall cast him down.

I obviously picked this set of verses because as Christians, we are called to be the light of the world. However, if we are not living the way we should, our light will not be shining.

Again, I think this is a pretty convincing evidence that we do have a sin nature. I know that philosophers like John Locke have argued that we are born as a clean slate, tabula rasa. Generally, as far as I understand it, they are talking about knowledge and the fact that we are not born with natural knowledge. They would argue that nurture is a lot more important than nature. However, if anybody ever tries to extend that philosophy to being born without sin, we need to make sure we know what the Bible says.

All humanity has inherited a sin nature.

Rom 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Therefore, we are all the wicked people without a light that Bildad describes apart from Jesus Christ. When we begin to follow Him, we come through a kind of transformation.

Mat 5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

When Jesus comes in, we receive light that we can then show to the world. For a really overused cliché, we basically do catch on fire for God.

That is the application for today. We need to make sure that we have that light in our lives. Job probably did not appreciate the words of his friend in this particular context, and I do not think that I would either. However, they do provide a nice image of how not to be. While it may not be optimistic, self-examination never hurts.

2 Chronicles 21: A Prophecy Later Fulfilled

I bet that you never thought we could find a prophecy regarding Jesus in 2 Chronicles 21. However, check this out.

2Ch 21:6  And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD.

2Ch 21:7  Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever.

In Old Testament times, I am sure that the reference to the light was generally interpreted as some type of divine right to rule. It would make sense. However, in New Testament times, there is only one person who is described as being the source of light.

Joh 8:12  Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Obviously, He was born out of the lineage of David, and because of that, there’s no way that the Light will ever depart from the books of that family’s history. It is a fact.

Biblical prophecy is a very interesting thing. Obviously, it is not a healthy thing to automatically try to impose meaning on a text recklessly. However, when you see a phrase about something lasting forever, it is probably safe to assume that there is something superhuman going on. Then, when you hear about a light that is obviously used in a metaphorical sense, you have to wonder where else that phrase is used in the Bible.

Jesus claimed to be the Light of the World, and we know that he was born out of the family of David. It all comes together.

2 Kings 3: Do People Think We Are Different?

I know that I have written a lot about not caring what other people think about you. That is true to the point that we should not be ashamed of Christianity. However, we are also called to live up to a certain standard, and I hope that we are able to stand out as something a little bit different.

I want to focus in today on one particular passage from 2 Kings 3.

2Ki 3:11  But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may enquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.

2Ki 3:12  And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the LORD is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

Apparently, it was pretty obvious that Elisha was a man of God. I hope that I am able to give that type of impression to people as well.

We are called to be different, and we are called to be followers.

Mat 5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

The light is drastically different from the darkness around it. There are obviously visual differences. Light looks different than darkness. As Christians, we need to live differently. Some things might be okay by the world, but if they are not okay by the Bible, we need to try to avoid them.

2Co 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

When you become a new Christian, you become a new creation. In fact, you are entirely different. Belonging to God is different than belonging to the world.

Again, I know that I write a lot about not caring what people think, but I do hope that people do realize that we are living what we preach. We need to make sure that we are living the way that God wants us to live.

Deuteronomy 27: Spiritual Blindness

Deuteronomy 27 is not a very uplifting chapter. Essentially, it is a list of curses that will be held against people if they commit certain types of offenses. I want to pull out one in particular for you today because I think that there can be a few applications drawn from it.

Deu 27:18  Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen.

I do have to think that the original intent of this verse was literal. If people cannot see a where they are going, it is not nice or helpful to try to divert them from that path.

However, I can’t help but think about those who are spiritually blind.

2Co 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

There are millions of people who are spiritually blind in the world, and I can’t help but think how much worse it is to lead them off of the path. The path I’m referring to is naturally Jesus Christ who is the Way.

As Christians, we are supposed to be guides that help people find God. If people ask us questions, we are supposed to point them towards salvation through the death of Jesus Christ.

