What Is Truth?
John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”
John 18:37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
John 18:38 Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”
Jesus was bold when it came to talking about the kingdom of God and when he is captured and turned over to the government authorities he does not try to hide his purpose. His life is one that that testifies to the truth and that points people away from the kingdoms of this world and to the “kingdom of our Lord and of our Christ.” The deception is really the world that we see around us on a daily basis because it blinds us to the truth of the kingdom of God. Jesus was trying to help Pilate see this truth but he could not. For him the question “what is truth?” remained and he continued stumbling in the darkness, trying to satisfy the deceptive world around him.
Part of the deception of worldly kingdoms has to do with power. As much as we may not want to talk about it, much of life is about power. Who has it and who doesn’t! What we we do with it and what we don’t!
There are many different types of power in this world including ethnicity, race, gender, physical attractiveness, voice, ability to speak, athletic prowess, etc. Humanity seems to endow certain people who have particular physical characteristics with power. Then there is positional power. This is the power that we have by way of the position that we hold. This is why we are, at times, almost smitten by charismatic and physically attractive leadership — but it should also be a warning to those who have these characteristics. Beware of where your power comes from and how you use it! All earthly power should exist in submission to Kingdom power which is true power. All of human power — that which comes from human characteristics or circumstances is temporal and is, actually, deceptive. For what happens to the deposed leader? Once their positional power is gone the fall is great. Often they are left with nothing for all of this is a deception, a facade where we engage in games of manipulation for the sake of personal gain. This is not truth!
What happens to power when it is submitted to the authority of the kingdom of God, the one in whom we find Truth? This would be the plan of God for humanity, to become participants in God’s kingdom. We are challenged to put aside human models and systems of power because in these we are easily manipulated by the desires of humanity. What did Pilate do that day? He did not submit to the Truth of the kingdom but he went outside and took a poll to see what would make him more popular among the people. He was seeking human power, he wanted to be liked by those whom he “thought” he was leading. He floated the idea of setting Jesus free and this probably assuaged his conscience, but at the end of the day the polling numbers showed that the people wanted Jesus crucified and Barrabas set free. Pilate wanted power — not Truth — and so he had the “King of the Jews” crucified.
What is truth? Jesus is Truth! To know Jesus is to be given the opportunity to see into the real kingdom — God’s kingdom. In that moment Truth is revealed for the deceptiveness of humanity’s power struggles give way to the Father’s kingdom in which the pettiness of our earthly shenanigans look ridiculous. Pilate had Jesus standing right in front of him and declaring the kingdom of God and he couldn’t see it. Jesus is revealing himself and the kingdom to us on a daily basis. May we not be deceived by the things of this world and may they not distract us from the Truth.
Lord, please help me to live in your Truth daily. Amen.