Answering Pontius Pilate
As the moon shone brilliantly through the trees of Gethsemane, the garden encompassed itself around the Savior who was to suffer in a few hours time. The olive trees bristled softly in the night, and the voice of Christ fervently floated up to the heavens as an aroma. His head sweated drops like blood; it is written that “He offered up both prayers and supplication with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death” (Luke 22:44; Hebrews 5:7). Nevertheless, He remained fully committed and submitted to the will of the cross (Luke 22:42). But before journeying up to Calvary’s hill to undergo agony for the world’s sins, the Messiah had this to say to His Father about His people,
“Sanctify them with Your truth, Your word is truth” (John 17:17).
Hours later, Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate. History records reveal Pilate to actually have been a ruthless governor with little regard for Jewish people and sometimes, even violent (1). Picture God Himself standing before the Roman as a Jew. The Lord looked at the man He created and said, “I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth” (John 18:37). Possibly sarcastic, Pilate responded to the Holy One, “what is truth?” (v. 38). Sarcastically spoken but full of heavy significance, Pilate had no idea or understood the full weight when he asked such a question. He failed to realize he was standing before Truth Himself. The Truth made flesh. Truth to be crucified by lies. Truth to suffer an agonizing death on the cross in order to destroy the grips of sin’s lies and provide restoration and freedom for humanity.
What, indeed, Pontius, is truth?
Truth is objective. We must beware of secular views on the subjectivity of truth. Statements like “find your truth” and “truth is relative” are harmful and can lead to confusion. Christ stood before imperfect humanity and declared, “I am the truth” (John 14:6). He dismantles any ideas of truth being found elsewhere. It begins and ends with Him. He gives the biblical standard of it pertaining to God and His purpose through Jesus, humanity’s duties, and moral and ethical living. Such a standard is universally applied to everyone and is therefore objective and constant.
Truth is exclusive. It is exclusively found in Christ alone. It is written, “All things were made through Him and for Him, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16, 17). Because of this, Christ stated, “no one can come to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). All truth, knowledge, and wisdom are stored in the Lord (Colossians 2:3). As a result, objective truth is not found in world religions, church denominations, secular philosophies and ideologies, and worldly wisdom. We must look to Jesus. While truth is exclusively found in Him, He calls for all to partake in this divine nature, making it inclusive for humanity. We cannot take it and twist it to fit our personal desires or feelings. By inclusively coming, we submit to its objectivity and be transformed by it.
Truth sets us free. “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” proclaimed Christ (John 8:32). Free from what? Free from sin’s bondage and misery (v.34). What a promise! True freedom is found when we know the truth. Sin has a way of enslaving us in its grips and causes us to lose sight of life in Christ. It burdens us, and it leads us to death (Romans 6:23). This is why our Lord prayed earnestly for the Father to cleanse us with His word—the true truth (John 17:17). In order to let go of unholy habits and experience freedom, we must continually study the word of God to know His will for us.
Truth brings salvation. The gospel is the universal, objective truth exclusively presented by Christ for the world’s salvation (Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 1:5). The overall truth of the matters pertaining to the universe, as we ponder about our place in the world—from where do we come and to where we are going, Christ answered this question. Him being the Message itself. He being Truth made flesh. His life answers our questions and His death on the cross serves as the punctuation mark for humanity.
Pilate, what is truth? Truth is Christ and Him crucified for humanity for our restoration and reconciliation to God the Sovereign Creator. Truth is that we were created to have an intimate relationship with the one true God. Truth is that our lives are filled with purpose and value for God created us to be so. Truth is that we have rebelled against Him and severed our fellowship with Him. Truth is that God alone saves, restores, and heals the pain our sins wrought in this world, and He does so through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19). Our very life breath belongs to God, “for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). We cannot exist without God, the Giver and Sustainer of life. We must therefore live for Him. This is truth.
(1) Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Pontius Pilate". Encyclopedia Britannica, 15 Jun. 2021, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Pontius-Pilate. Accessed 8 February 2022.