What is Truth?

Written by Devon Bowman 

Then Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate said to him, ‘What is truth?’ After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, ‘I find no guilt in him’” (John 18:37-38).

What is truth? This question rings out in the culture that we live in today. As we celebrated the resurrection yesterday on Easter Sunday, I thought about the entirety of the passion story, from garden to trial to cross to tomb and culminating in resurrection. These events of the passion weekend are so impactful and are the apex of the Gospel story. In the midst of Pontius Pilate questioning Jesus, taking into account the accusations of the Jews, seeing if what they say about Christ is true, he asks a question that can at first seem out of place: what is truth?
When you further look at the point that he is a ruler and judge of a trial you would think that he has some grasp of the truth. However, when he looks in the face of the one who says that he has come “to bear witness to the truth,” he questions whether there even is truth. I do not know if Pilate was distressed in his reply or if he was scoffing, but I do know that for him the truth seems impossible to grasp. The fifth governor of the province of Judaea of the Roman Empire could not pinpoint the truth that Jesus was speaking about. This powerful leader in one of the greatest empires that the world has ever seen did not know how to respond.
Now we move to our current era. I would hope to find that in this day and age we have a greater grasp of this than Pilate; however, this is not the case. We have access to more information than we could ever comprehend and at the tip of our fingers we can find “truth” on our phones. The truth is that many people, even in our day and age, when confronted with Christ’s statement “everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice,” don’t know how to react. This Easter weekend we have just celebrated the claims of Jesus that have been before us. Whenever we are encountered with this we have three main choices: believe in who Christ says he is, deny who Christ says he is, or deny that there is truth anyway.

The Easter story is the most important truth that we can grasp in this world. If indeed Christ is God, if he lived a sinless life, if he was crucified and resurrected on the third day–then this is the most glorious and important story that has ever been told. I pray all believers reading this respond with a resounding “Amen!” The unfortunate truth is that for countless people in our relativistic society they do not join in our praise. We live in a society that is more confused now than we sometimes realize. Foundational truths about who we are, why we are here, meaning, and morality are all in question. I believe this is due to not embracing the truth of the cross and the truth of our God. It is not relativism that brings freedom but it is living in the truth of the cross.
As we continue to meditate on Easter and what it means to follow Christ as his disciples we should walk away from Pilate’s question with a few conclusions. The first should be a thankfulness of encountering the truth of Jesus Christ and having it revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. We should be people full of gratitude when we are confronted with this reality. The second is that we should pray and weep for those who encounter the glory of Christ with the question, “What is truth?” Our response should not be one of superiority but compassion and intercession. That the answer of Christ will be enlightened in their hearts by the Holy Spirit. Lastly it should inspire us to not be content with our current understanding but to go deeper in the knowledge of the truth. The glorious riches of the Godhead are inexhaustible. So let us answer Pilate’s question with, “Christ is truth,” and pursue his goodness and truth the rest of our days.

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