Summary: In the presence of Jesus, Pilate asked "what is truth"? Each of us must decide what is truth and then, we must decide what we’re going to do about it.

April 2, 2000 John 18-19

¡§What is truth?¡¨

1. It is true that many people are ___________ but do not know _________. (18:28)

1. It is true that _____________ Jesus said would happen ________. (18:32)

1. It is true that people would rather embrace the _________ of their _____ than face a __________ who can ________ their _____. (18:38b-40)

1. It is true that ________ is the ______ of a distant kingdom (18:33-37)

1. It is true that ____________ is _____________ by someone or something. (19:9-15)

1. It is true that _________ was ___________ on a tree for _______. (19:16)

1. It is true that when faced with the _______, each individual must either _________ or ________ the truth and be willing to face the ________________ of their decision. (Matt 27:34-35)

April 2, 2000 John 18-19

¡§What is truth?¡¨

1. It is true that many people are ___________ but do not know _________. (18:28)

1. It is true that _____________ Jesus said would happen ________. (18:32)

1. It is true that people would rather embrace the _________ of their _____ than face a __________ who can ________ their _____. (18:38b-40)

1. It is true that ________ is the ______ of a distant kingdom (18:33-37)

1. It is true that ____________ is _____________ by someone or something. (19:9-15)

1. It is true that _________ was ___________ on a tree for _______. (19:16)

1. It is true that when faced with the _______, each individual must either _________ or ________ the truth and be willing to face the ________________ of their decision. (Matt 27:34-35)

April 2, 2000 John 18-19

¡§What is truth?¡¨


A boy of the age of twelve was an important witness in a lawsuit. One lawyer, who was cross-examining him, said, "Your father has been telling you how to testify, hasn’t he?" "Yes," said the boy. "Now just tell us how your father told you to testify," the lawyer remarked. "Well," replied the boy, "Father told me the lawyers would try to tangle me in my testimony; but if I would just be careful and tell the truth, I could tell the same thing every time."

Of all places in our world, one place where we need the truth to be told is in the courtroom. So much is decided in our courtrooms today. The courtroom decides who is at fault for the death of a loved one. The courtroom decides who will get custody of the kids. The courtroom decides how much will be paid in damages that were incurred. The courtroom decides what will be the penalty for the law that was broken. And all of these decisions are based on the belief that natural-born liars will tell the truth. I suppose that is what makes the job of judges and jurors a next to impossible task. They must decide who is telling the truth and who is lying.

Early in the morning, just hours before His death, Jesus stood in a Roman courtroom before a man named Pilate. The witnesses for the prosecution brought charges against Jesus, and there was no one to speak in His behalf. It was only a short time before that Jesus had washed His disciples feet, that He had told them that He was going away, that He and they had gone to the Garden of Gethsemanea to pray, that He had been betrayed by one of His closest friends, and that all of His other friends had deserted Him. And now, He stood all alone before Pilate who would be His judge ¡V the one who would hear the charges brought against Him and decide the fate of Jesus. Pilate had to decide what was truth, and then Pilate had to decide what he was going to do with the truth.

That is something that you and I must do every day. We have to decide whether or not that e-mail warning us of a computer virus is true, and then we have to decide about forwarding it on to our friends. We have to decide if the offer from McDonald¡¦s for me to win a million dollars is true, and then we have to decide if clogging our arteries with French fries and ground beef is worth the chance to get a million dollars. We have to decide if the warning about speeds being checked by radar is true or not, and then we must decide if we are going to release the pressure on the gas pedal. We have to decide the truthfulness of more important things too. We have to decide if it is really true that our sins are an offense to God. We have to decide if it is true that God really loves us. We have to decide if it is true that everything we do is going to have consequences for the rest of our lives and into eternity.

In the events that happened in that courtroom, the witnesses shared 7 truths about mankind, our world, and God. Let¡¦s examine these truths together.

1. It is true that many people are religious but do not know Jesus. (18:28)

„X The chief priests and Pharisees were more concerned with being able to observe their religious feast than they were interested in doing what was right.

„X People are caught up in being religious, but they want nothing to do with Jesus. Most people will claim some type of attachment to some type of religion, but religion only gives you rules to live by. It cannot save you. Jesus is the only one who can do that. (Mat 7:21-23 KJV) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

„X They were the highest example of what it means to be a hypocrite. They were more concerned with the outward show ¡V looking good to everyone else ¡V than they were concerned with have a right relationship with God.

„X Hypocrites turn people off to Jesus and to church. You may have encountered people who refused Jesus because of what they saw in the life of someone who claimed to be a Christian. ¡§That person claims to believe in Jesus. He goes to church. But he¡¦s no different than I am!¡¨

„X That¡¦s the difference between a person who is religious and a person who knows Jesus. The person who knows Jesus has had a radical change in their life with the result that they live according to the truth on a daily basis.