Mat 5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Now, if you’re blind, you are surrounded by darkness. You cannot see anything. However, if you were to get your vision back, light would probably be the first thing that hit your eye.

It is not that hard to see how this all fits together. We need to make sure that we are leading people the right way. It is not a good thing to drive people away from God. In fact, when they see the way we live, they should notice that there is something different. Even though this passage is probably talking about literal blindness, we need to consider what we are doing for those who are spiritually blind.

Numbers 11: Rely on God to Achieve Great Things

Sometimes we think that we can take on everything by ourselves. However, eventually we realize that we can’t and need to rely on the power of God.

In Numbers chapter 11, the people of Israel were complaining because they could not have meat. God was providing manna every day, but they wanted more and told Moses in no uncertain terms about the problem.

Moses was only human, and he knew that he had not handle this on his own.

Num 11:13  Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat.

Num 11:14  I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.

He knew that he would not be able to handle everyone and everything all the time. God knew that though, and He had a plan to help Moses out.

Num 11:16  And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.

Num 11:17  And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.

God will bring people into our lives to help us out as well. Obviously, we can do nothing without Him, but He also uses other people empowered by Him to strengthen and support us.

I think this is illustrated in the New Testament by how the church was and is supposed to function. A diverse group of people with several different gifts are supposed to work together and complement each other’s talents. Empowered by God, they should be able to achieve the purpose of the church which was outlined by Jesus.

Mat 5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Mat 5:15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Mat 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

This is important to remember. When we think that the mission is too big, God will bring people along to help us further His Kingdom on earth. All things are possible through the power of God.

Leviticus 24: Another Thought about Being a Light

Leviticus chapter 24 brings me back to one of my favorite ideas in the Bible that I’m sure I have written about before, but I hope that you will not mind.

Lev 24:2  Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.

The Israelites were commanded to keep the light in the tabernacle shining continually. Where else have we heard a lot of imagery about lights that need to shine all the time?

Mat 5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Mat 5:15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Mat 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

The imagery and the purpose are essentially identical. Lights are used to draw attention to things, so by having a light within ourselves or in the Old Testament within the tabernacle, we should be drawing people toward God.

So, what is this telling you and me to do?

Essentially, we need to not hide our faith. Like the verse 15, you do not light a candle to hide it. A candle is lit so that everyone in the room can benefit from the light. Similarly, if we are living out our Christian faith, everyone around us is going to benefit as well when they realize that it is really God that we are trying to point them towards.

Another interesting thing about our candle is that it is made to stand out. When you put a light in a dark room, the candle immediately becomes the center of attention. By living our Christian life, we are going to draw some attention because it is oftentimes quite different than the way the world is living. When we see that attention, we need to direct it towards God because that is who really deserves all the attention.

I know that you have heard a lot of this from me before, but I think that it is always a valuable lesson and is one of my personal favorites.

Exodus 27: Let the Light Shine

We’re going to come back to Exodus chapter 27, but let me take you somewhere else first.

Mat 5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Mat 5:15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Mat 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Of course, this is a very familiar passage that is often is to encourage evangelism.  As we all know, people are drawn to light because they want everything to be made brighter.

Now, going back to Exodus, the tabernacle was supposed to have a similar future.

Exo 27:20  And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.

While this is all that is said in this passage, it seems as if the tabernacle was supposed to be a light just like we are supposed to be.

What is a similarity between these two things?  God lives in both of them.

In the Old Testament, God would talk to the priests in the Holy of Holies who could then speak to the people.  When Jesus died and the temple curtain was torn, God now lives within people through the Holy Spirit.

If we have that light within us, it should naturally spread around us.  A candle doesn’t have to make a decision to shine.  Assuming that it is actually lit, the light goes everywhere and expels the darkness and just because that is what light does.

Similarly, our light should always be shining as well.  The way we conduct our lives should show people something about Jesus even if we are not actively sharing Bible verses.  That is definitely important and necessary as well, and but our entire lives should be testimonies.