Scripture: John 18:38 CEB
“What is truth?” Pilate asked.”
The author of a blog recently contended that the current climate in the United States felt a lot like the 1960s to him. The author’s main contention was that people are not satisfied with the way things are heading and they are demanding action. There have been marches organized, rallies taking place, and a general unrest in society and a desire for change. Actually, the author did an excellent job of not taking any particular side of any of the debated issues involved. The author was simply lamenting the need for the protests and the inability of our elected leaders, and all leaders, to work together toward solutions that address current concerns. As I was reading the blog I realized that the true problem in our current culture is wrapped in the question, “What is truth?” People on each side of any debate are supporting their truth. They believe that their viewpoint, philosophy, or proposal is the truth. If people cannot agree on what the truth is then it is almost impossible to make progress. The truth matters.
Merriam-Webster defines truth as “the body of real things, events, and facts: a judgement, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true.” Truth is important because it is real (thing, event, or fact, judgment, proposition, or idea) and is accepted as true. This definition is very important when understanding the dynamic of where we are today. The word “accepted” is the key. What do people accept as true? If people can come to a common agreement about what is true, they can move forward. If not, they are stuck and usually problems ensue. The truth matters and is key to progress and forward movement. What is truth?
That is the heart of our Scripture passage for today. Jesus has been arrested and sent to Pilate for judgment. In the conversation between Jesus and Pilate, Jesus makes the following statement, “I was born and came into the world for this reason: to testify to the truth.” This is what prompts Pilate to ask the question, “What is truth?” Indeed! What is truth? The rest of Jesus’ statement was, “Whoever accepts the truth listens to my voice.” At first reading this statement of Jesus seems a little cryptic. So, what is Jesus saying? Jesus is saying what he has already said before. In the 14th chapter of The Gospel of John, Jesus is asked by Thomas, “How can we know the way?” Jesus was sharing with his disciples about leaving them to go back to his Father’s house. He tells them they know the way, but Thomas indicates they don’t. Jesus answers Thomas by saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So, when Pilate asks, “What is truth?” Jesus has already answered him. Jesus' answer is the same as his answer in the garden, I Am! Jesus is the truth! The truth matters.
On this Good Friday the truth matters. The truth was plotted against and falsely accused. The truth was arrested, tortured, and hung on a tree. The truth forgave the very people who were killing him because they did not know what they were doing. The truth died a sinner’s death in my place and yours. The truth was buried in a borrowed tomb. The truth came into the world to save the world, but the world did not accept the truth. Yet, Jesus' words still ring true—“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him." [John 3:16-17] The truth matters. If someone accepts this truth by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, they are made right with God and made a part of the family of God. Yes—the truth matters. This is what we remember on Good Friday as we remember the truth of what Jesus Christ did on our behalf.
Prayer: Holy God of truth, thank you for sending the truth into the world. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life today and forever. I am eternally grateful for all that Jesus did for me and for all on the cross. Come Holy Spirit and guide me to live in the truth of Jesus Christ today and every day. Amen.