Who wants to know the truth? Who can handle the truth? Everywhere I turn these days folks want to know if anyone wants to know the truth anymore. Media outlets seem to go back to yellow journalism of the early 20th century. Politians point their fingers at opponents as people who refuse to face the truth or are so foolish they cannot even know the truth when it hits them between the eyes.
Jesus followers often say postmodern people do not want to know the truth.
This quest for truth goes back a very long way! John recorded a conversation between Pilate and Jesus. The administrator asked Jesus, “What is truth?” Sadly he did not sit down and wait for an answer. He suffered from the ability to ask questions without the patience to listen for an answer.
Human beings seek to make meaning in life. We need to find a way to explain things that goes on around us. We often make the same mistake Pilate did – we do not wait to hear Jesus explain the meaning of truth. Jesus wants to explain the whole truth. Can we handle the whole truth? Jesus proclaimed He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus alone is doctrinal truth (also known as orthodoxy). All other truth systems get evaluated by Him. Jesus alone is truth in action or behavior (also known as orthopraxy). Everyone’s actions will be measured against His action. Jesus is also the only measure of emotional, volitional, or inner person truth (also known as orthopathy). Human will, motivations and emotions must be conformed to Jesus.
Luke 24 proclaims so much truth … all three aspects of truth. Jesus resurrected from the tomb after having suffered to provide access for others to enter His glory (v. 25-26). Jesus opened “their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” (v. 45). Jesus spoke truth, doctrinal truth that confronted misunderstandings from the past.
Luke ends the chapter with concrete action items for those who would accept the truth of who He was. They had truth to DO just as they had truth to KNOW. They would preach the power of His name among all nations. They would take His whole message and actions into every nation. Truth in action takes the gospel to literally all people. Doing truth requires power, Holy Spirit power that would come to them in Jerusalem. Disciples became doers of truth because of the teaching, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Luke spends significant amount of effort capturing the emotional and motivational elements of truth in chapter 24.
- The women had perplexity in their emotions. They had labored all night to grind the spices for Jesus’ decaying body, but the tomb was empty.
- When the women saw the two angels they experienced fear.
- Peter and the others thought the women spoke idle tales. They could not receive the truth of their words because of the lack of truth in their spirit and emotions. Peter’s emotional state drove him to look for himself. Luke mapped Peter’s emotional journey from unbelief to confused wonder.
- The two Emmaus Road travelers tried to satisfy themselves with the factual kind of truth. They reasoned among themselves. Their reasoning left them emotionally out of balance. Jesus directly addressed their lack of emotional truth when He asked why they were sad.
- The two men told their story. Emotional struggles can be found in their sense of betrayal. He would not be the kind of messiah they wanted. He would not restore Israel as a nation. Their broken emotional truth related to their erroneous doctrinal truth.
- The men confessed emotional astonishment at the women’s testimony.
- Jesus evaluated their degree of emotional truth. They were “slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken.” The problem centered in emotional truth rather than in doctrinal truth. Jesus explained Moses and the prophets, doctrinal truth, but they still did not see Jesus for who He was.
- When the Emmaus men offered the Stranger customary hospitality, they finally had an opportunity to know truth. As Jesus received, blessed, broke and gave the bread they received truth. Jesus did not need to hang around anymore. The burning in their heart matured to the place of truth. Their emotional truth transformation compelled them to run the 7-1/2 miles back to Jerusalem to witness the resurrection truths (all three truths: truth in the event, truth in emotions, and truth in witnessing after seeing Jesus).
- Jesus showed up. Jesus’ words addressed their lack of emotional truth when He said, “Peace be unto you.” Luke explained they felt terror and fear in their spirit.
- Jesus questioned their emotional turmoil; “Why do thoughts arise in your hearts?” Even touching Jesus did not put truth in their emotions. They could not believe. They could not accept the joy Jesus offered.
- After eating with Jesus, the disciples would finally receive emotional truth and believe Jesus. Consequently they worshipped and returned to Jerusalem with great joy even though He had parted from them.
Thank You for all resurrection truths! I had such a blessed Easter with the church family in Wrightstown, New Jersey, this year. Easter confronts me with resurrection knowledge. The empty tomb calls me to live in authority and power of the Holy Spirit as I witness to Your goodness to all nations. This Easter, however, I must confess my emotions, spirit, and motivations need to be transformed by truth.
I confess I still have moments of perplexity, fear, confusion, distrust, sadness, and absence of peace. Tasting Your meal, hearing Your words, and feeling Your presence brings deeper truth to my spirit. My labor shifts from obligation to the wonderful joy of being about Your work in the world. Easter calls me to reveal my inner weakness to You and to some other people around me. When my emotions stand in Your resurrection truth, I face the choice to believe and rejoice in the resurrection or cherish fear and distrust.
Thank you for bringing truth to me in all dimensions this Easter season. Thank you for pushing beyond my natural tendency to protect my inner being from the possibility of hope … a possibility I resist for fear of yet another shattered dream. Easter calls me to trust. Easter calls me to accept the possibility that the world around me really does want to know truth – the whole truth.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.
In Jesus’ Name,
Thank you for walking with me through Luke 24 in Easter’s aftermath. Perhaps these days following the celebration you will have an opportunity to examine the degree of truth in your inner being. Please join with me in trusting Jesus afresh. Please join with me in breathing deeply from Easter’s peace and joy!