In 1993 the Fox Network aired pilot episodes to, what I believe, one of the greatest and most successful science fiction television shows in the broadcasting company’s history. The show was called The X-Files. I am a huge fan and unfortunately after nine intense seasons the show was cancelled by the network due to low ratings. Until recently it was the longest running sci-fi television shows in the networks history and had gained a loyal cult following.
The X-Files was a show about searching and finding the truth; in fact the show’s opening sequence concludes with the statement “The Truth Is Out There”. This truth was the supposed truth that the government has conspired to keep the reality of the paranormal, supernatural or alien life forms hidden from the general public and the government would spare no expenses covering up any evidence of any paranormal activity. (Now I am sure I have lost some of you because you could give a rip about science fiction and aliens but bear with me for a moment.)
The show features Fox Mulder and Dana Scully who are FBI Agents assigned to what the government calls “The X-Files”. These are unsolved cases involving paranormal, supernatural or unnatural activity and unexplained events (i.e. alien abduction, supernatural occurrences etc.). Mulder is the overzealous FBI agent who is fervently seeking evidence to prove the existence of alien life forms and expose the governments plot to keep all this under wraps. He is also trying to locate or discover what happened to his younger sister who he believes was abducted by aliens. Scully is the skeptic medical doctor assigned to investigate Mulder’s findings and give scientific analysis to his findings. Basically her job is to debunk anything Mulder discovers.
For nearly nine seasons I enjoyed watching this show and was always intrigued by the various topics the episodes dealt with. Some were traditional sci-fi alien stories; others were religious or supernatural in nature and most were just plain weird. However I always loved the tagline “The Truth Is Out There”. I loved this because the Bible has so much insight in regards to the TRUTH. I am a person who cannot watch a fiction or science fiction show or movie without looking for some sort of spiritual tie in. There is so much fiction and science fiction media (i.e. books, movies and television shows) that does tie into the spiritual (not always for the good) that can certainly get people thinking about our mere existence and about the words of the Bible.
“What is truth?” This question has been asked by individuals for centuries. We know Pontius Pilate asks Jesus in the Gospel of John and many have and are still asking today. Jesus has a lot to say about the truth in the scriptures and he addresses it today. It is interesting to note that Jesus and the Apostle John refer to the word truth 26 times in this Gospel.
Read John 8:31 - 47
Verse 31, 32: Jesus is speaking to the people who have been listening to him. In this verse they are called “The Jews who had believed in him.” They may have been individuals, who were surface believers, or were new converts and in which Jesus gives them insight to the benefits of being and the characteristics of a disciple.
“You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free” is a quote by Jesus that is taken out of context often. We hear this phrase used by politicians to promote political agendas, conspirators to promote their conspiracy theories, environmentalist to promote environmental causes, scientists to promote scientific discoveries, people who refuse to live for God to promote their lifestyle choices, and parents to discourage their children from telling lies. Unfortunately when quoted people conveniently or maybe mistakenly leave out the first part of the passage. This first part is imperative to knowing the truth and being set free. Why is this so? Because in its true context can only promote one agenda and this is the Kingdom agenda. Before one can truly know the truth one has to be met. “IF you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and/then you will know the truth and the…” The condition is abiding in the word of Jesus.
Abide – Continue, remain, and endure, to not depart. The first step in knowing the truth is abiding in Jesus. When one continues in Jesus or remains faithful to his commands he gives us a glimpse of what a disciple of Jesus looks like. In order to abide or continue in his word we need to know what his word says. This right here is reason enough for you and me to be men and women of the scripture. How can we abide in the word if we don’t know what his word says? Whether you are a new believer, a mature believer or one who hasn’t delved into the word of God it is important to know his word. In the previous chapters Jesus enlightens us about what is involved in the abiding “process”. He talks about the need for repentance, belief, faith, forgiveness, being born again, looking to him as the light, the Spirit, being truly satisfied in him, his faithfulness, understanding his equality to God, knowing his infiniteness, his authority, his love for his people and his sacrifice. If we do remain in his word THEN we can know the truth and when we know the truth we will be free… Free from what? When we know (as stated in John 14) that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light and through faith in Him we may have access to the Father/heaven; we then have freedom from the bondage of sin, fear of death, guilt of condemnation and the shackles of the law.
In simple terms Jesus says, “Commit to me all the days of you life, in so doing you will see that through me is life and when you see this you will never ever be in bondage to sin again.”
Verses 33: The Jews were offended by this statement. Since Jesus is offering freedom the Jews couldn’t imagine Jesus meant they were enslaved. According to them they never bowed to any ruler or nation. The Israelites considered themselves the sons of the kingdom, thus they are free (no matter who they were subject to… at this time it would have been Rome) and not in slavery to anyone. How could Jesus even insinuate they needed to be free if they were not in bondage?
Verse 34 - 36: Jesus corrects them and enlightens us today… everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. Only through Jesus Christ may one be truly free from the bondage of sin. The one who practices and lives in sin is indeed a slave to it.
When one follows or commits themselves to Jesus (becomes a disciple) then sin will no longer be the master of ones life. This holds true to us today. Jesus is not saying that you will no longer sin but you will no longer be mastered by sin. You now have the ability to say, “No” to sin and walk in the ways of righteousness.
Verse 37: Jesus acknowledges that he understands their claim to be the offspring of Abraham. By descent the Jews are the children of Abraham. Yet he is perplexed, for lack of a better term that they are seeking to kill Jesus because of the words he speaks. Abraham was not a murderer and he never sought to bring harm to anyone so how is it that they, being his offspring, do such an unimaginable thing?
Verse 42: If God was truly their Father as the Jews believed then they would love Jesus because he is from God, appointed by God, and came to the earth to show the way to the kingdom. Jesus makes the claim that to love the Father you must also love the Son. The reason one does not love Jesus is because God is not his Father.
Verse 43: The Jews don’t and can’t understand this not because he hasn’t communicated the truth of who He is clearly, but because of their hard hearts they refuse thus are unable to hear what He is saying.
Verses 44: Since they refuse to hear his words, accept him as the Messiah and love him then the only conclusion is the people are neither of God nor of Abraham. Instead they are of their true father the devil. These are harsh and offensive words indeed. The devil is the father lies and he is and was a deceiver from the beginning starting with Adam and Eve. D.A. Carson writes, “By the success of his temptation, he robbed Adam of spiritual life, and through him brought death to the entire race. He abandoned truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native tongue, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Verses 45 - 47: These closing verses give a pretty clear reason as to why people refuse Jesus in their lives. If you do not hear and hold to the words of Jesus it is because you do not have God in your life. This is proof positive that one cannot just worship God and not have Jesus as part of their life. Jesus has made numerous claims to being the son of God, to being sent by God, being appointed by God and speaking only what God tells him to speak. Without God you can’t have Jesus and without Jesus you cannot have God.
We all want to know the truth. None of us ever desires to follow deceit and lying. When we can accept the truth for what it is… “We are all sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God.” And “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And “God so loved the world…” If Jesus had a slogan or a tagline it could be “The truth IS out there and it is found in ME” The great thing about this truth is that it is not concealed by any government or conspiracy theory. It is not a secret that is better kept than revealed. It is available to all and it has the power to set free from the shackles of darkness and bring anyone who believes into the light.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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