“Pilate asked him ‘what is truth’?” John 18:38
It seems as if at the core of every conflict is a dispute over the truth. When a car accident occurs, experts evaluate the evidence in order to determine who is at fault. Every case that is tried in court is an attempt by an impartial judge or jury to determine “what really happened.” Two siblings make their arguments to a beleaguered parent, each demanding or pleading that his or her perspective be taken into account (“He took my Nintendo game!!” “She said I could borrow it!!!”). Every parent, every expert, every jury knows (or should know) that discovering the “truth” is an extraordinarily difficult task. Every action has multiple interpretations and consequences. Combing through the wreckage of the past to reconstruct “what really happened” can be like putting together a very large puzzle only to discover that none of the pieces fit. It is exhausting.
This line from Pilate “what is truth” resonates with me. Whenever I read it aloud it comes out with exasperation. I believe that it is a sincere question from Pilate, an expression of the difficult situation he finds himself in as he tries to quell an impending riot while hoping against hope that he won’t have to have Jesus’ blood on his hands. Truth is difficult to determine when one is trying to keep everyone happy and calm. Truth is difficult to determine when one approaches it as if it is a math equation. But truth, as we discover it in the Bible, isn’t an equation or even a collection of “rights and wrongs.” Truth in the Bible is seen in the person of Jesus Christ who says “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
What does it mean to see truth embodied in Christ? We pondered that question as our opening devotion in session last night. I think it was Kirk Grier who responded “when truth is in a person, it means that person is reliable.” That struck me as a word that bears repeating. When we refer to someone as a “true friend,” we might also say that they didn’t abandon us in our need, they were our advocate when we were being persecuted unjustly, they treated us as if we had inherent value, or they forgave us when we ourselves were unjust. That is a truth that is easily seen. One doesn’t have to scramble to make sense of it. It just is.
In a sense, that is what we are trying to bring to fruition as a church…to live out the truth of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. It requires courage, faith and love. May God make it a reality among us.
Blessings on the journey,