|Jesus is condemned before Pilate: courtesy LDS.ORG|
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraided not; and it shall be given him.
My brother, (the evangelical minister) asked a question. Well, the first part of every question he asks concerns my motivation in joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Sometimes the question is psychological: “Was it your family life that motivated you to join the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS or “Was it me?”
I wonder if he’s trying to stage an intervention. He seems to be having a crisis of faith lately; maybe he is overwhelmed in his new “calling”. He has expressed disappointment and had even considered an alternative “spiritual” path. I wrote back and told him that I had similar thoughts while searching for the right church to join. I told him that what had motivated me to investigate the Church was that I was looking for the “truth”. I had questions about life and mortality, specifically; what happens when we die?” Is there a heaven or hell, and most of all, I just wanted to know if God knew who I was and did he love me?” Very simple questions; so when I found out that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is THE TRUE CHURCH of Jesus Christ, I was in and I never looked back. I told him that even Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, was looking for a “true” church.
So my brother’s next question was: What exactly did you mean by “true”? And I was speechless for a minute, because I was sure that most people know what is true or the truth. Of course my mind went to a darkly comic place; my favorite scene in the movie “A Few Good Men” where Tom Cruise cross examines Jack Nickelson’s character concerning “the truth”. He says rather emphatically “I want the truth!!!” and Jack Nicholson screams “You can’t handle the truth”. In John 18:33-38 Pontius Pilate has the task to “cross-examine” Jesus. He has returned from Herod Antipas who has found no reason to commit him to death, and now it is up to Pontius to weigh the evidence. He wants the truth: (I will ad lib here)
JOHN 18:33-38 (One Good Man)
33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?
(Jesus: You want answers?)
34 Jesus answered him, Say thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?
(Pilate: I want the truth)
35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?
(Jesus: You want answers)
36 Jesus answered, my kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
(Pilate: I think I am entitled to them)
37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered; “Thou say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.”
(Jesus answers: You can’t handle the truth)
38 Pilate said unto him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.
So what is truth? Is there only one true church? Now, these answers seem obvious to you and I, but take a missionary moment and explain to one who is seeking wisdom and has asked this question. Jesus is the truth and he came to bear witness or testify of the truth. What is that truth?
John 14:6 Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man come unto the Father, but by me.
Let’s break down this verse:
I AM: These words establish that Jesus is God. It is amazing that toward the end of his ministry, he will use these words or words similar to his disciples in the hope that they will “get it”. I AM in Hebrew is translated as YAHWEH, a powerful name that ancient Jews considered it extremely sacred, that they dared not speak it, too much.
Exodus 3: Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God
John1:1 in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
You could almost translate this verse as “I AM” the beginning (alpha), I AM the only begotten of the Father; I AM God.
I think that some of the disciples were slow on the uptake, particularly Thomas:
John 14:5 Thomas said unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou go; and how can we know the way?
THE WAY: The word way is the Hebrew word “derekh” which literally means a road or a path. A really good example of this “way” is in 1 Nephi 8: concerning Lehi’s dream.
1 Nephi 8:10-1210 And it came to pass that I beheld a tree whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.
11 And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof, and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.
12 And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy, wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it, for I knew it was desirable of all other fruit.
Acts 4: 12 neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
So the way or the journey or salvation is inextricably connected with the Saviors name. We can stumble upon a road to salvation, but we need to know the name of that road, and where it leads. So the Savior bids us to “Come” and follow his path, his righteousness which is the truth.
THE TRUTH: The truth is the power of God; the written word, the spoken word. The truth is His very life, his laws, his righteousness. A sword if you can imagine.
140: Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loves it.
142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth
144 The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding and I shall live.
Truth is freedom: John 8:32 and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.
THE LIFE: John 1:4 in him was life; and the life was the light of men.
What is that life? I feel like Jacob in 2 Nephi 9:50-51
50 Come my brethren, everyone that thirst, and come ye to the waters; and he that have no money, come buy and eat; yea come buy wine and milk without money and without price.
51 Wherefore do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perish not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness.
2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.So, what is truth? I think that I can share with my brother that Jesus Christ is truth. Jesus asked his disciples, "Have I been with you this long, and you still don't know who I am?" One of his disciples asked if he would "show them" the Father, it would suffice. Jesus said in so many words, if you have seen me you have seen the Father. So, if you know of me, if you have a fledgling relationship, if you are seeking, you know the Truth.