„X Paul said in (Phil 3:8-10 NIV) What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, . . . Paul¡¦s goal and ours must not be to look good to everyone on the outside but to get to know Jesus in such a way that we become like Him.

2. It is true that everything Jesus said would happen did. (18:32)

„X Matthew 20:17-19 ¡V Jesus predicts His death and resurrection

„X A young man asked me how I know that the Bible is true and that the words of Jesus are true. I told him that had Jesus predicted His death and resurrection only to not have it come true, I could safely throw out everything else that Jesus had to say.

„X If Jesus had said to the waters, ¡§Peace, be still¡¨, and the storm continued anyway, I wouldn¡¦t have to listen to Him. If Jesus had said, ¡§Lazarus, come forth!¡¨ only to have Lazarus stay in the grave, I wouldn¡¦t have to listen to Him. If Jesus had said, ¡§Arise, take up thy bed and walk¡¨, and the man¡¦s legs had remained lifeless, I wouldn¡¦t have to listen. But the fact is that all these things happened just as Jesus said.

„X So when Jesus says, ¡§I am the way, the truth . . . ¡§, I had better pay attention. When His Word says, ¡§Whatever a man sows . . .¡¨, I had better listen. When He says, ¡§I¡¦m coming back to get you¡¨, then I had better make sure that I am prepared.

3. It is true that people would rather embrace the darkness of their sin than face a Savior who can forgive their sin. (18:38b-40)

„X The people were given a choice ¡V Jesus or Barabbas

„X What a choice ¡V Jesus gave life, Barabbas had taken life through murder (Luke 23:25). Jesus was holy God, Barabbas was a sinful man. Jesus brought comfort and peace, Barabbas brought fear.

„X But even with the absurdity of the choice, the people still chose Barabbas.

„X Mankind has a similar choice when they consider holding onto their sin or clinging to Jesus. (John 3:19-20 NIV) This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

„X We, as Christians, have exposed ourselves to the light and sought forgiveness for our sin. But there are times that we too still choose to hold onto sin rather than release it to Jesus. We hold onto a grudge because we can¡¦t allow ourselves to forgive that person who hurt us or someone that we love. We hold onto our anger because of that injustice that was done to us. We hold onto our favorite TV show even though it is filled with words and images and ideas that are totally offensive to God. We hold onto our language, and our pornography, and our alcohol because of the short-lived pleasure that they provide. We hold onto all these things even though they send us down into a deep dark pit that Jesus wants to rescue us from.

„X Jesus offers us peace, and we say, ¡§No, thank you. I¡¦d rather have drugs.¡¨ Jesus offers us a relationship with Him, and we say, ¡§No, thank you. I¡¦d rather have sex.¡¨ Jesus offers us eternity, and we say, ¡§No, thank you. I¡¦d rather have today.¡¨ Jesus offers us truth, and we say, ¡§No thank you. I¡¦d rather live a lie.¡¨ Jesus offers us forgiveness, and we say, ¡§No, thank you. I¡¦d rather just enjoy my sin.¡¨

„X Don¡¦t be to quick to point a finger of accusation at the people in Jesus¡¦ day because they made a stupid decision. I bet that you and I have made a similar stupid decision sometime this week when we substituted the fake that the world offers for the truth that Jesus offers.

4. It is true that Jesus is the King of a distant kingdom (18:33-37)

„X The accusation that was brought against Jesus on that day was that He was claiming to be a king. Since that would have put him in opposition to Caesar, the Roman Emperor, the main thing that Pilate needed to discover was the nature of Jesus¡¦ claim.

„X Jesus said that the servants of His kingdom responded differently than the servants in most kingdoms. (vs. 36)

„X Jesus said that His kingdom was distant ¡V in time and in place.

„X Jesus said that His kingdom was based on truth. (vs. 37) Wouldn¡¦t it be nice to have a gov¡¦t that is based on truth. It has been said that everyone wants truth on his side, but not everyone is willing to be on the side of truth.

„X If Jesus¡¦ kingdom is coming, and He is the King of kings, and Lord of lords, then that should have some impact on my outlook on the future. I¡¦m either going to be serving right alongside Jesus in His kingdom, or I will be one of His enemies. The determining factor is going to be whether or not I am on the side of truth.

5. It is true that everyone is controlled by someone or something. (19:9-15)

„X Pilate thought he was in control of this whole situation. He asserted His control over Jesus. The Pharisees recognized that he was the one who could determine the life or death of a person. Talk about control. But Pilate himself was not in control that day. He was manipulated by the religious leaders, he was led by popular opinion, and ultimately, Jesus was given into His hands because of the Father¡¦s plan.

