What is Truth?

John 18:38. “Pilate saith unto Him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in Him no fault at all.”

I find this verse to be most expressive of Pilate’s frustration and state of mind over this whole situation.

First, Jesus had told Pilate that He had come not to overthrow Rome, but simply to speak truth. I imagine Pilate looking at Jesus at that moment, gauging Him, wanting to hear more but also not wanting to spend any more time than he had to facing this Man.

His reply is indicative, I believe, of the hearts of all mankind. “What is truth!”

Everyone has a different perspective from everyone else in many areas. Using a silly example, my truth is that chocolate should be a food group unto itself :). Others may find chocolate to be not to their liking—that’s their truth. We hear a lot of nonsense these days about “Your truth,” “You be you” (one of the most inane sayings, in my opinion. Of course I am me. Can’t be anyone else. Don’t want to be anyone else). Political parties often have diametrically opposing “truths” and, in fact, neither one may have the absolute truth. I have a friend who loves snow, the more the better. I grew up with lots of snow in the winter, and it’s lost its charm for me. Which is the truth? In that case, what is true for her is not true for me.

But those things are not matters of absolutes. They are not moral issues. There are some absolute truths, derived or clearly stated in God’s Word, with which I do not argue or have the arrogance to disagree. Example? Psalm 139 tells me that God knew me in my mother’s womb, down to my innermost parts. I was a person, a soul, a living human being the moment I was conceived. That’s an absolute truth, although many have chosen to reinterpret and argue about when the baby actually becomes human, until it has come to the point that it isn’t really a baby until the mother decides to keep it. I need to point out here that if God says it is so, then it IS so. Man saying it is NOT so does not change God’s truth.

Jesus had come to speak the truth of God. He was the Son of God. He had come to be the perfect sacrifice for the sin of all mankind–He had come to die, and defeat death, in our behalf. He was the fulfillment of all prophecy about the Messiah, the King of the Jews. That was not just His truth–it was, and is, absolute truth.

Pilate, I think, was a man searching for truth, and frustrated with all the myriads of gods and pagan worship that surrounded him. Yet when he faced absolute Truth, he shrugged, and said, “What is truth?” I believe that question bothered him for the rest of his life.

Pilate then turned from Jesus and went back out to face the Jews. To his credit, at that moment he told the absolute truth: “I find no fault in this Man!”

5 thoughts on “What is Truth?

  1. bryan Johnston

    Another excellent piece of writing Linda thank you, and on a topic very close to my heart, i.e. the very important distinction between relative truths and Absolute Truth? Christ answered the question about the difference between the two when He said “YOUR WORD IS TRUTH,” whilst in prayer with His Father.

    We blur the distinction between the two at our peril, yet we live in times when non-thinking folk are IN DENIAL of there even being such a thing as Absolute Truth (as you rightly point out.) Worse still, i believe we are now living in the times St. Paul predicted in Romans 1, when “Good would be called evil” and vice versa. Perhaps, to some extent, this has always been the case, but nowadays such lies are commonplace, as Absolute Truth (a.k.a. the Holy Word of God) is ‘airbrushed’ out of existence in most people’s minds (or at least they TRY to do that.)

    Finally of course, Christ Himself is “The Way, THE TRUTH and The Life,” so then we must simply follow His Teachings, as Holy Spirit leads us into “ALL TRUTH” (as Jesus promised He would!)

    Shalom/God bless+++

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bryan Johnston

    Wow – i didn’t realise it was in the O.T. – thanks Linda. And yes indeed “Nothing new etc,” as it says in Ecclesiastes – that i DO know!

    God bless and keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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