Truth…What Is Truth?

A new mini-series premiered on NBC a couple of weeks ago—A.D., The Bible Continues (Sundays at 9:00pm).  We watched the first episode together as a family. It kept everyone riveted to the screen for a full hour. This article is not a review or an endorsement of the mini-series, although I would recommend watching it. The Bible story is worth seeing, and perhaps watching the show will motivate you to open up The Book to read it for yourself.

The first line in the opening scene of episode 1 is a quote from John 18:38: “Truth…what is truth?” Pilate is talking to Jesus, trying to discern if Jesus has done anything to deserve the rage filled cries of “Crucify!” from the Jewish leadership. Listen to the conversation:


Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king… 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?” (ESV. 2001).  


Pilate’s question seems riddled with cynicism and moral defeat. One senses that Pilate is questioning the possibility of truth in a world so broken that it crucifies innocent men.

Yet it is also an honest question that every human heart needs to ask…and answer. 

“What is Truth?” is a question that has been asked throughout every human age and culture. During the Enlightenment and the Modern Age, Western culture believed that truth could be known absolutely as a set of testable, verifiable propositions. The Post-Modern age of the past 40 years deconstructed this viewpoint, questioning the validity of absolute truth and opening a path that leads to the question of our day. We no longer ask one another “What is Truth?” but rather “What’s YOUR truth?” And whatever truth you believe—well that’s just fine as long as it doesn’t hurt me, oppress me, or challenge my own beliefs.

Someday, our descendants will look back on our current age and chuckle.  In a world filled with a multiplicity of ‘personal truths’ and competing religious claims, our strategy is built on the idea that we need to try to get along and we shouldn’t bother one another with the possibility that our ‘truth’ might be inferior, wrong or even harmful.

Jesus, presented a different and very compelling understanding of what ‘Truth’ is.  In John 14:6 Jesus says “I AM the way, and the Truth, and the Life…” (ESV. 2001). Jesus is inviting us to consider the possibility that Truth is greater than personal preference, cultural tradition, pragmatics, philosophical propositions or even scientifically verifiable data. He is challenging us to frame Truth not as a thing or a thought, but as a Person. In a world of choices, Jesus gives a compelling, new thought about Truth—that He Himself IS Truth.  The answer to Pilate’s question (and ours) is found in relationship with the person of Jesus Christ.  His challenge deserves your consideration today.

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