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Key Verse: “‘You are a king, then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’” — John 18:37, New International Version
Today’s Reading: John 18
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As we consider the significance of Christmas and the reasons that God sent His Son into this world, we should take in account the explanation of Jesus: “to testify to the truth.”
In John 18, Pilate immediately challenges Jesus’ words, asking, “What is truth?” Pilate is not so different from our world today. Many seem confused when Christians say that we know the truth. It may be genuine confusion. In the face of the variety of religious or spiritual beliefs in the world, they still don’t know why we need Jesus to have a restored relationship with God. Or maybe it’s a convenient confusion that people could use to hide from committing to following Jesus. Regardless of what Pilate’s situation was, it didn’t stop Jesus from declaring the truth about His identity. Jesus confidently says that those who love truth will listen to Him.
Jesus walked in the confidence and freedom that truth provides, even when that gave His enemies an opportunity to attack Him. In the beginning of John 18, Judas saw the opportunity to exploit the proximity he had with Jesus and led a group of soldiers to the place where the Master had met so often with His disciples. But when the soldiers ask about Jesus of Nazareth and hear His firm and direct reply, they fall to the ground. Jesus speaks and the betrayer, torches, lanterns and weapons had no choice but to bow before the truth: “I am.”
Jesus’ confidence is even more evident in contrast to that of a disciple. Peter relies on his sword, even going so far as to rip someone’s ear off. And when his safety doesn’t seem guaranteed by truth, Peter’s answer is denial: “I am not.”
As humans, we can understand Peter’s fear. The disciple watches as Jesus’ unwavering attachment to the truth is making His situation even more dangerous. But what would’ve happened to us (and to Peter) if Jesus had allowed Himself to be intimidated?
For those who did not believe, His testimony to the truth was the reason to condemn Him to death. But how could He, to save His own life, deny the very reason why He was born? He chose instead to defeat death by facing it.
Now, those who have believed, who have trusted in Jesus, find a restored relationship with God. He provides new life, which Christians now live to testify to the truth, as He did, even in the face of rejection or danger.
When talking about Jesus, do you feel tempted to be vague before someone who could reject you? As Christmas approaches, are you willing to boldly testify to the truth? What might help you grow in confidence about the truth?
Lord, You said “I am,” and in Your words we can rest, not fearing the rulers of this world. Help us to testify to You, confident that those who love the truth will listen.
Talking about Jesus with others can be challenging. Learn practical ways to make sharing your faith easier.
Leonardo Marques serves in the Campus Ministry and in communications in Cru Brasil. He and his wife Carolina met while serving as student leaders at university and now have been missionaries for fifteen years. They are parents of Cléo (9), Elis (7) and Davi (4).
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