Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all. (John 18:37-38 KJV)
Pilate’s question seems a bit rhetorical, perhaps insolent, or maybe even contemplative. There are many ways to interpret this verse, but the final result was still the same. He rejected truth in favor of satisfying the demands of men, resulting in the death sentence of our Lord. It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Truth is something that people still struggle with, even to this day.
There are three basic ways that truth is handled: Some receive it gladly, and are saved. Others reject it summarily, while others yet philosophize over it until it becomes irrelevant in their lives.
The grand irony of Pilate’s question is, that it had already been answered previously by Jesus Himself:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (Joh 14:6 KJV)
To reject the truth, is to reject Jesus. He is the very embodiment of truth. In His time, many rejected Him and His teachings, while yet others , received Him with gladness of heart. Others, like Pilate, and later Herod Agrippa (Acts 26:28) tried to apply human reasoning to Him and missed the point entirely.
In contemplating this next installment of the WWJD series, it became apparent to me rather quickly that this is one aspect of Jesus’ personhood that defies summing up briefly. It will be necessary to take this one in smaller bites, in order to avoid creating a massively bloated post. Truth is a subject that has become so twisted and subjective, that the average person has no hope of recognizing it. The one sure way to know the truth, and keep from being deceived is to know Jesus intimately and be a disciple of all He taught.
Do we do this? It’s a question we should all be asking ourselves daily. If not, the truth is only as far away as the nearest copy of the Bible. The Bible is the nearest thing we have today to the physical presence of Jesus. Copies are easily obtained here in the western world, yet is one of the most things taken for granted. Strange philosophies have crept into the Church and have supplanted the truth of Jesus’ teachings. People are actively exchanging the truth for a lie. It’s a sign of the times.
Just today, several people got up and left our church today, when our pastor announced that he would be speaking on the truth. Rather than stay and learn, they left. One even deposited a nasty note for him in the lobby as they left. They rejected the truth, rejected Jesus. This happens all the time. People cling to falsehood and become angry when it is challenged.
Jesus dealt with this in His day too. In one day, a large part of His following left Him to follow no more. He did not go after them or try to placate them. He continued to teach and embody truth. He asked his closest disciples, the 12, if they wanted to leave too. Peter responded by saying that there was no other place to go, for He had the words of life.
Do we have this kind of determination? If not, it’s time to take inventory. Can we have our beliefs challenged by the Word, and be transformed? Or do we seek to rationalize our behavior? Do we get angry and attack God’s messengers? Or do we receive judgment in the house of God? All vital questions that need to be answered circumspectly.
Jesus did not preach messages in order to satisfy people’s feelings. He loves humanity far too much to soften the blow. He angered many, including his own followers from time to time, yet He loved them. Can we receive this kind of love, or do we seek a church that is a little easier to take?
Truth is truth in any age. How willing are we to be changed by it, by Him? If we are struggling with truth, it is NOT His fault. He is the pure truth. To say or do otherwise is to place His veracity into question, and that is never a safe place to dwell.
Hopefully during this season of the year, you will resolve to get to know Him, if you never have. If you do know Him, determine to get to know him even better. This is an investment that pays huge dividends. Eternal dividends.
In our next posts, we will examine in more detail some specific instances where Jesus spoke the truth. This should prove to be interesting, surprising in some instances, and hopefully transformational.
Join us, won’t you?