Summary: Message about Pilate’s question to Jesus.
“What is Truth?”
October 18, 2009
Dr. Norman Geisler and Dr. Frank Turek make some important points regarding truth in their book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Crossway Books, 2004). Some of their material is quoted below:
"We demand truth in virtually every area of our lives. For example; we demand truth from:
1. loved ones (no one wants lies from a spouse or a child)
2. doctors (we want the right medicine prescribed and the right operations performed)
3. stock brokers (we demand that they tell us the truth about companies they recommend)
4. courts (we want them to convict only the truly guilty)
5. employers (we want them to tell us the truth and pay us fairly)
6. airlines (we demand truly safe planes and truly sober pilots)
We also expect to be told the truth when we pick up a reference book, read an article, or watch a news story; we want the truth from advertisers, teachers, and politicians; we assume road signs, medicine bottles, and food labels reveal the truth.
In fact, we demand the truth for almost every facet of life that affects our money, relationships, safety, or health.
On the other hand, despite our unwavering demands for truth in those areas, many of us say we aren’t interested in truth when it comes to morality or religion.
In fact, many downright reject the idea that any religion can be true.
As the reader has probably noticed there is a huge contradiction here. Why do we demand truth in everything but morality and religion?
Why do we say, ’That’s true for you but not for me,’ when we’re talking about morality or religion, but we never even think of such nonsense when we’re talking to a stock broker about our money or a doctor about our health?
Although few would admit it, our rejection of religious and moral truth is often on volitional rather than intellectual grounds-we just don’t want to be held accountable to any moral standards or religious doctrine.
So we blindly accept the self-defeating truth claims of politically correct intellectuals who tell us that truth does not exist; everything is relative; there are no absolutes; it’s all a matter of opinion; you ought not judge; religion is about faith, not facts!
Perhaps Augustine was right when he said that we love the truth when it enlightens us, but we hate it when it convicts us"(IDHEFA:35-36). (Found at www.preventingtruthdecay.org)
We’ve been working through the gospel of Matthew for quite some time now, and we’re at the point where Jesus is on trial before Pontius Pilate, who was the Roman governor of Judea.
Matthew tells us of the interaction between Pilate and the crowd, but in the gospel of John we find details about the conversation between Pilate and Jesus.
And in this conversation, Jesus makes a claim about Himself that gets Pilate’s attention.
It’s a claim about truth, and it’s a claim that would make a lot of people cringe, especially today, when we live in a pluralistic world that would say there are many truths.
But as we’ll see in the message today, we really don’t have that option.
A person’s acceptance or rejection of truth has eternal consequences, and so it’s extremely important that we listen to what Jesus says about it.
We’ve got a lot to cover, and I hate to tell you this, but we probably won’t beat the Baptists to Pizza Hut today…
God: John 18:36-38a (p. 767) –
36 Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."
37 "You are a king, then!" said Pilate.
Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
38 "What is truth?" Pilate asked.
As I mentioned last week, we don’t know the tone of voice Pilate used when he asked this question, but it’s a question people have been asking since before Jesus’ time.
And it’s a question people ask today.
Some people ask the question out of sarcasm, not believing there really is such a thing as real, knowable truth, or looking for an excuse to ignore the issue.
Others ask the question because they honestly want to know if there is real, objective truth, because if it’s out there, they truly want to believe it and let it impact them.
Truth is a huge issue. In fact, I think it’s probably the most important issue a person has to deal with, because their response to the truth will determine where they spend eternity.