Psalm 119:137-144, John 14:6        “Truth”


            A year after we hosted Nelli Mukhametshina as an exchange student from Russia with us here on Kauai, I was invited to go to Ufa, Russia, her home, to be there for her graduation from high school in Russia. At the graduation ceremony, there were many performances by the students to the gathered families in the auditorium. At the time, the Pharrell Williams song “Happy” was the number one hit in Russia. So, a group of 9 girls got up on stage and sang the song that includes the line “Clap along if you feel that happiness is the truth.” By the way, they very much just stood there on stage and did not move while singing the words–if you are familiar with the video it is a showcase of really cool dance moves by amateurs dancing on the street or in bus stations and the like.

            What fascinated me most about this display was that I am not sure the Russians actually have a word for “happy” or a word for “truth,” at least not as the English speaking world understands these terms to be. Maybe “vesely” comes close, but it is not the same as happy. Maybe “pravda,” but it is not the same as truth. In fact, the “pravda” newspaper from Russia has been very much filled with lies since the old Soviet days.


            I mention this because I am not sure if my understanding of the word “truth” in English, as it is understood by most of us here, is indeed the truth that is spoken of in the Bible. I really have to question this. Can I even understand biblical truth? Can I preach on it?


            From our Old Testament reading in Psalms we also have a statement that makes us wonder about what Hebrew culture of old saw truth as. Psalm 119 states clearly that truth is to be found in law. The reference is to the Torah, or the so-called “Law of Moses,” that is to say the Ten Commandments and all the rules and regulations for living that come out of them. By the way, the Hebrew word here is “emet,” and its command form is “amen.” When we say “amen” after prayer, for instance, we are saying “it be true.”

            Back to the subject of truth being in law, I tend to believe that that is where America is today. We believe that our laws will fulfill our need for justice and truth. I want to believe that. I want to believe that I am innocent until proven guilty in a court of law by a jury of my peers. I want to believe that what the court finds is the truth. However, just because twelve jurors agree on a verdict, that does not mean that whatever was said by the prosecutor is in fact true.  I know better. Too many times in my life I have read in the news about the innocent person who has served years in prison. Just because twelve people agreed on something, that does not actually make it true.

            The reality is that you can have an overwhelming majority of people in our country say that they agree with one idea or another, that does not mean it is true. We are left with that age-old question of “What is truth?” We have many, many philosophical answers that can lead us right back to that song “clap along if you know that happiness is the truth.” If you are happy with your own truth, then perhaps just clap along! That is not what the bible says, however.


            When I was a young boy I loved playing with electronics. One day I got a schematic for a little nine volt lie detector circuit. I tell you, for a moment there, I was the hit of my Junior High School as everyone came up to me with their boyfriends and girlfriends to be hooked onto the little machine to see if the needle on the meter would move when asking insidious and puerile questions such as “do you like, LIKE Julie?”

            Everyone wanted me to make them a machine too. They also wanted to know how it worked. Apparently when one lies, we have a nervous reaction to being caught in the lie and this causes us to sweat a little–not a lot, just enough to change skin resistance to a small electrical charge. All one has to do is measure the electric skin resistance of another person to know if they are lying or telling the truth.

            So, I recall one episode of Seinfeld in which George tells Jerry about lying: “It isn’t a lie if you believe it.” So, George in the series has figured out how to beat the lie detector device by simply believing the lie. Jerry is not able to do it and is caught in the lie as he is attached to a lie detector in a police station. By the way, lie detectors are not allowed as evidence at trials because if someone is perfectly comfortable with the lie that is being told, the machine really will not catch it. Instead, we are told to raise our fight hands and swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It used to be “so help you God!” Now we say “under penalty of perjury.” What happened to God? And, is just holding up your hand going to make you tell the truth?

            Part of the problem with knowing biblical truth is that people have become really good at believing the lie. The typical sermon would now spend fifteen minutes talking about the lies that are all around us. You know what, I will let you chew on that during the fellowship hour. Just go up to your brother or sister in Christ and ask, “So, how many times have you been lied to this last week?” That is your homework. But, you see, that is a reactive way to deal with biblical truths. I want to be proactive. I want to show you that we have the divine Truth, capital “t.”


            Open now to John 14:6. Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth, and the Life.” Jesus is a person! How can the Truth, the divine Truth be a person? Well, if that person is the incarnation of the one God of the universe, then we see the embodiment of the Truth. So, God did help us to see the Truth after all!

            The word that is used here in the Greek for truth is “Alethea.” Interesting to note is that this word is actually the name of the Greek goddess of truth. Her Roman counterpart is named Veritas. In Greek mythology she had some godly superpowers. She always knew the truth, and she could always force others to tell the truth. Now, that does sound like Jesus from the gospels. Jesus knows our hearts even better than we know our hearts. He could tell everything about the woman at the well in Samaria. He knew Peter was going to deny him three times. He tells Judas to go do what he has to do.

            Anybody here remember the comic book character called “Wonder Woman”? I think there was a television series about Wonder Woman played by Linda Carter. Recently there has been a feature film in which Wonder Woman is played by Gal Gadot. What superpower does Wonder Woman have? She has a golden lasso. Once the cord is tightened around a person, that person must tell the truth. That is a Christian superpower, too.

            In Ephesians 6:14 Saint Paul talks about a “belt of truth.” It would be wonderful to be able to put a belt of truth around people we think might be lying, but really Paul is talking about putting that belt of truth around our own waists. From Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “to thine own self be true.” We might not be able to get the truth from others, but we should be able to get ourselves to be truthful! Amen?

            In 2 John 1:1-13 we can read that we are supposed as believers in Christ “walk in truth.” Yup, the world is full of scams and deceptions, but we walk in truth. As far as what we do, we believe in the divine truth of Jesus Christ.

Yes, the divine truth of the New Testament as Jesus speaks of it is the person of Christ. And, we are the body of Christ in this world. So, we are supposed to be the embodiment of the divine truth in our walk in this world.  1 Corinthians 12:27  “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

Be truthful in what you say and what you do. You are the truth of Jesus Christ embodied in this world. Do not be lead astray or even distracted by untruths. One day, all the secrets of our hearts will be made known–when we stand before the Lord in the Kingdom of Heaven.