Jesus and Pilate were like two people “talking past each other.” Pilate was, literally, down-to-earth—“So you are a king?” he asked. “What have you done?” But this earth didn’t bind Jesus’ thinking. “I am a king,” he said, “but my kingdom is not of this world.” For Pilate, that was a baffling answer. He may have thought, “What other world than this is there?”
- Like many today, Pilate asked, “What is truth?” He implied that no one knows. Yet Jesus said, “The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.” Jesus knew clearly the limits of human insight. What do you believe was the core truth Jesus came to witness to? Can you believe it without pride or exclusivism?
- “I find no basis for a charge against him.” Pilate had treated the people of Jerusalem too harshly. Politically, he couldn’t offend them again. Jesus was not guilty, he knew, but he was expendable. When have you seen an innocent person harassed or abused? What, if anything, did you do? How do you want to act in such a case in the future?
Just a brief thought today. I have always found it interesting that when Pilate asks his question in verse 38, there is no definite article. So the question is… “what is truth.” not what is “the” truth.
You can look Pilate’s question in one of two ways; either he was asking a very, very big question, or he was simply dismissing Jesus and the whole mess.
My guess is the later, he simply didn’t want to take the time to get to know “the” truth, that was standing right in front of him in the person of Jesus. Just a few short chapters before this part of the story, Jesus is with his disciples preparing them for the time when he would be leaving them and he says… “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” In using the definite article in this way Jesus restricts, defines and focus what Pilate prefers to leave vague.
Jesus is the “the” is the “the” for us! I know it might sound confusing or even silly, but Jesus is for us, given and shed for us so that we might have life, “the abundant” life that God intends for each of his children. Pilate it seems couldn’t handle “the” truth, so he side steps it by refusing to localize it in relationship thus giving him a way out. As Christians “the” truth is given to us in Christ, so that we may not always have the easy way out, (in fact we rarely do) but we might have the fullness of life, grace and mercy given to us out of love by God. This is a truth to live into each day.