Pilate’s question: What is truth?
That’s a question that haunts us even today, doesn’t it?
Our entire legal system is based on people telling “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
Yet we know that often, people in a trial are not given fair hearings because of someone who does know the truth and yet does not tell the truth.
You know, I believe that was Pilate’s real struggle that night so long ago. Not that he didn’t know the truth.
Matthew 27 tells us that Pilate “knew that it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.” Pilate knew the truth.
Just a little later in this narrative, Pilate hands down his judgment against Jesus and says “I find no basis for a charge against him.” Pilate knew the truth.
But knowing the truth, and responding to the truth are different. Pilate knew the truth, but chose not to respond to the truth. And handed Jesus over to be crucified.
You know, we are the same way today aren’t we? We know the truth. One of the more popular examples of this that I’ve seen lately is a book that came out a while ago by Robert Fuldrom called All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. It was a best seller for quite a while.
In that book Fuldrom wrote…..
Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.
These are the things I learned:
- Share everything…
- Play fair…
- Don’t hit people…
- Put things back where you found them…
- Clean up your own mess…
- Don’t take things that aren’t yours…
- Say your sorry when you hurt somebody….
- Wash your hands before you eat…
- Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you…
- Live a balanced life…
- Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work some every day…
- Take a nap every afternoon…
- When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together…
- Be aware of wonder.
Great truths for life aren’t they? Yet even though we know these things as “truths” for our lives, we often don’t do them do we?
That’s just ONE example of how our problem is NOT a matter of knowing the truth… but rather it is whether or not we RESPOND to the truth.
That was what Pilate was facing back then as well.
Lest you think this was just Pilate’s problem, think back to some of the others in the passion of Jesus… the Jewish leaders like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimethea who knew the truth of who Jesus was. The Bible even says they were followers of Jesus…. but secretly.
They were afraid of letting others know that they knew the truth and had responded to the truth.
Peter had a similar problem didn’t he? He alone of all had first spoken the truth of Jesus when he declared “You are the Christ, the Son of God.” And he was one of only three that had gotten to see Jesus transfigured and heard God the Father Almighty declare “This is my Son…”
Yet, on the night of Jesus’ trial, in those early morning hours, three different times this one who intimately and publicly knew the truth, responded to others by pretending to not know.
How about us?
I firmly believe that the words of Scripture have value for us today; they can be applied to our lives now.
So what is there in here for us today?
We, like those in the last few hours before Jesus’ death, know what the truth is. Jesus himself said that HE. Was. The. Truth.”
But, like those back then, knowing is not enough. We too must respond to the truth.
And the truth is that we face a God who loves us so much, that He would rather die than spend eternity without us. So he did…. He died on that cross, faced all of the shame, the persecution, the pain, that would have been ours, so that we would not have to spend eternity separated from God.
And all we have to do, is respond….. accepting him as our Lord, our Savoir.
We know the truth.
So do so many around us.
But will we respond to that truth?
Will we be like Pilate, knowing the truth and then give up and walk away?
Will we be like Nicodemus and Joseph, knowing the truth and responding, but never be bold enough to take a stand for the truth of Jesus Christ, because of our fear?
Will we be like Peter, knowing the truth, responding to the truth, but then distancing ourselves from it when we face uncomfortable circumstances?
What is truth? Jesus. Now, how will we respond?
What will YOU do with The Truth?