By Brooke Holt
“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?’” - John 18:37-38
This conversation between Pilate and Jesus was surely quite different than any other Pilate had ever experienced. Despite the authority given to Pilate to determine the fate of Jesus, Jesus was not intimidated by him, for Jesus knew that all true power came from his Father above (John 19:11). In this passage, Jesus affirmed what Pilate spoke about Jesus being a king. However, unlike the earthly kings, Jesus was fully committed to a life of truth. As Jesus said earlier in this Gospel, he was “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
In a world where corruption abounded within politics and even religion, Jesus came to shine light into the world, true light from the Father. In Jesus, no darkness could be found. He spoke truth; he lived truth; he modelled a life of obedience to truth. As John wrote, the world was so filled with darkness that many could not even recognize the light. They loved darkness, loved the corruption of the world.
Pilate was clearly of the world. He was not seeking truth; he was seeking false peace. The peace of Pilate was false because it rested on Roman rule and ideals as opposed to God’s rule and ideals. Rome despised the nation of Israel just as Israel despised the rule of Rome. There is the great irony that the Jewish leaders had to appeal to Rome in order to crucify Jesus, a fellow Jew.
Pilate ends this part of the conversation with a piercing question, “What is truth?” Again, there is striking irony in that the truth was standing before him. Did he see? Did he recognize? Was there a true longing within Pilate to understand the truth that can set a person free? We do not know what became of Pilate, whether he was eventually convicted and led by God’s grace into truth. We only know that despite his misgivings about the situation, Pilate allowed for the crucifixion of the One who was and is “the way, and the truth, and the life.”
The striking question for you is what is the truth in your life—the government, yourself, a worldly ideology, or Jesus Christ? How you answer that question today will impact you eternally. Jesus came that you may know the truth and that the truth may set you free (John 8:32). Eternal life, abundant life in Christ can be lived today through knowing Jesus Christ and is secure for an eternity.
Take some time to ponder Pilate’s question about truth then consider how your life aligns or could better align with the truth of Jesus Christ. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Why is trust so difficult? Unlike all the broken promises of this world, God’s redeeming promises are absolute, trustworthy, and true. The covenants of God afford us with abundant reasons to trust God with his plan for our lives. Trusting God: Redeeming Promises of the Word small group Bible study explores the six major redeeming promises of God found in his Word. Learn more about God’s commitment to his people, the nature of a covenant, and how you can find your security in being a child of God’s redeeming promises. Learn more about God’s promises today.
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