What will you do with the Truth?
Fact or Fiction? Fantasy or Reality? True or False? It is sometimes hard these days to filter out what is true and what is not… We are bombarded with so many passionate, polarizing positions and so much endless information that sometimes it is difficult to know what to believe about anything!
There is a man in the Bible named Pontius Pilate who played a critical role in Jesus’ crucifixion. In a conversation with Jesus he asked an important question… maybe one you’re asking these days… “What is truth?” (Luke 22:38)
In his tragic appearance in scripture, Pilate was forced to answer two important questions: What is truth and what am I to do with Jesus? We must answer each of those questions for ourselves as well.
Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea (26-37 AD) during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius (14-37 AD). He managed construction projects and collected taxes. But his most important responsibility may have been maintaining law and order in his province. He was granted the role of supreme judge, which meant only he could order a criminal’s execution.
The Jewish ruling court, the Sanhedrin, wanted Jesus executed, which is why they took Jesus to Pilate and accused him of “subverting our nation.” They claimed He opposed payment of taxes, which was not true (see Luke 20:25); and that He claimed to be Messiah, a king. (Luke 23:1-2)
When Pilate asked Jesus if He was king of the Jews: Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. John 18:37b-38a
Pilate asks this question rhetorically and cynically; he’s just trying to figure out how to get out of the quandary he is in. But, Jesus tells Pilate he came to testify to the truth! Do you want to know the truth? We are all searching for truth aren’t we? Jesus came to offer us the life-changing truth! Jesus came to pave the path to God’s kingdom for all who believe. Remember what Jesus said to Nicodemus… 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16. Belief in Jesus as Savior is the only way to God!
In another conversation that Jesus had with his disciples, He shared this: 6 …“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
I use my maps app on my phone all the time, even around town. I don’t want to risk getting stuck in traffic. I like that the maps app offers me alternate routes. Some people wrongly believe there are alternate routes to God’s heaven. They think if they don’t like one path, then can simply chose another. That is simply not the truth. Remember what Jesus said, “I came into the world to testify to the truth.” If you, like Pilate, ask what is the truth, Jesus makes that very clear. He doesn’t say, “I am a way or a truth or a life.” If you want to know the most important truth in life, this is it! Nothing matters more.
Pilate is trying to understand the truth… He is in a difficult place. He wants to maintain law and order, the town is packed with people for Passover and if he doesn’t bend to the religious leader’s and the crowd’s wishes, he could be dealing with rioting and severe unrest in his province; but he is not convinced Jesus is guilty of anything. His wife is convinced Jesus is not guilty too. (Matthew 27:19)
Pilate is left asking himself a very hard question, What am I to do with Jesus? Do I listen to the crowd or do I listen to my heart? That is a question that all of us must ask ourselves in life…. What am I do wth Jesus? Is He liar, lunatic or Lord? You must decide! All of us has to make that choice for ourselves. What will you do with Jesus?
When Pilate finds out Jesus is from Galilee, he thinks he sees a way out of making this decision. Galilee is Herod’s province, so he sends Jesus to Herod to try to defer the decision to him. (Herod was in town for Passover). But Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate! Try as he might, Pilate can’t defer answering the question for himself. And we can’t either… we must all answer this question for ourselves. We can’t defer this one to anyone else. It is solely a decision we must all make for ourselves. So what will you do with Jesus? Do you believe the truth?
Pilate finally relents to the demands of the crowd and agrees to crucify Jesus. But we are told: 24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” Matthew 27:24
It is clear that Pilate wanted nothing to do with Jesus’ crucifixion. He wanted to wash his hands of Jesus’ blood. But the truth is, Jesus’ blood was on his hands. And it is on my hands… and it is on your hands. Jesus was sentenced to die on the cross because that is exactly what had to happen. It is exactly what God wanted to happen. His blood is on our hands because His blood was shed for our sins.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. Romans 3:23-25a
What is truth? This is the truth. Now the question is what will you do with this truth?
For much more, click here to listen to Easter Eyewitness - Part 3 - Pilate.