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Thursday, November 15, 2007

You Can't Handle the Truth!

One aspect of jury duty that I found intriguing, and a little intimidating at the same time, was the burden placed on us to discern truth. The judge made it very clear in his instructions to us on the first day that we alone were responsible to judge the credibility of each witness, and based on that judgment to determine if their statements could be believed.

On about the third day of the trial, the prosecution brought in an eye-witness who was central to their case. He had observed the entire accident scene and his testimony could seal the deal. Unfortunately for the prosecution, he was only minutes into his testimony when his story began to unravel. Details didn't line up with the scene, his memory changed with each answer, and his own story contradicted itself. When it was the defense's turn, they blew his story out of the water.

As jurors, we were left to wade through this murky pool of information and decide what was true. For some jurors, they felt he should be given the benefit of the doubt. Others believed that we should throw out everything he had said. In the end, we chose to only accept those parts of the story which could be confirmed by physical evidence or the testimony of other witnesses. His shaky version of truth made our decision very difficult.

This situation resonates with something I was reading today. In his book, Soul Cravings, Erwin McManus talks about truth. He says, "If you discover that the source cannot be trusted, you will naturally conclude that nothing he said is true even if he told you the truth." McManus goes on to say that the more reliable and trustworthy a person is, the smaller the leap of faith it is to commit to their words.

This is again what makes Jesus so unique. Many people look at him as the one who came to proclaim truth and make known the words of the Father. This is accurate to a degree, but it misses the greater reality of who Jesus is. Jesus made an interesting declaration about himself. He said to his followers in more places than one, "I am the truth." Not, "I am telling you the truth", or "the words I say are true" (although he certainly claimed that as well), but "I am the truth." Jesus was taking truth a step further; from impersonal statements to personal reality. Jesus said that if you want to know truth, then get to know him. And the awesome reality is that as we come to know Jesus personally, we know that the words he says are true.

What this brings up for us is how we approach faith. Often, we believe that we get to know Jesus by understanding his words first. But Jesus would seem to say that we should first get to know him, and as we do that, we will understand the meaning and truth behind his words.

This is why Pharisees and other religious people struggled with Jesus. They wanted to understand his words first, and those words were often offensive, confusing, and shocking. On the other hand, fishermen, sinners, and prostitutes had no problem believing his words because they first believed in Jesus. They got to know him, they saw his heart, and they trusted his love. After that, believing and living out his words was simple.

How about you? Are you struggling with the truth of Jesus' words? Some of them are very difficult to accept, but I believe that as you get to know the man- as you observe his actions and seek Him in your spirit- His words will become life, and truth, for you.

Journey in His truth today.


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