What Is Truth?


“‘You are a king, then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’

“‘What is truth?’ retorted Pilate.” John 18: 37-38a NIV.

Two kingdoms in collision!

In His precarious position as a prisoner on the brink of being condemned to die, Jesus remained resolutely committed to His commission from the Father. He came to represent the Father to a people who had long ago rejected the truth and created a religious system which suited them better than trusting in a good God they could not see.

They had abandoned their idolatrous worship and resorted to an elaborate self-help religion that consisted of rules upon rules to protect the Law of God so that they could be sure that God would be satisfied with their efforts.

Jesus came to show them that God is not like that at all. He lived out the real meaning of God’s Torah – teaching — by loving and caring for all people, by treating their failures with mercy and their sins with forgiveness because God had provided a lamb as a sacrifice for their sin. He placed on them an easy yoke of simple trust in a loving Father and obedience to His requirement to love Him fully and to love their fellow men.

He had one prescription for carrying out His command — “Follow me.” He was the living and visible demonstration of the truth. God had entrusted the administration of this unseen kingdom to Him as His king but the nations and even His own people had rebelled against Him and set up their own ungodly systems which reflected the imagination of their own hearts.

“Why do the nations conspire and the people plot in vain?…The One enthroned in heaven laughs. He rebukes them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath, saying, ‘I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.’ I will proclaim the Lord’s decree. He said to me, ‘You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me and I will make the nations your inheritance and the ends of the earth your possession.'” Psalm 2:1; 4-8 NIV.

This is something that Pilate would have not understood. He represented the most powerful human system of his day, and the men who perpetuated that system by their arrogant, ruthless and despotic rule. People were there to serve them. They were at the pinnacle of authority — God’s delegated authority, mind you (…”The authorities that exist have been established by God…” Romans 13:1b NIV) and they wielded it with the foolish notion that it was their authority and they could do what they liked with it. They even claimed to be the source of their authority, demanding that their subjects worship them as God! It was treasonable to refuse to honour Caesar as Lord.

Into this scenario came Jesus to tell the world the truth. What is the truth? He, not Caesar, is Lord. Pilate asked the question, ‘What is truth?’ not with a humble desire to know but with a cynical sneer. The Jews whom he governed with an iron fist, had certainly not shown him the truth and neither had his own idolatrous religion with its debauched and depraved gods created by man in the image of man.

What a relief it is to know that Jesus is Lord! What if Caesar or some modern equivalent were Lord? Hitler! Osama ben Laden! Stalin! Gaddafi! Saddam Hussein! Or even one of our present presidents or kings! Unthinkable!

No! They mocked Him, dressed Him in a second-hand royal robe, crowned Him with thorns, spat on Him, ripped out His beard and enthroned Him to a cross but He was still the king of the Jews. He beat them all and still reigns today.

“Then the end will come when He hands over the kingdom to God His Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:24-26 NIV.

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Luella Campbell

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