Jesus said, “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.”
Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”John 18:37-38
“What is truth?” Pilate’s famous question to Jesus is still a compelling one. If you were asked that question today, how would you answer it? As I have mentioned before on this blog, it is clear to me that truth has fallen on hard times these days. It has even been said that we now live in a “post-truth” world. So, Pilate’s question seems more relevant than ever, and even more difficult to answer than ever.
Truth is an important theme throughout John’s gospel. Back in the first chapter of John’s gospel, we are told that the word became flesh “and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” The Word who became flesh, John tells us, is full of grace and truth. Jesus is full of grace and truth.
We learn more in the eighth chapter of John’s gospel, when Jesus says: “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” By continuing in his word, we will know the truth; and once we know the truth, it will make us free. So, the truth is not only found in Jesus, it also has the power to set us free.
And then, in the fourteenth chapter of John’s gospel, we are given a very clear and simple answer to this question, “What is truth?” Jesus has just told his disciples that he is leaving soon, to go and prepare a place for them. But that he will come again and take them to himself. And they know the way to the place where he is going. But Thomas says to Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus simply answered him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
And there it is, in clear, simple, and powerful language. Jesus is the truth. He is the way, and the truth, and the life. What is truth? Jesus himself. Not just what he teaches, which is full of grace and truth. Not just his word, which has the power to set us free. But Jesus himself is the truth.
What is truth? Better to ask, Who is truth? And to give truth a name, a name that is above every name: Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God. Amen.
This is another in my series exploring scripture’s most compelling questions. I share more about this series here: What Are Scripture’s Most Compelling Questions?