By Phil Wood
Scripture: John 18:37-38, John 14:6, Isaiah 45:19, John 8:31-32
My friend who asks hard questions wants to know, "What is truth?" I've spent a lot of time thinking and praying about this lately.
When Pontius Pilate asked that question, he was dealing with much the same situation we're dealing with today: people ignoring the truth; people spinning the truth, people creating and disseminating their own "truth" to protect themselves and their own little kingdoms.
It's no wonder my friend is confused. In this current age of fake news, as it was then, we sometimes get to see only the part of the truth that somebody else wants us to see. Or we hear a "truth" that is totally made up, but repeated so often that everybody believes it's the truth.
In this scenario, as with the pharisees, it would seem that certain powerful people are above the law. In today's language, the truth of their actions is "redacted" and there is no prosecution.
Others, who have committed no crime, are "tried" in the court of public opinion with no consequences for libel or the misrepresentation of truth. Crucify! Crucify!
What is truth?
I picture Pilate asking that question with a bit of a sneer on his face. He found no basis for a charge against Jesus. That was the truth! But it didn't matter. The lies had already been spread.
The truth was right there for all to see. But it didn't fit the narrative, it didn't further the cause. It didn't help prove that somebody was right and somebody else was wrong.
The way I see it, there are two kinds of truth: God's truth; and the world's truth. What actually is, and what people say it is. And God has given us a way to distinguish between the two.
Those of us who love Jesus and keep his commands have been given an advocate to help us and to be with us – the Spirit of Truth. "The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and is with you."
The truth is not a thing. It's a person. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." Jesus is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Jesus tells it like it is. Not how the world says it is.
When we see or hear something that doesn't match up, deep inside where the Spirit of Truth resides, we know it. We can tell if it's the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If it's a partial truth or an out-and-out lie, we can smell it. And we can avoid being deceived.
Of course, this can't happen if we're not listening to the Spirit. If we only hear what we want to hear, it's a whole different story.
Father, you are The Great I Am. You are what is. You are light. You are love. You are truth in its very purest form. Help us to see you for who you are, and to see the world for what it is. And may the truth set us free. In the name of your son, the perfect and true representation of you, Jesus the Christ, amen.