Summary: Pilate questioned Jesus’ version truth, but he’s not the only one who ever questioned "truth?" What lay at the heart of his objections is the same reason many reject truth today.
OPEN: Two psychiatrists were at a convention. As they visiting, one asked, "What was your most difficult case?"
The other replied, "I had a patient who lived in a pure fantasy world. He believed that an uncle in South America was going to die and leave him a fortune. All day long he waited for a letter to arrive from an attorney. He never went out, he never did anything, he merely sat around and waited for this fantasy letter from this fantasy uncle. I worked with this man eight years."
"What was the result?"
"It was an eight-year struggle. Every day for eight years, but I finally cured him... then that stupid letter arrived!"
APPLY: That letter was “truth”
It was the truth a man had waited for - for over 8 years.
But until that letter arrived – at least as far as psychiatrist was concerned – “truth” didn’t exist
Truth was a fantasy
Truth was the fabrication of a “mentally challenged” individual who needed to be cured
And even when that “truth” turned up in the mailbox – he was still uncomfortable with it
I. Many people have difficulty with the idea of “Truth”
ILLUS: According to a survey done by Barna Research back in 1995
About 3/4 ’s of all adults in America rejected the notion that there are absolute moral truths. Most Americans believe that all truth is relative to the situation and the individuals involved. Similarly, at least 3/4’s of our teens embrace the same position regarding moral truths. Not only did more than 3 out of 4 teenagers say there is no absolute moral truth, 4 out of 5 also claim that nobody can know for certain whether or not they actually know what truth is.
For these people – truth is a fantasy. It doesn’t exist. Or if it does exist – nobody knows for certain what real truth is. Nobody knows what it looks like.
ILLUS: Some have compared the search for truth to the story of the Hindu blind men who were standing around an elephant trying to figure out what it looked like.
· One man touched the side of the elephant – very much like a wall
· One man held its tail – an elephant is very much like a rope, he observed.
· One man stood beneath its massive ears as they waved back and forth – an elephant is very much like a fan, he said.
In other words, truth depends upon your point of view. Such people are fond of saying – there are to two sides to every issue. What is true for you, may not be true for me
ILLUS: I once read about a man who heard his friend say: “There are 2 sides to every question”
And the man replied “Yes, there are two sides to every question… just like there are two sides to a sheet of flypaper, but it makes a difference to the fly which side he chooses.”
In other words, the world thinks truth is flexible… but something inside tells us that IF we ignore “TRUTH” we do so at our own peril. There are consequences to setting truth aside. There are consequences to having a “flexible” morality
II. Pilate was a man who believed flexible morality. In a truth that was… adaptable.
But why? Why would Pilate (or anybody else) have a problem with “TRUTH?”
Why would people have difficulty with morality?
Why would they reject a standard of what is “right and wrong?”
Why would they prefer shades of gray to black and white?
I struggled with this question for nearly 4 hours as I was working on this sermon... and then, it suddenly occurred to me that the problem was not with the TRUTH.
Everybody has their own standard of truth. Everyone has a standard by which they decide what is right and wrong.
ILLUS: For example, a philosophy professor began each new term by asking his class, "Do you believe it can be shown that there are absolute values like justice?"
The free-thinking students all argued that everything was relative and no single law can be applied universally.
Before the end of the semester, the professor devoted one class period to debate the issue. At the end, he concluded, "Regardless of what you think, I want you to know that absolute values can be demonstrated. And if you don’t accept what I say, I’ll flunk you!"
One angry student got up and insisted, "That’s not fair!"
"You’ve just proved my point," replied the professor. "You’ve appealed to a higher standard of fairness."
Did you catch that? These students had a standard of what was right and wrong. And everybody does…
ILLUS: Even when I went to Purdue and many of the professors were trying to teach me that there were no “moral absolutes,” no absolute truths… what they were really doing was attempting to destroy my standards of right and wrong so that they could then teach me the standards they believed in.