Thursday, October 26, 2017

John 8:31-36 Virtual or Ultimate Reality?

KEY TEXT: John 8:31-36 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free... Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

KEY THOT: When Jesus was arrested and stood before Pilate, He said: "For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth"  And Pilate responded by asking, "What is truth?" Jesus says if we know the truth, the truth will set us free. This reminds me of the conversation between Morpheus and Neo in the movie Matrix when Morpheus asked Neo, "Do you want to know the truth?" Watch it below:

After Neo took the red pill, he discovered the truth about the Matrix, that it is a virtual reality created by a Machine World that enslaves humans through this false view of reality. In fact, humans were slaves of this Machine World and were the energy sources to power this Machine World. While this movie is fictional, it tells us that knowing the Truth means knowing what is "really real" and not just what is apparent to the physical senses.

Jesus came to bear witness to the Truth; that is, the world as it really is, not as what we want to believe. The Truth that Jesus bore witness to is a world indwelt by the loving and living God whose ministering angels are in constant warfare against Satan and his deceiving demons. The Truth also includes the realization that we humans are not really free--that we are in fact slaves of sin, demons and Satan and are blinded to the Truth about God's love for us because of our sin.

Only this Truth about what is "really real" can set us free to live in true freedom as children of Father-God. The only way we can see this Ultimate Reality is through Christ who removes the blindness pulled over our eyes by Satan. When our vision of reality is restored, we are truly free--free to act as God would have us do. As Neo did after he was delivered from the Matrix, a virtual reality created by the machine world to dupe humans to supply energy needed by the machine world through their physical bodies. 

We call this Truth the biblical worldview of reality. A worldview is not just a mental picture of what we want to believe--that in itself can be a virtual (false) reality. But the biblical worldview is experiencing reality as it really is, not as we prefer to believe it to be. Even in Christianity, we are presented with conflicting versions of what is "really real"--some versions of Christianity are man-made to align with the spirit of the age. Others are clearly demonic in origin. The only way to discern the Truth is to abide in Jesus' word (Gospels): "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32). To arrive at the Truth, we must always be able to say, "This is what the Bible says,,," rather than "This is what my Pastor/Church says..." If we don't know what the Bible says, then we can be easily deceived by virtual reality of our own making.

But for many people, the Universe is only a one-dimensional reality comprising matter and energy, But for those whose eyes have been opened to see the Truth, reality has become a 3-dimensional world--the physical, the spiritual and the eternal. Humans are no longer just physical beings but spiritual persons connected to eternity. Time for a believer is not linear nor circular but eternal. Beyond what we experience on earth as the passing of time is the eternal reality of God where time does not exist.

If we are living in a one-dimensional world, our lives are defined by our physical needs and desires in this one-dimensional visible reality: we live and feed on this virtual reality, which is both temporal and temporary. But when our eyes are opened through Christ, we see another Reality (Truth) more glorious than this physical world, viz., a spiritual reality that is invisible and eternal.

And when our lives are defined by this spiritual and eternal reality, our priorities change and we are then completely set free from the deception of sin and Satan: "For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). 

Indeed, what Jesus says is true: "If you know the Truth (ultimate reality), the Truth will set you free!" There is more to life than meets the eyes. Total Reality comprises the visible (physical) and the invisible (spiritual and eternal) worlds, where God and His angels interact with humans on earth. May God deliver us from our virtual realities.

Abba-Father, open our eyes to see Jesus as our Ultimate Reality, for He is the physical, spiritual and eternal realities in this Universe. Set us free from our self-delusion and self-created realities. In Jesus' name, amen.

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