John 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. 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.”
I find myself surprisingly sympathetic to Pilate as I read this. The fact that the Jews would go to the trouble of hauling Jesus to him just so he could be legally executed showed the depth of their hatred for Him, but Pilate couldn’t figure out the reason for that hatred. Frankly, it is very reminiscent of the political situation in the US today. Trump is certainly no Jesus, but the hatred for him seems at least comparable to what we read here, and for equally irrational, subliminal reasons. Pilate had never met anyone like Jesus, but then, He was and is the only Savior. He is obviously in danger for His life, and yet He isn’t frantic, but rather keeps speaking as the great Teacher He is. Who else, in a situation like this, would say profound things about Truth? It’s no wonder Pilate responded with his famous, rather snarky rhetorical question, “What is truth?” That said, Jesus’ statement here is important. He is restating His mission, the reason He was born into the world as a human baby. It was to go on trial and be crucified as a testimony that God is absolutely holy and pure, and He is also love. That is the truth that the devil wants desperately to keep from human beings, because when we learn that and believe it, we repent and are saved, passing out of the devil’s domain into life. What Jesus says here brings to mind what He said earlier to Nicodemus: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:19-21) We cannot have real truth without the light of Christ, and vice versa.
This of course applies as much to me as it does to anyone else. I’ve got to remember that “listens” here is actually, “listens and obeys,” as the Japanese puts it explicitly. If I am on the side of truth – and I earnestly desire to be – I need to live out the truth I know, and not deceive myself. (James 1:22) Following in my father’s footsteps, I have maintained a policy of absolute honesty for the major part of my life, but this is more than that. I need to seek and receive the Holy Spirit’s help in distinguishing the truth from all the falsehoods that bombard us constantly, and receive only the truth to make it my own. That’s far easier said than done, but nothing is too difficult for God. I certainly can’t do it properly on my own! I see people all around me who are chained, crippled, and even destroyed by falsehoods they have accepted as true, and it is tragic indeed. That’s why I must always speak the truth in love, so that people may perhaps receive it and be set free. (John 8:32)
Father, thank You for this reminder. I’ll have another attentive audience this evening. I pray that each person’s heart may be prepared to receive Your love and truth through Cathy and me. May they not just like us, but rather love You, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!