„X The Pharisees were not in control either. In Mark 15:10, we learn that Pilate realized that the reason the Pharisees were so angry at Jesus was because they were envious of the power that Jesus had over the people. The Pharisees were controlled by their envy.

„X The only one who was in control on that day was the one who was being led about by the soldiers. His name was Jesus.

„X In our society, we value our independence. We hate being told what to do by anyone. That¡¦s why our nation¡¦s founders left England behind in the first place. They hated being told what religion to follow. And then when they came here, they broke away from England because they hated being told how much tax to pay. I heard a report on the radio the other day of a group that is telling Americans not to answer the questions on the census forms. Rebellion is in our blood, because we want to be in control of our own destiny. We want to be our own god. But the fact is that there is only one God, and you aren¡¦t Him. Each and every one of us are servants. We are either servants for God or servants for Satan. There is no in-between. (Rom 6:16 NIV) Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

„X You do not have the option of being your own master. At the end of time, when God pours out His wrath on mankind, rather than respond to God¡¦s judgment by looking to Him for mercy and forgiveness, man will respond by continuing to seek control over their own life. (Rev 6:15-17 NIV) Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"

„X Men would rather die by their own hand than admit that God is the one who is in control. Man somehow thinks that maintaining control gives him a sense of security. But throughout history, whenever man tried to take control is when things got really messed up.

„X True security is found when we turn over control of everything that we are and have to Jesus. (Mat 16:25 NIV) For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

6. It is true that Jesus was crucified on a tree for you. (19:16)

„X As important as being in control is to us, Jesus gave up control over His own life to His Father and to mankind in order that He might save mankind.

„X On the night before Jesus stood in Pilate¡¦s courtroom, Jesus prayer to His Father, ¡§Not my will but yours be done¡¨.

„X The truth is that regardless of what else may be going on in your life, Jesus¡¦ death on the cross, His sacrifice to pay the debt for the sins of mankind, is proof beyond any shadow of doubt that He is guilty of loving us.

7. It is true that when faced with the truth, each individual must either accept or reject the truth and be willing to face the consequences of their decision. (Matt 27:34-35)

„X Pilate had the truth staring him in the face, but he refused to acknowledge the truth. He chose to believe a lie instead.

„X Pilate knew what he was doing on that day was wrong. But instead of responding to the truth, he tried to wash away the responsibility for his actions.

„X Pilate had no one he could blame for his decision. He couldn¡¦t blame his lack of knowledge, his poor childhood, his genetic code, the Pharisees, . . . no one. The decision was on his back, and the consequences are his to deal with.


In most courtroom settings, when all is said and done, and the final decision has been handed down, the judge can walk away and continue his/her life just as it was before. The judge has no personal stake in the outcome of the proceedings. She has no attachment to any of the persons in the case, so whatever she decides does not benefit or hurt her.

Such was not the case when Pilate made his decision to condemn Jesus. His decision not only affected Jesus and the Jewish nation, but it also affected Pilate personally. What Pilate chose to do with Jesus would not only determine Jesus¡¦ life or death. What Pilate chose to do with Jesus would determine where Pilate spent his own personal eternity.

The actions of that judge on that day and the sequence of events that his decision set in motion have affected more than any other combination of events since this world was created. The events that occurred on that day affect you and I as we are here gathered in this place on this day. Now, you and I are made the judges. You have to determine what you believe to be the truth. You must ask and answer the same question that Pilate pondered: ¡§What is truth?¡¨

What is true for eternity?

„« Is it true that Jesus is the King and that all who do not yield to His authority will suffer the consequences? YES!!

„« Is it true that Jesus Christ died on a cross to pay for your sins? YES!!

„« Is it true that everything Jesus said would happen in His lifetime did? YES!! Jesus said that He would die to pay for the sins of all mankind and rise from the dead 3 days later. That is exactly what He did.

What is true in my own life?

„« Is it true that I am religious but I have never begun a one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ?

„« Is it true that I am religious but I am not actively pursuing the growth of my relationship with Jesus?

„« Is it true that I have turned over control of my life to things or persons that prevent God from having complete control of all that I am and do?

„« Is it true that I have chosen to hang onto my sin rather than to receive the forgiveness that Jesus offers?

These are questions that I cannot answer. Only you can answer them. How you answer them and what you choose to do as a result of your answers will determine the rest of your life. You and the people whose lives you touch will be the ones who have to deal with the consequences of your response to your encounter with the truth. Jesus said, ¡§I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father except through me.¡¨ (John 14:6)

Maybe you have encountered some truth about yourself today ¡V some truth that you don¡¦t like too much. Maybe you want to change it. You can do that by making Jesus the king of your life. In a moment, we are going to stand to sing. As we stand, you come forward to this altar and do business with Jesus. Or you come to me, and we will examine the truth of God¡¦s Word together so that you can be changed forever.