“Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37b).
Our culture has no end of opinions about truth. The Enlightenment Era said Truth could be found all around us and within us, and that through reflection and meditation we could acquire it. The Industrial Revolution brought the firm belief that science and careful study could establish Truth from empirical data, and that there is no limit to how much Truth the human mind can acquire. Modernism told us to be skeptical of all the past Truth claims, that Truth is a social construct, and that mankind has the ability to shape Truth ourselves. Post-modernism took it a step further in saying that every person can shape Truth individually, that Truth is relative, and that Truth is whatever you decide it to be.
Pontius Pilate’s view of Truth came out of his culture as well. He had learned the lessons of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Julius. He had probably come the same conclusion as many of his day – that if there is such a thing as Truth, it is unknowable, and a smart man simply focuses on the here and now. He reflected this cynical and jaded view of Truth when he responded to Jesus with a flippant, “What is truth?”
The irony was that it was standing right in front of him. Jesus had challenged Pilate with the question that still haunts every jaded and cynical Truth-seeker and Truth-ignorer in the world today – What do you do with Jesus? Where do you stand, his side of the line, or the other? Because Jesus draws a line in the sand here. “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” There are two sides here. There’s Truth – the absolute Truth from the One who is True – and there’s everything else. And if it’s not Truth, what is it?
We have to wrestle with this question too. In big and small ways, every day, we’re confronted with lies. Lies about how the world works, about how we are to behave in society, about our jobs, our marriages, our families, our possessions, our time, our reason for being, and everything in between. The lies come from the TV and newspapers, the internet and social media, books, movies, and radio, even our friends and, yes, even sometimes Christians. How do we confront those lies?
“Everyone on the side of Truth listens to me.”
- Identify some of the lies that have confronted you in the last few days. Think about the things you’ve heard, read, or seen that have made their mark on you. How did you react to when you were confronted with them?
- Consider again the various approaches to Truth laid out in the first paragraph of the devotion. Why do you suppose those things have appealed to people? Do you find yourself attracted to any of them?
- Jesus has drawn a line in the sand – Truth on his side, everything else on the other. What can you do today to make sure you’re standing on and standing up for his side of the line?