Sunday, January 4, 2009
About a half century ago, literally on the other side of the world, the Reverend Billy Graham was delivering one of his typical fire and brimstone sermons 'Down Under' in Australia. The theme of his sermon that day revolved around what he called "the greatest question ever asked by any man." That questioner to whom he was referring was a bit notorious. It was Pontius Pilate, the first century Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea who has become legend for having condemned Jesus Christ to death by crucifixion. While being questioned by Pilate, Jesus stated "...for this I came into the world, to testify to the Truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." Pilate responded with his simple question that has resounded through history as that greatest ever to be asked: "What is truth?" However, Pilate asks his question dismissively of Christ. As he asks the question, he waves Jesus off and walks away, as if to say 'yeah, right' or 'gimme a break'. But it is not as if Jesus Christ had never answered this question, for he had done so on numerous occasions previously, and none more famously than is presented in the Gospel of John. In John 14:6, Christ proclaims that he is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Today's world is full of what have become known as 'relativists' who claim, as the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said: "You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist." In philosophical circles, this has become known as 'Moral Relativism', that what is right for you is right, and what is right for me is right. There is one huge problem with all of this, of course. No two individuals, or groups of people, or religions can always both be 'right' in a relative way. If I claim that a certain patch of land is mine, and you claim that same patch of land is yours, then we have a legitimate dispute that cannot be resolved by any claim that we are both right. The fact is that, as Reverend Graham put it on that evening in Australia, when Jesus Christ makes the statement that he is "..the Way, the Truth, and the Life" he did not stop there. His statement finished with "No one comes to the Father except through me." This leaves you, that means anyone reading this, anyone who has been in existence since that time who has heard that claim, with only two choices. Either Jesus Christ was everything that he said he was, or he is a liar, a fraud, and a scoundrel. Your choice. That is the basis of the entirety of man's decision making process since the time of the beginnings of Christianity. The great joy is that so many have come to understand the ultimate truthful answer, that Jesus Christ is indeed the Way to a personal relationship with God, that he is the Truth of existence in every word that he ever spoke, and that he is the Life that we all seek in eternity. Christianity rose from the humble beginnings of a few dozen close followers to the largest belief system on the planet in just over two millenia. It did so despite being the direct target of those who would have stamped it out wholly and utterly, at times when it appeared the odds of its survival were insurmountable. It ultimately grew strong and prospered because at its very heart is that ultimate Truth that is the answer to the greatest question that any man has ever posed. The answer to Pontius Pilate's question of "What is truth?" is Jesus Christ. If you haven't come to that realization yet, I implore you to look closer. Get yourself a Bible, turn to the New Testament, and read Christ's words. They will inspire you if you have never taken that time before, and the more you read, the more you will understand. The more you understand, the more the Holy Spirit will fill your life. The more the Spirit moves within you, the closer you will get to understanding and accepting that Truth. And as we have come to know, the Truth shall set you free.