Pontus Pilate has an odd historical persona. All four gospels share accounts of him lobbying to have Jesus released yet he was the one who condemned Christ to die. Historian Josephus recorded that Pilate wanted to keep peace in Jerusalem by allowing Mosaic laws and customs to be practised. Yet, he lost his role as Prefect because of his brutal treatment of the Samaritans. They were looking to view artefacts allegedly buried by Moses on Mount Gerizim; the mountain where they worshipped God. Pilate exercised political and military might and was accustomed to trying to determine the truth in situations requiring his action. If his life was anything like present-day politicians, he must have been frustrated by the distortion of information. The gospel of John records him asking Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38 a) in response to Jesus’ statement, in John 18:37. Was Pilate’s question to Jesus sarcasm or was it a question asked by someone struggling to know, “What is truth?”
The BBC news service recently showed a short video of a Chinese artists studio being torn down by government officials. He had designed the “birdsnest” stadium which hosted the 2008 Olympics but today is considered an enemy of China. My interest in his story was sparked by the question, “how a dissident could be allowed to leave China”. I went looking for the facts behind the story and went to my regular internet information sources. The accounts of his life story and interaction with the Chinese government was very subjective and I found myself asking, “What is truth?” The search for an answer opened my eyes to the reality that we are living in an age where, despite having access to a lot of information, the truth is hard to find. It seems that much of the information we read is produced by those more interested in their own notoriety vice the facts. However, the truth that is truly important does not come from man’s words but God’s. Jesus’ truth is far more than facts. It’s not just something we act upon. It acts upon us. We can’t change the truth, but the truth can change us.
Jesus stated on several occasions that He was the truth. The truth He spoke about and represents is rooted in an eternal God who is all powerful and unchangeable. A loving Father who, even after He placed His first children in a garden of paradise and they chose the lie of the deceiver over His truth, He did not abandon them. The MCF does not hide the fact it has a self-interest agenda. We want to expose Jesus as the truth. A truth that starts with belief in His Lordship, the need for acceptance and repentance of sin, and recognizing Him as a Saviour who forgives thereby allowing us to reclaim a place beside our Father. We want people to know that scripture contains a truth they may not want to hear. A truth that states that from the beginning we chose the lie of a deceiver over the truth of God. A truth that reminds us that when we were created, God saw us as good and wants to restore us to that status. The truth is found in a God who wants what is good for His children. Even as He expelled us from the garden, He promised salvation in the form of a future offspring who would crush the head of the defeated deceiver Satan.
Jesus is the truth. Truth personified. He is the source of all truth, the embodiment of truth and therefore the reference point for evaluating all truth-claims. Pilate both witnessed and heard the truth as Jesus stood before him. However, he chose to listen to the lies of the jeering crowds and his political consciousness and missed the truth. Jesus’ death on the cross did not stop the truth from being heard. He rose from death, as He said He would, validating His claim of a special connection with the Father. Allowing the truth to be shared with the world.
The Apostle Paul reminds us that God has written His truth on human hearts, in the conscience (Romans 2:16). We feel shame and twinges of conscience when we recognize that truth has been violated. When our family and friends hear truth, if spoken graciously, they can be drawn to it. The heart longs for truth, even the heart that rejects it. Stand with us as we tell others the answer to Pilate’s question, “What is truth?”