As followers of Jesus, we know the importance of TRUTH. We know that Jesus is truth, that everything God has ever said is true, that the Holy Spirit leads us in truth, and that relationship with Jesus Christ is the only way to walk in the truth. We also know that the world hates the truth, and that Satan is the father of lies. Perhaps one of the hardest challenges for the Christian is the task of going about sharing this truth with the unbelieving world without being smug about it. There’s nothing quite so off-putting as someone who knows something and puts you down for not knowing it.
This morning I came across a verse in John 18 that caught me off guard and led me down a rabbit hole of thought. Jesus has been brought before Pilate, not long before he is beaten and crucified, and he questions him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asks. In verse 37, Jesus responds “I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” And then comes the three-word question that surprised me so much. Pilate responds to Jesus by saying “What is truth?”
And then he walked away.
This is one of the saddest moments I think I’ve found in the whole Bible. Historically, I’ve always felt bad for Pilate as being sympathetic to Jesus and trying to convince the Jews he wasn’t all that bad, but this verse puts him in a new light for me. How can you stand in front of the King of Truth, ask the question “what is truth?”, and then walk away?
I was looking at some commentaries on this verse online and I found this comment that struck me.
“This might be the most important question a human being can ask, and Pilate is standing in front of the ultimate answer, yet he walks away without really considering his own words.” (BibleRef article linked here: https://www.bibleref.com/John/18/John-18-38.html)
Jesus is the ultimate answer, the ultimate truth. If Pilate were really seeking an answer, he would look no further. Clearly, Pilate was not genuinely seeking. I think the same can be said for most of the world.
Matthew 7:7 says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Romans 1:20 says “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
1 Timothy 2:3-4 says “This is good, and pleases God our savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
While God is mysterious and confusing and nobody fully understands His ways, He does not make the truth hard to find. He upset history by sending Jesus to Earth, He put his Spirit inside His believers, and He commissioned us to spread the truth. There is great power in truth and one must choose to accept it or to reject it. Pilate rejected it. What will you do?