What is Truth?

Then Moses asked God, “If I go to the Israelites and say to them: The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, ‘What is His name? ’ what should I tell them? ” God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.”

—Exodus 3:13‭-‬14 HCSB

Here we see, for the first time in scripture, God giving us His Name.

Flash forward a few thousand years on the timeline of what the great German theologian, Erich Sauer, has titled in one of his books, The Dawn of World Redemption…

Jesus of Nazareth is standing before Pontius Pilate, on trial for the crime of blasphemy. He says to Pilate,

"Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."

"What is truth?" Pilate asked sarcastically as he turned and walked away in frustration. He was frustrated because, being of basically sound mind in the area of right and wrong, crime and justice, he could not discern just what it was that Jesus had done wrong, or why it was that the Jewish leaders were so intent on sentencing Him to death.

Like so many, countless other political leaders, Pilate had succumbed to the forces of human nature which, in his quest for acceptance, public approval, and professional advancement, had eventually blinded him to the very concept of absolute truth. He had attained an appreciable degree of success. He had acquired wisdom and the ability to deal with adversity. He had proven to himself and others his ability to either carry the ball or stay ahead of it. He was adept at anticipating the words and moves of his political opponents. He was a successful professional man. He was large, and in charge.

Yet somehow this very brief exchange with Jesus had suddenly, catastrophically brought him to the precipice. His subconscious mind began reeling from the thought-conclusion that his conscious mind forbade him to consider: that he was not in control, that he was a pawn, being manipulated, railroaded into making choices against his own conscience in order to uphold a standard of righteousness which he had always upheld, but which now was being questioned as to its validity.

"Could it be that all that I have worked to support and enforce is nothing more than a ruse? Shall I allow my own foundations to be torn asunder by these few words of a pauper? He speaks so blithely of truth, as though he has a handle on it!

"If anyone in this house knows about truth, it is myself, and the greatest philosophers, whom I have studied, would all agree with me that truth is intangible. Yet this man speaks as though he is it's author! I should have him beaten for his insolence alone, except that he came here not of his own accord. What of the undeniable truth that he is being wrongfully accused?!"

Pilate was trapped. He never saw it coming. He had suddenly, out of nowhere, found himself scanning the board and realizing he was one move away from checkmate. His conscience was screaming at him from the private corner of his mind, which, fortunately, no one else could observe. Yet he was now facing the choice between serving his career and all that he had worked for (and compromising his conscience), or serving his conscience and compromising his career. Unfortunately for Pilate, he chose career over conscience.

I wonder how it went for Pilate... Having "washed his own hands" of Christ's blood, did he sleep well after that day? Or did his conscience continue to nag at him? His decision, and the trend it indicates, would predict that he had hardened his conscience and his heart. He was a professional, and he likely stayed his course, which would have necessitated that he find a way to "buck up," and continue to insist that there is no way to know The Truth.

Isn't it ironic that this man, like so many educated, professional people today, went on with his human endeavors, continuing without any tighter grasp on truth than before, even having actually met and conversed with Truth Incarnate—yet without permanent effect on his own life…? The irony is both thick and tragic.

Jesus had once said,

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6, emphasis mine)

I don't think the first two words there are unintentional or merely coincidental. I think that if Jesus were merely a prophet or a "good teacher," He would have said something like, "I have the way…" or, "I can show you the way…" Surely no prophet has ever said these words that Jesus has said!

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

—John 1:1

Let us be encouraged! Jesus is God. Jesus is the Word. Jesus is the Truth. The Word is Truth.

The world asks, "What is truth?"

We have the answer. We have it in our hands. Truth is not intangible. It is concrete. It is in print. It is in front of our eyes. Only our own unwillingness stands between it and ourselves. Let us take Pontius Pilate as our counter-example. When you meet Christ, don't turn away from Him sarcastically. Listen, rather, to what He says.

… “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice."

—John 18:37

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