Sunday, November 22, 2009

who belongs to the truth?


Today was Christ the King Sunday - the last Sunday of the liturgical calendar. Today's Gospel reading was John 18:33-37. This is the story of Jesus appearing before Pilate, the one in which Jesus is asked if he's the king of the Jews. The dialogue goes back and forth and then Jesus has the last word: "Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." This verse undid me today. I kept repeating it and then flipped it to read, "Everyone who listens to my voice belongs to the truth."  That appeared to make more sense, but did it really? hmmm...

I love this artwork by Nikolai Nikolaevich Ge (1831-94). Here we see Pilate, with the light shining on him, asking Jesus, in the shadows,  about truth.  Who is really in the dark here?

6 comments:

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Great artwork. I love the unexpectedness (is that a word?) of the light and shadow.

paula said...

religions that claim sole possession ...(soul possession, hahahaha)

Vicki said...

Is truth important, when it can be so different for so many? Is it an absolute? For myself personally, I don't know.

Jane said...

Thought-provoking! For me, the scripture is so profound and flipping seems to make it sound trite. I don't think it makes more sense that way to me; in fact, seems "belonging" is the greater of the two. Can listening bring about belonging?? But belonging can bring about listening???

Brad said...

Roberta,

I agree about the artwork. Excellent find! This reading, like so many, highlights for me why I love Bible study so much and why I keep learning. This translation is pretty good, but John's Greek is very subtle. "Belongs to the truth" is close - "part of the truth," "has their source in the truth," "is all about the truth" - those together also carry the meaning. And "listens to" here includes "pays attention to." So it's sort of, "Whoever is all about the truth really gets what I'm saying." And yes, it's reversible.

I think the reason John, the Gnostic, the mystic, got into the hard-nosed canon was that he captured what old Irinaeus and the others really felt, had really experienced. Just before this Jesus told Pilate that he came to be a witness for the truth. Some were already all about the truth, so they got what he said. Some heard him and got what he said, so all of a sudden they were all about the truth. How cool is that?


Truthfully - Brad

Christine said...

Thank you Roberta! I loved the artwork & your insight. My good friend and customer Patsy died yesterday. It comforts me to think of her passing on CHRIST THE KING Sunday.