We are inundated with questions on every conceivable subject, and with each question there are just as many answers. This leads to confusion, and with a great deal of frustration we ask, What is truth?
This is not a new question. It was the question the Roman governor Pontius Pilate asked Jesus early one morning. Likely Pilate was an educated man and had read the philosophers’ answers to the question. So when Jesus said to him, “I came into this world to bear witness to the truth,” he got Pilate’s attention.
The religious leaders of Judaism were anxious to have Jesus gone. They were convinced that Jesus had to die, so they took him to Pilate. The governor asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?” Quickly they replied, “He is a criminal, and we want you to sentence him to death.”
This was a serious request, and Pilate had to know more about Jesus. Alone with Jesus, Pilate asked, “What is it you have done to anger these people?”
Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews.”
Pilate replied, “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.”
Could it not have been possible that Jesus and Pilate discussed this matter of truth further and Pilate concluded that Jesus was not a bad person, though he was a bit fanatical? His thoughts of building a kingdom were beyond reason, and certainly not realistic. But he had to quiet Jesus’ enemies. They thought he was dangerous and wanted him crucified. So, for political reasons, Pilate condemned Christ to die on the cross.
This is a very sad conclusion, but so is our culture’s response to the question of what is truth. Today’s emphasis is on the idea that truth is relative. There is little objective truth in the rights and wrongs of life.
To accept Jesus’ state Ð Everyone on the side of truth listens to me Ð you must know him personally. Here is a part of the truth that Jesus taught. Truths such as these drove the Pharisees wild and made Pilate believe Jesus was a bit disorientated.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
This one statement of Jesus spells out your eternal salvation. This is how you come to know the Lord personally. You do not work your way to heaven; it is a gift.
“I came that you might have life and have it abundantly.”
Unless you know Jesus as your Savior, this teaching does not make sense. It is not money, social prestige, great learning, and popularity that makes life worth living, but the joy of the Lord living in your heart.
“If you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
How practical is this advice? Will people not take advantage of you if you forgive them so freely?
Jesus says, “Everyone who is on the side of truth listens to me.” Our culture’s response to this statement seems to be to take the parts of Jesus’ teachings that people will accept and leave the rest for the theologians to write books and argue about. “Who listens to them anyway?”
The question the Christian must answer is this: How will we be seen in today’s culture if we seriously follow the truths Jesus teaches us?
Some will pity you. “You are a fine person, but out of step with reality.” They will say something like this: “I know what you believe is correct, but people are not ready for this. If you begin to push your point, they will reject you, and that is not the way you want to live. Life is too short. Maybe some day they will agree with you, and then presenting what Jesus taught will be accepted. Be patient!”
Others will be angry with you. “Who are you to say the Christian way is right? My son-in-law has nothing to do with Christianity, and he is a very nice person Ð much better than some who sit in church every Sunday and confess their faith in Christ.” In love let people know that the mission of the church is to reach people for Christ, who is the only way to heaven. You will experience stares of disgust, which are asking how you can be so prejudiced.
I can’t help but believe that Pilate never forgot his audience with Jesus and the Lord’s words: “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Pray to God that these words will guide us in what we believe and how we live.