What is Truth?
by Randy Robison
Pilate had a problem. The Jewish leaders kept bringing Jesus Christ before him and demanding his crucifixion. He could not find any justification for it, but he needed to keep the peace between the Jewish people and the Roman government. Pilate’s brief interrogation of Jesus brought little clarity to the problem because Pilate was viewing things from a human perspective while Jesus was operating on a spiritual level.
Pilate asked Him about the accusation that He claimed to be a king.
“You are right in saying I am a king,” Jesus replied. “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.”
Frustrated, Pilate responded with a common philosophical question of the day, “What is truth?”
Some things never change. For over 2000 years, mankind has asked, “What is the truth?” And, like Pilate, so many people have missed it (even though it was right in front of them) because they were asking the wrong question. The question is not what is truth, but rather who is truth.
Jesus made it very simple for us. He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” But instead of asking, “Who is truth?” we continue to echo Pilate’s words, “What is truth?” As long as we ask that question, we will continue to leave as empty-handed as Pilate.
A non-Christian friend of mine once remarked, “All you Bible-thumpers act like you are the only ones that know the truth.” I responded, “We do. It’s Jesus.” Like Pilate, this made no sense to him because he viewed the truth as a what, not a who. The simple, yet profound, shift in our thought process changes everything.
I should differentiate between “what is true” and “truth.” While it’s true that grass is green and hot air rises, we wouldn’t say that grass and hot air are “Jesus.” That’s clearly not the meaning of Jesus’ claim. Our English word for truth comes from the Old English trēowth which means “fidelity.” It is akin to the Old English trēowe, meaning “faithful.” One modern definition is “conformity to reality or actuality.”
Jesus is the source of all truth. He is dependably correct in all matters. He is the reality to which we must conform. Since Jesus is the truth, he is the most reliable source for the truth. He routinely began his teachings in the New Testament with the phrase, “I tell you the truth…”
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