JOHN 18:37-38: “Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus replied, “You’re correct in saying that I’m a king. I have been born and have come into the world for this reason: to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to me.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After Pilate said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I don’t find this man guilty of anything.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: What is “truth”? We live in a day where our culture has rejected the idea of absolute truth in favor of situational relativism. Truth becomes something that I determine, based on my personal situation, and my personal desire. This starts out with very small concessions to what we have known as “truth”. However, it continues to advance until the lines between right and wrong, decency and immorality, love and hate become blurred. In the end, that which is good is accounted as evil, and that which is real love is counted as hate. Paul speaks of this in Romans when he writes,
- “And because they thought it was worthless to acknowledge God, God allowed their own immoral minds to control them. So they do these indecent things. Their lives are filled with all kinds of sexual sins, wickedness, and greed. They are mean. They are filled with envy, murder, quarreling, deceit, and viciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, haughty, arrogant, and boastful. They think up new ways to be cruel. They don’t obey their parents, don’t have any sense, don’t keep promises, and don’t show love to their own families or mercy to others. Although they know God’s judgment that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do these things but also approve of others who do them.” (Romans 1:28-32 GW)
Today, if one speaks out against that which was universally thought to be immoral just a short time ago – they are labeled as haters, intolerant, and bigots. If they speak up for the rights of the unborn they are labeled as those who oppose the rights of others – even when this is exactly what they are doing when speaking for the unborn. When they extol the Biblical values that this nation was founded upon they are labeled as narrow minded and judgmental. This is nothing new. The Roman cultural backdrop that Jesus lived in was a mirrored reflection of our own. This is why when Jesus proclaimed that He came into the world to testify of the truth, Pilate said – “What is truth?”
So how do we answer Pilate’s question? How do we answer the questions and objections of an ever changing culture that rejects the Biblical values that we hold so dear? We must remember that which is most important. Truth is not a set of doctrines or written decrees. Truth is a person!
- “Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me. If you have known me, you will also know my Father. From now on you know him ⌊through me⌋ and have seen him ⌊in me⌋.” (John 14:6-7 GW)
God knew that man, even with the Scriptures, would always mishandle the truth. The sinful condition of man had to be redeemed, and every objection against the truth would have to be answered. How did God do this? He came personally to live among us. He came to be the truth! In the life of Jesus we see the clarification and validation of all that is truth, for He is truth!
- “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was already with God in the beginning…He was the source of life, and that life was the light for humanity. The light shines in the dark, and the dark has never extinguished it…The Word became human and lived among us. We saw his glory. It was the glory that the Father shares with his only Son, a glory full of kindness and truth…No one has ever seen God. God’s only Son, the one who is closest to the Father’s heart, has made him known.” (John 1:1-2, 4-5, 14, 18 GW)
Truth is not relative! Truth is not based on my personal situation! Truth does not change! Jesus is truth! His life, death, and resurrection proclaim that this truth will never change. The answer is not found in debate, nor in adapting to a changing culture. The answer is found in simply looking to the life of Jesus and discovering both what He said and what He did! When we look upon Jesus we find the answer to Pilate’s question, we find the source of “truth”! And, we have the wonderful assurance that Jesus is praying for us as we are called to live our lives as a reflection of His life, to live our lives as a testimony to “truth”!
- “Use the truth to make them holy. Your words are truth. I have sent them into the world the same way you sent me into the world. I’m dedicating myself to this holy work I’m doing for them so that they, too, will use the truth to be holy.” (John 17:17-19 GW)
Lord, create in my a clean heart through Your Word (truth). May my life be continually changed through Your truth so that I might faithfully proclaim Your truth!
In Jesus Name!