What is truth? Steph Beth Nickel explores the narrative in John 18 where we find Jesus before Pilate. Steph reminds us that Jesus proclaimed truth.
What Is Truth – Jesus Before Pilate
In John 18:38(ESV), we read these words: “What is truth?”
As we read previously, the soldiers, chief priests, and Pharisees arrested Jesus. They took Him before the high priest, who in turn took Him to Pilate.
This is what led up to Pilate’s question in verse 38:
“Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?’ Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.’ 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.’”
There are many voices in this world, loudly proclaiming their version of truth. It seems things weren’t all that different 2,000 years ago, for Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?”
Some people feel all paths lead to the same ultimate destination.
Some simply say, “Do whatever’s right for you.”
Yet, others threaten, “Deny your God or face torture and death.”
And there are those who say, “Your just plain stupid to believe in any god.”
Pilate At A Loss
These may not be the same perspectives that were being proclaimed in Jesus’ day, but clearly, Pilate was at a loss to know exactly what truth was.
I’d like to take a few moments to clear up some a misconception many people have about those of us who are Bible-believing followers of Jesus Christ.
We do not believe that we somehow earned our salvation and are more deserving than unbelievers—not if we actually hold to verses like Romans 3:23, which says,
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and Romans 3:10, which says, “None is righteous, no, not one.”
Plus, as we mature in our faith, we will actually realize more and more just how undeserving we are. And . . . as the Holy Spirit produces God’s fruit in us, we will come to love others more completely. Just what is that fruit? We find the list in Galatians 5:22-23:
“ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
If this fruit marks our lives, it can’t help but spill over into our relationships. We can act loving, joyful, peaceful, etc., but when the Holy Spirit develops these qualities in our lives, we will be forever changed.
And those who truly want to walk the path God places before us will realize the truth of 1 John 4:20, which says, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
Do we have it all figured out yet? By now means.
Do we always get it right? Definitely not.
Would it be loving to know the truth as we discover in the Scriptures and not share it with others? Although most of us would prefer to avoid conflict, if we truly love God—and those He has placed in our lives—we will seek to proclaim the truth.
Jesus courageously walked the path before Him. He proclaimed truth . . . and He was truth itself. He knew the cost He would pay to provide salvation for all those who would believe.
We, too, must count the cost, pick up our cross daily, and follow Him. And by so doing, we will make Him known.
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Images courtesy of:
Jesus Before Pilate – James Tissot
Friendship – Piotr Bizior