Mike Gerhardt, 04-21-19, Easter Sunday. What is Truth? John 18:28-40. Jesus said many difficult and wild things: I and the Father God are one. Son of Man will be killed and on the third day will rise from the dead. I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me shall never die. How does that sit with you? Does it generate questions like: What is truth? What questions are on your mind? Did I set the timer right for the baked ham? If this isn’t too long, can we make the Easter Egg Hunt? Will I get lots of candy at grandmas? Will the Steakhouse at lunch be packed? Should I have deducted my kids PlayStation as an education expense on my 1040? Why did Jesus come into the world? John 18:37, Jesus said to testify to the truth. But Truth is debatable! Right? The gospels record that Jesus said: I tell you the truth over 85 times, which is Amen twice. ἀμήν is Hebrew related amam to believe. 150 NT occurrences. A custom passed from the synagogue to the church: when one read, preached or prayed, others responded with an amen to affirm the truth of the prayer or reading. Like saying true that. Transliterated from Hebrew to Greek to Latin to English it is a universal word. It came to mean truly, an expression of absolute trust. Jesus said: amen, amen, verily, verily, truly, truly, I tell you the truth 25 times in John. He said amen before he spoke because he wanted people to know the truth and didn’t need their affirmation. In the Truth Project videos, Dr. Del Tackett shared years ago, the word whatever was verbal shorthand for a response to life, a resignation, a denial of meaning and purpose. When a person responds with whatever, they're saying the topic doesn’t matter, or perhaps you don’t matter. We are living in a whatever world, where truth has been stripped of its meaning and replaced with personal preference. It’s an age where ideas, lifestyles, behaviors are considered of equal value. One TV lawyer said: the first rule of the defense is that the truth is overrated. Barna Research Group revealed our feelings about truth: 75% of all adults believe there is no such thing as absolute truth; two people could define truth in totally conflicting ways, but both could still be correct. 44% of all born-again adults and only 9% of born-again teenagers believe in the existence of absolute moral truth. 47% of adult Americans believe that to get by in life these days, sometimes you must bend the truth for your benefit. Some 70% of teenagers admit to cheating on exams. Our culture believes absolute moral truth is unbelievable. All moral claims have been reduced to an opinion. No one is right or wrong, just subjective expressions of personal preference. Remember the story of the Hindu blind men standing around an elephant. One touched the side of the elephant and said it’s like a wall. One held its tail; an elephant is like a rope. One stood beneath its massive ears as they waved back and forth, an elephant is like a fan. In other words, truth depends upon your point of view. What is true for you may not be true for me. Though this Hindu parable is to teach that everyone is right, the fact is the men were BLIND! Their perspective of spiritual truth is handicapped by their blindness. A man said: There are two sides to every issue. Another replied: Yes, just like there are two sides to a sheet of flypaper, but it makes a difference to the fly which side he chooses. We think truth is debatable. Pilate was a man who believed truth was not only debatable, but that absolute truth was unattainable. Pilate rejected black and white, preferred shades of gray. Most are quite apathetic when it comes to absolute truth. We may appeal to our idea of truth but not absolute truth. We are not rejecting truth just rejecting someone else’s truth. Pilate was in charge. He was the judge and jury. In his mind, not only was truth debatable and absolute truth unattainable but given a situation truth was exchangeable. History records that when the Jews irritated Pilate, he would simply put them to death. My rules. My definitions. Nobody challenged his authority. Pilate hated the Jews and the Jews hated him. Pilate refused to be their executioner. He’d seen the Triumphal Entry. He knew envy caused their accusation against Jesus. Yet from the moment Jesus stepped thru the door, Pilate lost control of the situation. Jesus spoke with authority of a man who was judging Pilate rather than the other way. Pilate asked Jesus if He was the King of the Jews. Pilate tried to interrogate Jesus. Jesus replied My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me. This rattled Pilate. John 19:10 Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you? Jesus replied: You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. This unnerved Pilate. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. John 19:8-9 Pilate becomes even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. Jesus claimed to be absolute truth. Is truth debatable? No. Unattainable? No. Exchangeable? NO. In Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll, Humpty Dumpty speaks to Alice in a scornful tone When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more or less. Alice said: The question is whether you can make words mean so many different things. The question is, said Humpty Dumpty, which is the master - that’s all. A dictator is the master of his words, his definitions & the final authority. Any other authority is to be questioned. We’re like that. We will agree with truth only when it agrees with us. The story is told of 3 sons whose father died and left 3 tasks: sell 40 acres of their ground for the burial; use some money to dig another well; buy a gravestone from my friend. Well, they decided to sell the property that had never produced a good crop. They looked at the well, the needs of the farm and agreed to dig a deeper well. The boys went to the stone mason and realized he charged twice what they could get in the city. So, they got the gravestone in the city. Question. Did the sons obey their father in two of his three requests? They didn’t obey their father at all. They only followed their father’s wishes when it agreed with their wishes. The cosmic battle for Truth is real. John 14:6 Jesus said I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Jesus, the Messiah, is the only one you can trust to give total truth. I can’t be that person. You can’t either. No president, no congressman, no religious authority can give you total truth. Only Jesus can. Jesus has the truth because only Jesus is the truth. There’s an old hymn that goes like this: Jesus is standing in Pilate’s hall, friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all: Hearken what means the sudden call! What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be; someday your heart will be asking, ‘What will He do with me?’ Jesus told all who would listen: I am going to be killed, & on the third day I will rise from the dead. And he did just that.