What is Truth? (A Holy Week Contemplation)

When the Sanhedrin condemned Jesus to death, they had no authority to carry out the execution. Because Rome ruled the land, they were forced to bring Jesus to Pontius Pilate.

Pilate was a lot of things, power-hungry, money-hungry, and ruthless. But he wasn’t stupid. It took him no time at all to realize that Jesus had done nothing wrong. He probably enjoyed seeing the members of the Sanhedrin squirm and argue with him as they attempted to look powerful while Pilate knew their only real power in Judea was held simply because he let them have it.

Pontius Pilate had a lot on his plate that week with the massive crowds building in Jerusalem. When he realized he could, perhaps, skirt the issue of Jesus altogether, he attempted to do so by sending Jesus to Herod. But after learning Jesus wouldn’t entertain Herod, Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate. Sometimes the truth isn’t all that fun.

“Pilate touched upon truth for a moment. This strange Prophet was a King in a kingdom that was not of this world. He had come to witness about the truth – the truth about the purpose of life, the truth about God and us. Pilate had the opportunity to learn about this truth, but he didn’t want to know it. He shrugged his shoulders and asked, ‘What is truth?’. It wasn’t a sincere question. He didn’t really want to know. His statement was simply a way of dodging the issues. And Jesus was quiet. There’s no sense in talking to a person who doesn’t want to listen”.[1]

Jesus said, “I am the Truth, the Way, and the Life” (John 14:6). We should hear this not as law, but as gospel. This isn’t a verse to slam over someone’s head so they have a forced “come to Jesus moment”. It’s a gift! There actually IS a way to live a life worth living, a beautiful life that lives into eternity. Jesus is the way because He alone is Truth. And through His death, resurrection, and ascension, He has made the way available to us. This is pure gift indeed! Thanks be to God!

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. “The sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:3b-4)

Jesus also said, “Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37).

This Holy Week, I pray that you will hear the voice of our Shepherd, the voice of Truth Himself. He is calling you by name. He is inviting you to take a journey with Him to the foot of the cross so that you will see the truth of your sin and also the truth of His love and forgiveness. On this journey, Truth Himself will pour out His body and blood for you – in a moment that, while shared with all who are of the Truth, is an intimate moment He is preparing just for you. On this journey, you will stand at the foot of the cross as Jesus breathes his final breath, as you hear the closing of the tomb, and as He whispers into your ear, “It is finished”.

And on this journey, Truth will call you to return to the tomb on Sunday morning, only to find it empty! As He spoke to Mary in the garden and called her by name, He will call your name as well and tell you that He has conquered sin, death, and the devil, and that He has done this all for you!

Jesus is Truth. But we cannot fully experience the fullness of Truth if we only show up on Easter Sunday, dressed in our finest. We must first let Truth lead us on a journey with Him. For there is no power in resurrection without the wine, the bread, the cross and the tomb.

My prayer for you, and your pastor’s prayer for you this Holy Week is that you will know Truth, experience Truth, listen to the voice of Truth, walk in Truth, and know the depth of God’s love for you – love that is found only in Truth. Truth is calling you by name, for you are loved by Him. Come, follow His voice as we journey to the cross and beyond!

[1]Giertz, Bo. 2008. To Live with Christ: Daily Devotions by Bo Giertz. Translated by Bror Erickson with Richard Wood. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.

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