The truth will set you free
By Phil Steinbach
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
- John 8:32 (NIV)
Ain't technology grand?
I was cruising the Internet (doing research for my sermon, of course) when I came across an interesting bit of information. Did you know that if you type the phrase "Britney Spears" into the Google Internet search engine, it will return to you a list of more than 79.4 million web pages of juicy rumors to choose from? No doubt, every bit of it is true.
Just kidding. Somehow, I don't think 79.4 million pages of computer assisted gossip constitute truth. But you have to admit, the sheer volume of information is impressive. When Jesus was talking about truth, he must have had something else in mind.
Jesus described truth as something with an objective reality about it that exists even before we can know it. Truth has a presence about it that does not serve our purpose, but God's purpose. John's Gospel makes it abundantly clear that it is God who creates truth. It is God who reveals truth. Indeed, the entirety of Chapter Eight is devoted to God's truth seeking us, finding us and raising us up.
What is also abundantly clear is humanity's peculiar resistance to the truth. Even when the truth stands before us to challenge our appetite for self-indulgence, we turn away. Self-gratification trumps God's plan and purpose for our lives. We seek our own reality rather than God's reality. You have to know that such a perspective is a fool's errand.
God is the source of truth and life. Living in sin is living apart from God. Living apart from the source of truth and life translates into certain death and destruction. This truth is woven into the very fabric of reality. Living in sin places us in a prison from which there is no escape. There is no ignoring this reality.
We have a choice.
We can live as if there is no God and no reality other than the prison we create for ourselves. The alternative is to consider the invitation to the freedom of life and love God has offered in Jesus Christ. The 13 words of truth in John 8:32 can accomplish what the 79.4 million pages of a Google Internet search cannot. They can set us free.
Phil Steinbach, is an area Methodist Church pastor