If you are looking for a new television show, head to HBO or download their app and check out The Night Of. Penned by outstanding crime author Richard Price, and based off a series in the UK, it is a classic murder mystery set in the tensions of today’s society.
I’ll spare more important plot details and just tell you to watch it. Seriously, you’ll be hooked.
There’s a scene where John Turturro, playing the veteran defense lawyer, is counseling his client, played on point by actor Riz Ahmed. Turturro tells Ahmed not to speak to anyone. It doesn’t matter who comes into his cell and asks questions, just say “I don’t know,” and “Talk to my lawyer.”
Ahmed states he just wants to tell the truth, asking “don’t you want to know the truth?”
Turturro says no, that the truth doesn’t matter.
It is only their story versus the prosecution and which one will stand up in the eyes of the jury.
Story has the power to move.
Write a sentence that plays the right chord and you’ll have an audience in the palm of your hand. I once had a professor tell me that no story is unbiased. Watch the news and you are seeing an interpretation of events. There is nothing that scrolls across the screen of our smart phones without being filtered through an agenda.
One of the most interesting statements in the Bible comes from Pilate at the trial of Jesus. We read in the Gospel of John that Jesus tells Pilate, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate replies:
“What is truth?”
You could take this multiple ways and write multiple books on the subject. Pilate certainly wanted to move on from the trial. He ends it after his rhetorical question and tells the audience of religious leaders that he has no basis to charge Jesus of any crime.
He could have assessed Jesus to see if there was any claim to royalty, any threat to Roman rule. Or, as one experienced in litigation, maybe he followed the rule Turturro stated a few thousand years later.
What is truth?
The story matters, for in the story hides the truth.
There’s a reason Jesus preached in parables. There’s a reason a movement started inside an empty tomb a few days after that trial as the story spread mouth to mouth. There’s a reason the movement caught fire when people realized the potential of true, selfless love.
We stand at a crossroads, a country facing a change in leadership that could drastically shift the future. It is time for those who claim to follow Jesus to stand on the power of the story and know the bottom line.
The line that ends, and starts, at the cross.