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WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, MAY 17, 2021

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are John 17:11b and 15-17 where Jesus prays these words:   

Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. ….15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

 

FOR UNITY, YOU NEED THE TRUTH!

In his younger days, Bob Barker, former host of the television show, “The Price is Right,” hosted another show called “Truth or Consequences.” On this program contestants were asked questions and if they gave incorrect answers, there were consequences. There was a penalty for getting things “wrong.” Now the consequences weren’t life threatening. They involved comical stunts which may have been a bit embarrassing, but were endured as good-natured fun. At the close of every program, Barker signed off saying, “Good night, hoping all your consequences are happy ones.” It was an instant and enduring hit from the 1940’s through Barker’s time with the show in the 1960’s. Even though it doled out light, humorous penalties, rather than harsh punishment, the program was built on a premise that rang true in those days. Since truth mattered, falsehoods had consequences. Truth or consequences. Does that alternative still have meaning today?

For many, neither truth nor consequences matter. Often we hear people say that all that matters is whether or not we are “true to ourselves.” (Whatever that means.) People who promote themselves as the foundation of truth assert that they should be able to do as they please without consequences, unless they feel there should be some. But that’s not how it works in real life. There are truths bigger than ourselves. Whether as the direct or indirect consequences of sinful behavior, evil, brokenness, violence, and death fill our world and impact our lives. The Bible even reminds us that there will be a reckoning before God for all people. And that’s why Jesus is praying for us in this text. He is laying it on the line. He knows the reality of this sinful world. He knows that sin and evil have consequences, even more so when left unchecked. He also knows that sinners, no matter how technologically advanced or how smart we think we are, are not capable of overcoming the consequences of our falsehoods. Only God’s “truth in action” for us can do that. And that’s what Jesus is praying about here. His prayer takes sin and evil seriously, and it takes even more seriously the protecting, saving, and sanctifying power of truth.

But here’s the key: Truth and Jesus are inseparable. He is the Creator and Savior of the World. He Himself is the truth (see John 14:6). His words of Law and Gospel are also the truth. Furthermore, His life, death, and resurrection are the enduring “truths in action” that redeem and restore you and me to Him. Take to heart Jesus’ prayer to the Father for you. Jesus boldly claims that if a person abides in His teaching, “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Let the words of Scripture then fill your heart and your mind with the sanctifying power of God. Then what Bob Barker could only wish for, that “all your consequences be happy ones,” becomes an eventual and eternal reality because of who Jesus is and what He has done for you.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I know that many people don’t think that there is real truth today. Yet, even in our vain intellectualism and pride, we see the consequences of falsehood all around us. Give me a hunger for Your Word. Give me a hunger for You because You are God’s enduring truth in action for me. Assure me always that there is forgiveness, freedom, wisdom, and eternal life with You. AMEN.

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