Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32
Olympic fever is upon us. That strange affliction that causes us to stay up late at night and watch sports we never would pay any attention to any other time of the year. I’m talking to all of you who stay up late watching rhythmic gymnastics. The only worse afliction, of course, is Winter Olympic fever, where we cheer people sliding rocks on ice or cross-country skiing. For all you cross country skiing advocates out there, I’m sure is an exhilarating athletically endeavor. I’m just saying no one wants to watch it outside of an Olympic year.
I freely admit I get caught up in it. Watching the best athletes from all over the world compete. Hearing their stories. And of course cheering on our own athletes. We get incredibly patriotic during the Olympics, or at least I do.
I even watch all of the opening ceremonies, those over the top displays telling the world what a wonderful country this is in which to hold the games. While I sat watching an, in my opinion, incredibly underwhelming, and frankly dull opening ceremonies from Rio, one thing did catch my eye. They had someone portraying Albert Santos-Dumont proudly get into his plane and fly over Rio. His flight was a wonderful accomplishment. However, in case you didn’t know many in Brazil consider Santos-Dumont as the first person to fly a plane, not the Wright Brothers The commentators chuckled and said something to the effect, ” I wonder if anyone in the US will be upset by this?”
In the middle of a ceremony, touting the history of a country, in front of the entire world, they add something blatantly, historically inaccurate. Not just inaccurate, but simply not true. I admit at first, I was a bit upset at the claim. I grew up near Dayton, Ohio, birthplace of both Wilbur and Orville. That history of their flight is an important part of our heritage. But as I began to think about it, I saw here as deeper, and much more disturbing issue at play here.
It was the fact no one seemed terribly bothered by it. The commentators chuckled people relay didn’t react I saw every little on social media. It attitude seemed to be one of, well if that’s why they want to believe, so what? What difference doe sit make what hey want to believe? Apparently the idea of relative truth, what you believe is truth for you but it doesn’t have to be true for me, has infiltrated even history itself.
Does truth make a difference? Not just what we believe, but is what we believe true? Is the such a thing as an absolute truth that we must hold to? Is there truth that isn’t shaped by culture isn’t malleable by popularity and trends? And does that truth make any difference?
This is what makes Christianity so stunning to the world and why it creates such controversy. The Christian faith, unapologetically says that not only is there an absolute truth that we can know that truth and that truth desires to know us. When we claim that Jesus is the way, we mean there is no other way to find salvation, joy, happiness worth having except through him. When we say he is The truth we do not mean He is a truth for us but not necessarily the truth for someone else. We mean we judge all things, their worth and how true they are by Him. We do not judge Jesus to be true by how much he meshes with current culture or thought. No, we measure the truth of our culture by Jesus and His word. When we say He is the life, we mean just that. Not a life, but the life, a real life that makes a difference, that matters is found in how much we follow after the one who is true.
As I said, this puts us at odds with a world that has lost any understanding of absolute truth. so how do we convince them? The best apologetics to our faith lie in how we live. A world that doesn’t believe in an ultimate truth will only come to believe it when they witness it in the lives of ordinary people. When they see us live out a difficult and at times inconvenient truth, when they see us going the extra mile, forgiving the unforgivable, loving the unlovable turning the other cheek, loving with a unconditional love, then they will believe. Then and only then will they see the truth. And then they will be set free.
Does truth matter? Yes it does. But not just for us. There is an entire world lost to the truth, who are desperately looking for something that is true that doesn’t shift. They are looking for hope, and freedom. Will your life show them the truth?
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><