Feeling Secure in the Truth of Jesus’ Words
Working Out what the Truth is
Over the last few years, there have been increasing attacks on truth and common sense. Worse still, a growth of conspiracy theories saying things like the government is deliberately misleading us; scientists and doctors are tricking us; the BBC is telling us lies.
When reliable facts and information are produced, these are dismissed as “…that’s just their opinion.” In fear, people are searching the internet, not for truth, but others who will back up these strange ideas. Those we once trusted as valuable sources of wisdom and support have been totally devalued.
“The Bible’s Fake You Know, all Made up, the Dead Sea Scrolls have proved it.”
This is a photo of the oldest fragment of the New Testament in the whole world. It’s called P52 (Papyrus no. 52), a bit of John’s Gospel, and it lives on Deansgate in Manchester! It was written in about 100 AD – which is amazing when we realise John himself possibly died in about 98 AD.
It takes me back to my training years. The course I was on was like a Bible sweet shop for me…I wanted to have a taste of everything! – Lecturers teaching ancient languages, classes in archaeology and bronze age history, scrutinising ancient manuscripts, trips to the British Museum, interpretation skills…..
One day in the university refectory, another student said to me: “The Bible’s fake you know – all made up … the Dead Sea Scrolls have proved it.” This was my first experience of a conspiracy theory! If there was one thing I did know, the Bible is the most genuine and believable document I’d ever encountered.
What is Truth?
This a bit off the back of P52. It’s the word ”aletheia” – truth. It’s that passage where Pontius Pilate says to Jesus: “What is truth?” Ancient Rome was also suffering from intrigue, rumour, subterfuge and conspiracy. Everybody had to watch their back! It seems like Pilate had lost track of genuine truth – until he meets Jesus. He listens to Him, believes Him, and concludes: This man has done nothing wrong.
Renewing our Trust in Those who Care
Of course, as always, we can trust those who are looking after us. They are not conspirators, nor unwilling pawns in some dark game. During this time, we have seen care home workers, nurses, doctors and scientists laying down their lives as the ultimate expression of their concern and integrity. Not only do we need to trust them, but to esteem them; to love them for their sacrificial attitude; and more than that – to imitate them in the ways we care for those around us.
Renewing our Trust in the Lord
During the early 1940s, a London vicar realised that the young people in his church were struggling with the old King James Version of the Bible, so he began his own translation. In 1958, Rev J. B. Phillips published “The New Testament in Modern English.” The old version of 1 Corinthians 1.9 had read: “God is faithful…” For the first time ever, not just from scholarship, but his own experience, J.B. Phillips translated this with these wonderful words:
“God is utterly dependable…”
In these dark times of uncertainty, we can be absolutely certain that Jesus is the Truth, and that no matter what rumours and alarms come and go, He will look after us. As Peter writes in his first letter – cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you.