Summary: Truth is real.
Dialogue introduction to “Pilate and His Wife” in the Lenten Series, “Overheard: Conversations by the Cross” written by Arden W. Mead. Copy written by Creative Communication for the Parish, 1983.
B. “Dialogue” between Pilate and His Wife.
“What is truth?” Is it merely a dream?
We live today in a time that is frequently called (in some circles at least) “postmodern.” And one of the views of postmodernism is that truth is created by what each person believes truth to be to them or to a group of people they are a part of. In other words, there is no objective reality or truth a part from our own experience of it. This is a challenge to our faith because if truth and reality are merely made up by us out of our own experience then what hope is there for the human condition?
Pilate almost seems to be a practicing postmodern in his time - an ancient time. He is a man torn by duty to his work and the fear of the implications of that work. He tries in this imagined dialogue as well as in our text of this morning to create a version of truth that will make him comfortable. Something that all of us can relate to, right?
Truth is real. Truth stood in front of Pilate that day. Truth was involved in the events, actions, and decisions of that day.
Our faith must be more than belief in and commitment to a written set of beliefs. Now the Bible contains truth and is truthful but it reveals God, the Holy Spirit uses it, and it points to Jesus, who said, “I am the way, the Truth, and the life.” This is where our faith must lie – in the Truth of God as revealed in Jesus Christ.
In our ease dropping of this morning, we hear a man who is trying to both keep the truth at bay because of his fears regarding that truth while trying to uphold and maintain the various truths that he believes in - the truth of power, the truth of duty, and the truth of authority. As you listened, couldn’t you see Pilate “twisting in the wind” as his wife challenged his assumptions that were behind his decision to sentence Jesus to death?
*“Was he guilty of treason?”
“That is what the inscription of accusation said over his head on the cross.”
“It said, “Treason?” “This man is guilt of treason?”
“Not exactly.” “This is the King of the Jews.”
“What is that, some kind of joke?”
“Not at all. In fact, the chief priests and the leaders tried to get me to change the sign. They wanted it to say, “He claimed to be the King of the Jews.” But I wouldn’t budge.”
“You wouldn’t budge.”
“What I have written stays written.”
“You wouldn’t budge! You let them maneuver you, the Roman Governor, into condemning an innocent man to death - a righteous man, a man you yourself said was innocent-and then, when that injustice was complete; you suddenly got firm in your resolve, and wouldn’t change the words on a stupid signboard.”
“What I have written stays written!”
Truth is real. Truth is demanding. Truth is hard to accept at times. And Pilate faced all of this when he faced Truth in the face – the face of Jesus Christ.
“Pilate replied, “You are a king then?”
“You say that I am a king, and you are right,” Jesus said. “I was born for that purpose. And I came to bring truth to the world. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”
“What is truth?” Pilate asked.”
Sometimes we treat truth with a cold and calculating detachment. We set it on a table on one side of a room and then go to the other side and study it from a distance.
We become scientific and objective in our attitude and approach to truth. We place our emotions in check and look at it with a cold eye of objectivity.
Pilate seemed to do that when he was faced with the angry crowds and the violently jealous leaders who could not wait to get this upstart rabbi out of the way. He seemed to look upon the scene with a detachment, at least for a while, until we get into John 19 and verse 12 where we read, “Then Pilate tried to release him, but the “Jewish leaders told him, “If you release this man, you are not a friend of Caesar. Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar.”
“What’s it going to be Pilate? Your job, maybe your life or this one’s?”
Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” And some have added to this statement, “but first it will make you miserable.”