Centuries ago, a powerful man asked a question of Jesus Christ. What is truth? That man was Pontius Pilate, the official who presided over Jesus’ trial. He was seeking to find some fault in Him at the Jews’ demand to execute Him.
A friend and I were talking the other day about this subject- truth.
With the many voices and ideologies in our culture today being shouted across the world wide web, and the many rabbit holes to dive down into, is it any wonder we are more confused now than ever before?
Is anyone living truth? Is anyone speaking truth? Is anyone or anything true at all? So many voices. Who’s to know?
I’m sure these things were true in Pilate’s day, He was a military man, a leader. He had seen many things; many atrocities in his lifetime and tenure, I’m sure. What cynicism must have dwelt within him. What offense he must have experienced at the behaviors and corruption of mankind. And now he bade the question, what is truth?
But, Jesus did not answer him. Not a word. And Pilate tried to return Him to the Jews declaring that he found no fault in Jesus.
Just before Pilate’s inquiry about the truth, Jesus made a statement in John 18:37 that most likely prompted Pilate’s question in the first place: “Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this, cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’”
The audacity of Jesus to make this statement! How could He make such a claim? Of course, this statement comes into our hearing after the fact; after the crucifixion and the resurrection; after decades of commentary and understanding, we cannot imagine how His statement hit Pilate. But this is Jesus proclaiming to know the truth and even more, to embody it.
So Pilate takes the opportunity in John 18: 38 to ask, “‘What is truth?’, On saying this he went out to the Jews again and told them, ‘I find no fault in Him.’” It seems Pilate didn’t even wait for an answer from Jesus, but immediately goes back out to the Jews and says, “I find no fault in Him.”
Was Pilate dismissing Jesus, or was he simply tired of the entire situation and just wanted to get rid of Jesus and the Jews? Perhaps both. But, perhaps he was more prophetic than he realized and even we realize today. Let me explain.
Have you ever met anyone who had no fault in them? You may have met a nice person or someone who seems to be good, but biblically speaking, there is no person without fault, because the Bible says we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). There is none good, no not one (Psalm 14:3)!
We have all turned our own way and have become corrupt the Bible says in Psalms 14. How can any of us claim to be truthful or know the truth, if we are faulty? Only One can claim the truth! If there is no fault in Jesus, which means, according to dictionary.com, there is no defect or imperfection and we inherently do no good, meaning we are defective and imperfect, then how can anyone in humanity claim he/she has the truth?
We can claim ideologies, beliefs, experiences, and deceptions, but we cannot claim to know the truth unless we are proclaiming Jesus. It seems simple enough, doesn’t it? But, in our human pride and arrogance, we claim to have all the answers to the uncertainties of life, but we don’t. The experiences we have can turn us inside out and although those experiences may cause us to grow and change, we still ask why and are no closer to an answer no matter how many things we overcome.
Why is this? Because our base nature as humans is diametrically opposed to God and anything about Him. No one wants to live in the truth that is Jesus, because our natural response to God is rebellion. Without Christ, we are opposed to anything that has to do with God. There is enmity between us and God and one another.
Let me ask you this: With all the proclaimed truth of our day, are we any better? Any wiser? More unified? No! In fact, we are more perverse, hateful, divided, and murderous than ever before. With all of our knowledge and advancement, we still have shooters killing our kids, suicides, human trafficking, and crimes that are so diabolical that we can’t even utter their details.
We are in the chaos we are in because truth has fallen in the streets.
In transgressing and lying against the Lord,Isaiah 59: 13-15
And departing from our God,
Speaking oppression and revolt,
Conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
Justice is turned back,
And righteousness stands afar off;
For truth is fallen in the street,
And equity cannot enter.
So truth fails,
And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.
Notice that last statement in verse 15, “he who departs from evil makes himself a prey”. Those who hold to truth will become prey for those who oppose it. Is this not the reality of our day? Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:16). With the turmoil in our world, should we not be seeking Him? The Truth?
The time is coming, and I say, now is when humanity will not tolerate sound doctrine but will gather together people who will tickle their ears and tell them what they want to hear. (2 Tim 4:3)
“For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold.”2 Timothy 4:3
Are we not living in that day?