Summary: Pilate asks, what is truth? This sermon seeks to answer the question.
3-20-05 PALM SUNDAY
33Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
34"Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?"
35"Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?"
"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. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him.
THERE IS A LEGEND THAT GOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS. THERE IS A POOL IN THE ALPS, BETWEEN ITALY AND SWITZERLAND. EARLY MORNING MISTS HIDE IT. IT IS RINGED BY MOUNTAIN PEAKS, THE ONLY ACCESS IS BY A NARROW FOOTPATH THAT FORGES A SLENDER PASSAGE INTO THE HIGH VALLEY. LEGEND HAS IT, THAT THERE IS A MAN, GREY HAIR, DRAPED IN A TOGA OF IMPERIAL ROME. HE KNEELS BESIDE THE ICY BLUE WATER. HE WILL NOT LOOK UP, HE NEVER LOOKS UP. HE BENDS LOW OVER THE POOL, DIPPING HIS HANDS INTO THE LIQUID ICE BUBBLING UP FROM THE SPRINGS, HE RUBS ONE HAND OVER THE OTHER.
"I AM INNOCENT" HE MUMBLES OVER AND OVER AGAIN. DIPPING, CLEANSING, WRINGING, AS HE HAS FOR CENTURIES. "I AM INNOCENT OF THE BLOOD OF THIS JUST PERSON."
THE BASIS FOR THIS LEGEND IS FOUNDED IN FACT. EARLY ON FRIDAY MORNING, JESUS IS BROUGHT BEFORE PILATE. A SERIES OF QUESTIONS FOLLOW.
THE LAST STATEMENT OF PILATE IN THIS ENCOUNTER IS RECORDED IN OUR TEXT. "YOU ARE A KING THEN?" 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."
LISTEN CAREFULLY TO PILATE’S RESPONSE, "WHAT IS TRUTH?" HE TURNS TO THE CROWD, HE TELLS THEM THAT JESUS IS INNOCENT. ACCORDING TO MATT. 27;19, HIS WIFE SENT HIM A MESSAGE, DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THAT INNOCENT MAN. FINALLY IN MATT. 27;24 PILATE, WASHES HIS HANDS IN FRONT OF THE CROWD. AS HE DOES SO, HE SAYS, " I AM INNOCENT OF THIS MAN’S BLOOD.’ WITHIN A FEW SHORT HOURS, JESUS WAS NAILED TO THE CROSS. AN INNOCENT MAN.
WHAT IS TRUTH? JESUS SAID IN JOHN 8, "YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE." IN JOHN 14;6, HE SAID, " I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE, NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THRU ME."
WHAT IS TRUTH? THE DICTIONARY GIVES TWO DEFINITIONS OF TRUTH.
1) GENUINENESS OR VERACITY, AND
2) THAT WHICH CONFORMS TO REALITY OR FACT- THAT WHICH IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH WHAT IS, WHAT HAS BEEN, OR MUST BE.
TRUTH IS VERACITY. IT IS TRUE WHEN WE CAN VOUCH FOR IT OR PROVE IT; WHEN IT IS EVIDENT THRU PHYSICAL EXAMINATION. AND SOME PHENOMENA MAY BE TRUE EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE BEYOND KNOWN PHYSICAL LAWS. IT IS TRUE, THAT JESUS WAS RESURRECTED BODILY FROM THE GRAVE. SOME ARGUE THIS, BUT THERE IS FAR TOO MUCH EVIDENCE PROVING HIS RESURRECTION.
JESUS CLAIMS TO BE TRUTH. "I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH". HIS CLAIM ANSWERS THE SECOND PART OF THE DEFINITION, THAT WHICH CONFORMS TO REALITY OR FACT. JESUS DOES NOT SAY, I WILL LEAD YOU TO TRUTH, NOR DOES HE SAY, I AM ONE OF MANY TRUTHS. HE IS THE ULTIMATE REALITY, THE ROOT OF WHAT IS, AND WHAT WAS, AND WHAT IS TO COME. HE IS THE POINT OR ORIGIN AND FRAMEWORK FOR ALL THAT WE CAN SEE AND KNOW AND UNDERSTAND.
IT IS THE ASSERTION THAT IN THE BEGINNING WAS GOD. GOD IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE UNIVERSE, FOR OUR EXISTENCE, HE CREATED ORDER AND STRUCTURE IN WHICH LIFE EXISTS. EVERYTHING WE KNOW, ALL MEANING, FLOWS FROM HIM.
ULTIMATE REALITY IS A CONSISTENT THEME OF SCRIPTURE. IN WHO GOD IS. IN EX. 3; GOD APPEARS TO MOSES IN THE BURNING BUSH, GOD SPEAKS, "I AM WHO I AM." GOD IS THE ULTIMATE SOURCE OF AUTHORITY AND MEANING, THE VERY ESSENCE OF WHAT IS. THE "I AM".
IN JOHN 8, JESUS TELLS THE JEWS, "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!" HE IS MAKING THE SAME CLAIM ABOUT HIMSELF THAT GOD MADE.