Truth and Love

Today’s reading:  Luke 10, Psalm 58

Oxford Dictionaries named “post-truth” the 2016 international word of the year.   Oxford defines it as – relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.  Thinking over the past 18 months or so, are you surprised that this word is so prominent?   Think about the 2016 Presidential election, the current political climate, fake news, and countless sports figures and movie stars taking the stage in protest.  I could go on and on, but it is exhausting.  Go back and read the definition again.  Did you notice the words “personal belief”?  While our 21st century culture may not have consensus (or really care) about truth, you cannot be a follower of Jesus Christ and buy into this agenda.

Today’s scripture in Luke 10 gives us beautiful illustrations of Jesus commitment to truth and how he demonstrated it through love.  First, he sent out 72 men to prepare several towns for his visit.  According to verse 3, he knew they were going to encounter troubles.  He sent them out with supernatural power to overcome Satan and his evil ways (Luke 10:19), yet he still instructed the men to humbly come in peace and to approach those they encountered with love and gentleness.  “Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.  Whatever house you enter first, say Peace be to this house” (Luke 10:3-5). “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’ “(Luke 10:8-9).

Even though Jesus sent the men to influence with love first, he also instructed them to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to truth by sternly warning those who rejected it.  But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town (Luke 10:10-12).

The parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 also demonstrates truth and love, just in the opposite order. When the expert asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus pointed to the truth. He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).  When the expert went on to challenge Jesus on details by asking whom he would consider a neighbor, Jesus responded with the parable of the Good Samaritan.  A parable that demonstrates our responsibility to demonstrate love and compassion to others in need, regardless of their demographics.

In a person, Jesus Christ is truth and love. He doesn’t care about influencing public opinion, rather he cares about people and the life-saving grace God offers to those who put their faith in him.  Jesus Christ is the antithesis of post-truth.  Likewise, anyone who claims to have put their trust in him and is committed to following his ways must submit to his truth and act in love.