Luke 23, John 18-19: What is Truth?

If any question has become the refrain of today’s culture, it is this question:

What is truth?

This question is so common in our culture because so few people believe in the truth. Truth has been marginalized, pushed aside, abandoned, and ignored. Truth has become something unknowable, not “unknowable” the way that God is unknowable, meaning that we cannot fully know Him, but unknowable meaning, “you can never really know the truth.”

This is the question that Jesus is asked by Pilate during His interrogation, and here it is in context:

So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

The importance of truth cannot be underestimated in this passage. Jesus says, “for this reason I was born, to bear witness to the truth.”

For this reason I was born.

This means that the reason Jesus was born was to bear witness to the truth. He also goes on to say that people can be “of the truth”, a quality evidenced by listening to the voice of Jesus. So I think Pilate is asking the right question, because if you don’t know what truth is, you won’t know the reason for which Jesus was born.

So, what is truth?

Jesus’ words seem to indicate that truth is not something subjective that one develops, it is objective and it interprets other’s lives, not the other way around. Jesus was born to reveal this objective reality. And this truth is not just facts, it is the reality of truth itself, and this is rooted deep in the heart of God.

Truth, in Jesus’ eyes, and in the minds of the New Testament writers, is the revelation of God Himself. More specifically, truth is God revealing Himself.

We are meant to live within the revelation of God. It’s no accident that Jesus and the Spirit are both called “The truth”. Both Jesus and the Spirit are exact images of God, for they are God, Jesus is God in the flesh and the Spirit is God in our hearts. Through Christ, by the Spirit, we live in the truth, and if we live in the truth, our lives will be filled with obedience to Christ.

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