"What Is Truth?"
We see here a dark day in history—the day Jesus was sentenced to hang on a cross. We also see a deeply troubled man named Pilate, whom Christ spent some of His final hours talking with. As we know, Jesus never wasted a breath He took on this earth; every word spoken, miracle performed, or meal shared was on mission to bring the kingdom of heaven to this earth. This conversation He shared with Pilate was no exception.
Pilate and Jesus first had a witty word-joust over whether Jesus was “a king” or crazy, wrongly accused or rightly convicted. Within this banter, Jesus gave us some insight into what we, as His kingdom members, should do. We do not fight for Christ to be freed from death (spoiler: Jesus has that one covered), but to fight for the world to be freed by His death and Resurrection (John 18:36)! We need not make ourselves judges; we have a Perfect Judge! Being freed in Christ, we are those who bring joy and unconditional love to sinners like ourselves. If we are to be about the Lord’s business, we are to focus on bringing His heavenly kingdom here. That is the only thing that can right wrongs and resurrect the dead.
Toward the end of this text, we see a question posed by Pilate that humankind often dwells on: What is truth (John 18:38)? We live in a world that wants to believe that truth is relative; everyone has their own truth. That way, no one is wrong. But I would also plead that no one is right, either. Pilate may have been asking this as a rhetorical question or even posing it sarcastically, but little did he know that he was speaking to The Way, The Truth, and The Life. In this world, we believe only one thing to be certain: Jesus is Lord. Every day, may we be more certain of this truth than the last.
John 18:33-40 (ESV):
My Kingdom Is Not of This World
33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 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.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.