The truth is that much has not changed through history. Specific details, where and when and what happened, vary. But human nature is still human nature. And I need a Savior.
For weeks, we have been reading the Old Testament story of coming destruction. It is as if we are watching someone’s slow deterioration as a result of a terminal illness or probably more like destructive behavior. Life will not turn around until that person “hits bottom”. Repeated warnings by the prophets do not bring change. The destruction of Israel does not change Judah’s ways. Repeated invasions by foreign armies do not alter Judah’s direction. We, the readers, are left to watch the slow destruction and human cost. All the while, we know as does the writer of Psalm 112: “Surely the righteous will never be shaken, they will be remembered forever.”
And in John’s gospel, we have reached the point in the story where the slow slide to Jesus’ execution suddenly accelerates and even those who might have helped (Peter, the disciple, couldn’t he have done something? Pilate, the governor, he knew Jesus was innocent. The Jewish leaders, was Jesus really that harmful?) just let one man suffer. Even today, we can rationalize destructive behavior – at least he only hurt himself. It is hard for me to read. It is ugly and painful and unfortunately resonates somewhere deep within me.
So, what is truth? Jesus said, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 19:37) The Truth stands there in person. Pilate didn’t see it. Caiaphas didn’t see it. I’m not even sure Peter could see it yet. But John wants us to see it. It is what the cross will mean. Truth is what Jesus is. Jesus is dying for Barabbas, and for Israel, and for the world, and for you and me.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
Today’s readings: 2 Kings 24; Jeremiah 22; Psalm 112; John 18