Summary: Pilate asked, but he didn’t really want to know. Knowing the truth calls for decision. Easter sermon.
“Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’”
Two men had an argument. To settle the matter, they went to a … judge for arbitration. The plaintiff made his case. He was very eloquent and persuasive in his reasoning. When he finished, the judge nodded in approval and said, "That’s right, that’s right."
On hearing this, the defendant jumped up and said, "Wait a second, judge, you haven’t even heard my side of the case yet." So the judge told the defendant to state his case. And he, too, was very persuasive and eloquent. When he finished, the judge said, "That’s right, that’s right."
When the clerk of court heard this, he jumped up and said, "Judge, they both can’t be right." The judge looked at the clerk of court and said, "That’s right, that’s right."
Roger von Oech, Ph.D., A Whack on the Side of the Head, Warner Books, 1983, p. 23.
During the decade of the ‘60s I was just coming to the age of observing world events and directions society was taking; looking outside of myself and making observations about what other people were all about.
I remember one trend that made me take pause to contemplate what I personally believed on the matter, was all the philosophizing about truth. Is there such thing as absolutes? Is truth relative? Can your truth be different than my truth on the same subject and still be valid?
These are not new questions.
Satan first cast doubts on the mind of mankind as to whether he was accountable to hold to any absolute truth, there in the garden with Adam and Eve. God said this, (twisting) but this other thing is really true.
The ancient Greeks debated it, philosophers of every culture and religion in the history of man have debated it. But it really all goes back to the Garden
What brought about the entrance of sin into the world and the very foundation of sin itself, is the question, ‘is God’s word true’?
Because if God’s word can not be believed upon and trusted as absolutely true, and always true; if there can be any valid doubt cast upon His word as to whether it is inerrant and infallible, then there is no absolute truth in the universe. It all hinges on that.
If God has said, “…for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die”, to doubt that word is to say that there is no dependable truth at all. Because if you cannot accept and believe the words of the Creator God, then where in all of creation will you go in search of truth?
This is why apart from Him truth cannot be known. It is why Jesus said to Pilate,
“Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’
Herod wanted a song and dance. Pilate wanted an excuse. But neither one heard His voice.
PILATE AND TRUTH
Now I have to be fair to Pilate. I don’t want to be; but I really should. He was the product of a culture from which came the philosophies and empty deceptions of men that Paul liked to write about.
The primary philosophy of the ancient Romans was Stoicism. The Stoics believed that an individual’s destiny was pretty much set by God, or the gods, and that if you just bucked up and lived the best way you could with the hand that was dealt you, then you were successful in life. If you fought it and tried to avoid your troubles or change your circumstances, you were a failure. For instance, if you were born into poverty, then the noble way to live was to do the best for yourself in that condition of poverty; not to try to raise yourself up by your bootstraps and become something you were not ’intended’ to be. Now this ‘way of things’, or ‘meaning of the universe’ that set the path for your life, was referred to as the ‘logos’.
Logos, in Greek philosophy, is not a personal being, but a sort of ‘controlling principle’, issuing forth from God to direct the circumstances of your life.
This is one of the misconceptions John was addressing in the first chapter of his gospel.
So I suppose, if this universal principle is the same for everyone, but it guides each life down a different path, then that would make it possible to believe that your truth is as good and valid as my truth.
No wonder Pilate was confused! What is truth?