What is Truth? – Pilate (John 18:38)

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.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

John 18:37-38

What indeed? Pilate’s question is one that people are still asking today. Although the world endeavors to apply a vague subjectivity to truth, the answer is clear and applies to all

Note that his question is not ‘WHAT is THE truth’ but rather ‘WHAT IS TRUTH’. This question is not seeking to determine an accurate verdict or discover what is inherently right. Rather his question challenges the very substance and existence of truth itself. 

It is no wonder that our world is restless and immersed in folly. Academically and philosophically, they have thrown off the very concept of truth. Though, practically their actions still betray their acknowledgment of its importance. The world is ready to declare that truth is subjective until they have been wronged in some way and are in need of justice. 

Why is the objectivity of truth so hard to swallow? This is the real question that needs to be asked. If truth isn’t at the mercy of someone’s perception or interpretation and rather is an absolute standard which existed outside of us because it was defined and established outside of us then this would require an author or an authority of some sort. This authority must have established the parameters of such a standard. This would mean truth is the standard that is outside of the happenings of this world, above the effect of our experiences, and firmly established in the immovable character of that Author. And if this be the case, then we are subject to truth and its Author, and left with only two options, submit or rebel. 

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”

John 8:31b-47

This concept of receiving one’s truth then is an ignorant notion. There is one truth, whether you receive it or not, it will be brought to bear on all of creation. That truth says that He is God and we are not. He is the Creator and we are the creation, made for His purposes and His glory. There is nothing anyone can do to change this. This reminds me of the opening verses of Psalm 2:1-3: “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” Cast His bonds away? Throw away His right and power to rule His creation? How absurd is this? God’s truth has not been hidden from us, we have grown up seeing it since our beginning. God has made it plain to us through His creation (Romans 1:18). To deny this is to suppress the truth in unrighteousness. This is why you can always trace an argument against objective truth to some form of willing ignorance, deceit, rebellion, immorality, and/or pride. Truth will always be folly to those in opposition to Christ. However, as children of God, we see the beauty and goodness in truth. “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31b-47). Truth is nourishment to those who are being saved by it. “For the Word of the Cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18). 

So let us not play the fool as Pilate did. Haughtily questioning the existence of Truth while standing in the presence of its Author. As believers, we know the truth, and most importantly, we know who truth is. The Author of Life has used His creation to reveal His existence. His Spirit has opened our hearts to understand and receive His Truth. We now see and agree with His declaration of all that is True. We have seen and tasted that the Lord and His ways are good. In fact, we are called to love the truth and to live in light of it. We know that as long as we live in this world, there will be opposition against the Truth and those who stand for it. Therefore, with the scales having been removed from our eyes by His grace, let us humbly submit ourselves to the teaching of our Creator. 

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