An Interesting Question
Pilate’s question was an interesting one: Are You the King of the Jews? (John 18:33).
Only two people have used the term King of the Jews — Pilate and one of the magi. It’s a title and a question that spans the human lifetime of Christ from birth to death.
“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.’ When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him” (Matthew 2:1-3).
We find more than merely earnest seekers asking the same question of Herod some 30 years earlier. These magi traveled hundreds of miles, following a star, and following prophecies left behind by Daniel and his people from generations earlier.
“Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice’” (John 18:37-38).
He had already told Pilate His kingdom is “not of this world.” And when Christ described His reason for being born, it didn’t sound very king-like. Rather, He has come to testify to the truth. Then Pilate asks his second interesting question, “What is truth?” (John 18:38).
Pilate wasn’t the least bit interested in having Christ answer this last question. He turned away to address the people. Pilate was a man born out of his time. His indifference to truth is in sync with our culture today. But Pilate and our culture provide us the necessity to answer the question, “What is truth?”
Look at the verses below. They don’t answer what the truth is as much as they answer Who is truth.
- “Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth” (Psalm 31:5 NAS).
- “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 NIV).
- “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
Truth is completely under the dominion of the LORD God. It is inherent to His character and nature.
We can answer Pilate’s question with Jesus’s own words: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
In Romans chapter 1, Paul describes humanity’s struggle with truth:
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse … They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (vss. 20, 25).
How well do you represent the truth? How well do you represent Christ? People are looking. People are asking. Will you answer their question by pointing them to Him.