Summary: Everyone is interested in the truth, what is the truth and how do we know it's true? Jesus made the claim that He is the Truth, but what does that mean?
6 years ago Al Gore was celebrated for his quasi-documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” Almost fifty years after the event people are still looking for the truth surrounding the assassination of John Kennedy and the suicide of Marilyn Munroe, there are those who are convinced that we have never been told the truth about 9/11 and don’t even get me started on the Moon Landing.
When I talk to people about the bible and Jesus they will sometimes ask “How do you know it’s true?” Often it seems that the cry of the people over and over again seems to be “What is truth?” And that isn’t a bad question, it’s good to know what is true and what isn’t true. Especially if you are betting your eternity on it.
But the question isn’t all that original. It was asked 2000 years ago on the day that Jesus was crucified.
It was a tough spot to be in, especially for a career politician who had based his entire career on compromise. On one hand he had the crowd to please and in the other hand he held the life of an innocent man. The story is a familiar one, Jesus has been arrested and hauled before Pontius Pilate the Roman Governor of Palestine, and Pilate wasn’t sure what to do with this itinerant preacher from Galilee.
It wasn’t that he was unused to conflict, in fact if you looked at his record he would appear to have thrived on it, and when it wasn’t there he created it. He had been sent there by Rome because Palestine was a political hot potato, it is funny how some things never change. There was the constant threat of rebellion and terrorism and the Emperor needed someone who wouldn’t be pushed around, and Pilate fit the bill to the t. But this was different, oh sure it was the week of the Passover celebrations and there was bound to be a little trouble. The zealots liked to point out that God had delivered the Jewish people from slavery once and it wouldn’t be too much to expect Him to do it again. And then simply because of the nature of the celebrations there would have to be extra troops around Jerusalem, just to keep the peace.
But he never expected anything like this. The high priests who normally viewed Pilate as the Devil personified arrived at his door demanding a favour; this could be interesting and profitable. Having the Jewish religious leaders in his debt certainly had possibilities. And it really wasn’t a difficult request; all he had to do was to order the execution of this man Jesus. There were several already slated for public crucifixion, one more cross wouldn’t be difficult to come up and besides, every once in a while he ought to look like the good guy.
And it should have been easy, interview the prisoner, grant the high priest’s request and take the rest of the weekend off. Nothing to it. Except it wasn’t that easy. First there was the prisoner, he was like no-one Pilate had ever met before, there was a presence, a power that Jesus had. He didn’t appear to pose a threat to Rome; Pilate could find no logical reason to have him crucified. He hadn’t called for rebellion, or political overthrow of the government, the guy even told people to pay their taxes. You gotta love that. And then there was the dream. Right in the middle of everything Pilate gets a message from his wife saying, “Leave that innocent man alone.” So now he has an angry mob, an innocent man and an upset wife.