Is your truth a perception or a person?
John 14:15-31 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. 20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 28 You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. 30 I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; 31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.
One of the things that has astounded me for years is that in so much of our culture and society; in so much of human philosophy, truth does not matter. The concern is not about what is, but rather about how it seems, what each individual or group’s perspective is. Reality has become individualized based on feelings and perception rather than fact. According to the world, each person can choose their own reality, and so their own truth. If a person feels or perceives something outside of what is real and evident, society is expected to conform to their reality rather than to the truth. In today’s text, Jesus answers why it is that the world has come to this point. He begins saying: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” That first word, “if” begins the explanation or the understanding of the problem our society and culture has with truth and reality. God created people with a free will, an ability to choose what we will do, how we will think and believe. One of the primary choices that each person must make is to choose if they will love Jesus. It follows that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. So, the choice we each must make is whether or not we love Him, and not whether we will keep His commandments. 1 John 4:19 says: We love, because He first loved us. We have a choice to love or not, but our ability and our capacity to love is rooted in the fact, the truth, the reality that God and Christ first loved us. In Jeremiah 1:5 God says: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you.” He loved us before we were. Jesus says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (John 3:16-21) Created with a free will, an ability to choose, each person has a choice of how they will respond to God’s love, whether they will love Him and believe in His Son, or they will love darkness rather than light. If we love Jesus, we will keep His commandments and we will practice the truth, so that what we do will be manifested as having been wrought in God.
In today’s text, Jesus continues explaining the conditions related to the decision of whether we love Him. He says: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” The world; our society and culture makes truth out to be a philosophy or a concept. But Jesus says: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) Truth is not a concept, it is a person, Jesus Christ. Jesus says that He will give the Spirit of Truth to those who choose to love Him, to those who keep His commandments. The world cannot receive truth. Because they choose not to love Jesus, they don’t see Him or know Him. It makes sense then that if they have chosen not to love Jesus, who is the person of truth and they do not and cannot receive the Spirit of Truth; that truth would be beyond them. Everyone must believe in something, so if they do not know or have truth, then it follows that they would believe a lie. Their own perception or feelings become the basis of their reality rather than the truth and reality of God’s love.
Jesus continues saying: “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him… If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” God loved us before we were, but to remain in His love we must choose to love Him, loving Him we will keep His commandments. We are created with a free will, an ability to choose many things. We cannot though, by our own will, by our own choice, change the truth. Our culture, our society, media have all come to believe that they can create the truth by saying what they believe. Believing a lie and repeating a lie does not make it the truth. The world says that whatever is true for you is truth. It says there are many, even unlimited ways to believe and perceive truth. Jesus says: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth.” Each person must choose either their own truth based on their own feelings and perceptions or God’s truth, based in love; His first love for us, His love demonstrated in and through Christ and His continuing love for those who love Him and keep His commandments.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ the way the truth and the life; precious Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth thank You that You loved me first, even before I was formed, created by You. You loved me before I could choose whether or not I would love You. Because of Your love, Your first love and the love demonstrated through Jesus on the cross, I choose to love You. Loving You I will keep Your commandments to the best of my ability, but even more through the abiding presence and power of the Holy Spirit of truth. Amen.