What is your response to Truth?
Jesus stood in the judgment hall before Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator and governor of Judea while the leaders of the Sanhedrin and the mob waited outside. They wanted Pilate to accept the verdict of the Sanhedrin and sentence Jesus to death without a public trial. But Pilate could see through their scheme and knew their charges against Jesus were false and could not be substantiated.
“Art Thou the King of the Jews? Pilate asked Jesus. “Sayest thou this thing of thyself or did others tell it thee of Me?” Jesus was inquiring if Pilate’s true reason for his question was a real desire to know truth. But pride prevented Pilate from acknowledging any sincere interest in truth or the mission of Jesus. Wanting to give Pilate an understanding of the true nature of His kingdom, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.
If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
“Art thou a king, then?” Pilate asked (John 18:37). After affirming Pilate’s question, Jesus further explains elements of His mission by stating, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth My voice.” Jesus was trying to convey to Pilate that His followers, those who desire to be in His kingdom, hear His voice and are willing to follow Him because they love truth. The door was open for Pilate to enter into a discussion regarding the truth of Jesus’ mission and kingdom.
“Discerning truth depends more upon our attitude toward receiving it and our love for it, than on our capacity to understand it.”
Any desire Pilate might have had in listening further to Jesus did not exceed his concern for his political career. Protecting his self-interest was more important than his love for truth. Not wishing to hear any more, Pilate shrugged his shoulders and said, “What is truth?” (John 14: 6; 18:38). Here was Pilate’s golden opportunity but he chose to become a people pleaser which served his earthly ambitions rather than a desire for truth.
Jesus desired for Pilate to know the truth about His mission and His kingdom that would bring grace and salvation to the world (John 1: 17). Jesus came to bear witness to the truth about the Father. Since He came from the Father, Jesus can show us the way to the Father, the way from earth to heaven (John 6: 32-38). Jesus Christ is the true expression of the Father’s love for sinners.
Like Pilate many of us place more value on our own self-centered agenda. For the sake of gain and recognition we tend to place traditions and requirements of men above requirements of God. The decisions we make bear witness to whether or not our interest is centered in the things of this world or the truth of God.
Pilate’s rhetorical question “What is Truth?” is an important question for each of us today. But how will we respond? Now is our golden opportunity to accept Jesus, the Truth (John 14: 6). Many of us will undoubtedly choose as Pilate did and protect our self-interest and reject truth. But hopefully there will also be those who will say yes to Jesus, the Truth.
Discerning truth depends more upon our attitude toward receiving it and a love for it, than our capacity to understand it. Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher and mathematician, wrote, “God has given us evidence sufficiently clear to convince those with an open heart and mind, yet evidence sufficiently vague so as not to compel those whose hearts and minds are closed.” How will you respond to truth?