“You say that I (Jesus) 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?” (John 18:38)
History records tensions existed between Pontius Pilate and the Jewish community. When Jesus stood before Pilate awaiting punishment, Pilate was uncertain as to the crime Jesus had committed and tried to get answers. The gospel of John records a back and forth interaction between Pilate – the leaders – and Jesus. Getting nowhere with his conversations, Pilate seemed to exclaim in exasperation, “What is truth.”
Today the words FAKE NEWS has become a common phrase for many who disagree with what they are reading or hearing and somehow the truth has been set aside. Wikipedia defines fake news as deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread via print, broadcast or online social media; it is not news we don’t like. FAKE NEWS is not news that shows the flaws and weaknesses of an individual. When an individual speaks in front of cameras and makes inappropriate statements, repeating those statements is not fake news. However, there is a lot of fake news being spread by people who are not in the media business. Destructive fake news about COVID 19 cures, political agendas, or social causes are being shared by our family, friends, and neighbours. Even though much of this news can be quickly verified, many don’t bother to do so or are uncertain how to check the information. They spread this disinformation, creating anxiety and worry for many. It is so prevalent that many ask, “what is the truth.”
When Jesus confronted religious leaders about their teachings, He was not condemning them for FAKE NEWS. Jesus’ teachings, like the Sermon on the mount, was not spoken to squash fake news, but to realign people’s thinking to THE TRUTH. This truth was available to them but somehow got lost in the legalism of the age. He did not call them to ignore God’s laws but called them to repentance, to turn back to God and His truths. He reminded people to focus on loving God with all their heart, soul and mind and to love their neighbours. (Matthew 22:37-39).
So, what is THE TRUTH that Jesus came to share? It is a truth that all should believe. This truth comes from outside the world and gives meaning to the world. It is unchanging and absolute. It is THE TRUTH that there is a God who created everything and wants those who believe in His Son’s message, to spend eternity with Him. Today if we try to claim that there is absolute truth, a truth that everyone should believe and follow, we will very likely be considered misguided and immoral. People will say we are mistaken because they think there is no God to give absoluteness to the truth, or, if there is a God, there is no way of knowing him and what he thinks. Not only would you be considered mistaken and misguided, you would also be considered by many to be immoral if you insist on absolute truth. Why? Because to claim that there is absolute truth leads to intolerance and prejudice against what others think.
People don’t think about absolute truth anymore. They are not looking for THE TRUTH that can give meaning and purpose to all of life and history. Instead, people are trying to experience life to the full and call this experience truth for them, not absolute truth, just truth for them. Jesus was not born to keep secret the truth of God. He was born and came into the world to bear witness to THE TRUTH, the unchanging absolute truth of God. That is not FAKE News but Good News.