What is Truth: A Review of Christ’s Dialogue with Pontius Pilate

Jesus & PilateIn a world where facts are often considered to be subjective (a clear sign of the world’s insanity) it is quite interesting that Christ’s discussion about truth is with a Roman political figure.  Let’s examine the brief exchange between Christ and Pontius Pilate taken from John 18:33-38:

33 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”

34 Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?”

35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?”

36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”

Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.

Starting at verse 33 of the passage above we see that Jesus actually controls the direction of the conversation between he and Pilate by asking Pilate an open-ended question concerning what caused Pilate to inquire on whether he is a king.  More explicitly a king of the Jews.  This was clearly intentional as Christ was aware that Pilate was provoked by the Jewish leaders of the day to make the inquiry in the first place.

Now, I don’t profess to know Pilate’s heart, but if he was anything like politicians today, the concept of truth based on facts may have been one that was foreign and relative.  Being a man of power, Pilate may have seen truth as something that could be bent and changed when desired.

Jesus’ statement about his mission being to proclaim and present truth would have been certainly relevant to Pilate directly, but also, to those that would find themselves reading the passage of scripture in the future.

The truth that Christ was referring to was the truth of God’s true intentions for mankind to be pleasing to him and the great love that he has for everyone (John 3:16).  In addition, this truth can only be found in God’s word as John 17:17 says: 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Finally, the scriptures also teach that Christ himself is the living word of God; John 1:1 and John 1:14:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.