What is Truth?

26 Jul

This was a question recently posed by one of my mission partners. And as I fumbled to appropriately answer the deep question in our rather casual conversation, I could not help but recall Pilate’s famous words echoing this very question. It is vital to understand Pilate’s actions, especially in and age of relativism, because we are still asking that very question 2000 years later.

After asking Jesus this question, Pilate reveals to the Jews that he finds no charges against him. And yet he frees Barabas and hands Jesus over to be scourged and crowned with thorns. Pilate again tells the crowd that he finds no basis for a charge against him.  Even after shout to “Crucify him”, Pilate initially resists. Eventually, however, he does give in to their demands.

Pilate was probably a great philosopher who understood truth, but he was put in a situation where he was asked to compromise that truth—and it starts to compromise his ideas of truth. Here’s the compromise: Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent, but allowed him to be crucified to avoid his own death by an uprising or Caesar.

But Jesus tells us that if we lose our life we will gain it. If Pilate had refused to crucify Jesus he would either a) have become a martyr and gained eternal life or b) Jesus would still have spared Pilate’s life and offered his own as a sacrifice to fulfill the prophecies. We see the latter with John the Baptist: John tried to deter Jesus, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. [Mt 3:13-15]

Truth can compromise our comfortable lifestyle, our friendships, and even our self-image—but ultimately, if we let it, truth can redeem us.


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