What Is Truth?
Posted on May 31, 2016

This was the question that Pontius Pilate tossed at Jesus on that fateful Good Friday morning, but which he never waited to hear answered. I have been haunted by it over the years.

It is worth looking at chapter 18 of John’s gospel to see that little scene. Jesus has, under questioning, told Pilate that his kingdom is not of this world. Pilate has nothing to fear from him. Pilate seizes on that word, king, and says, “So you are a king?” Jesus’ enigmatic answer could be interpreted as “You’ve said it” or “You say so.” Jesus adds that those who seek the truth listen to his voice. Pilate poses his question here about truth, but leaves before Jesus can reply. Why?

Is the truth so hard that to hear it would risk upsetting everything in his life? Pilate has asked the only person who could, in all honesty, tell an audience: “I am the way the truth and the life.” Pilate could have queried no one more capable of answering him. But he isn’t serious enough, or is he afraid, to wait for the answer.

Did you ever give the truth test to whatever media connection you have? Try it for one hour some evening. Watch the news and ask each reporter: “Are you telling the truth?” Ask each politician, above all in these weeks, “Are you being honest”. Check the athletes’ answers in their press conferences. Even try it on the commercials. Are those claims possible?

Several things will happen. You will want more than flippant phrases. You will be asking for proof. You will be saying, “Can I trust you?” This is not to make you so suspicious that you become a true skeptic, but it is a great way to test some of the words that fill our airwaves.

Most of all, I think you are being a good citizen. If you have no facts, how can you support the elected and those who would aspire to being elected. Pilate asked one of the most important questions in life. If only he had had time to wait for the response from Jesus!


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