What is truth? There is no other moment in history that could possibly trump this display of irony. Pontius Pilate, looks truth dead in the eyes. Truth incarnate stands before him, bruised and beaten from the previous night. He asks, “What is truth?”, like a sculptor staring at his finished work and wondering, “What is clay?” I do not fault the man the question; it is a good question. But the contrast of the scene is striking. Both men have authority, but only one recognizes where it comes from. One man exhibits courage, facing an imminent death. The other, conflicted about the situation, finds no fault in Jesus, but chooses appeasement and succumbs to political pressure instead of doing the right thing. One man is meek, knowing full well that he could invoke twelve legions of angels at a moment’s notice to rescue him from the Jews. But purpose, justice, and the fulfillment of all righteousness is what motivated his restraint. Pilate is motivated by a desire to be rid of the upheaval. He says, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” In other words, “Why are you involving me? I don’t care what you do with him.” And then in exasperation, he looks at Jesus and says, “What is truth?” Jesus could have responded, “You’re looking at him.” A few chapters earlier Jesus says, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” We certainly could explore Jesus as The Way. And there is also much to say about Jesus as The Life. But this morning we will focus on Jesus as the embodiment of truth.
REALITY AND OUR SENSES
Our interaction with reality starts with our senses. It’s how we perceive the world. Our eyes tell us that the fire is bright, our skin that it’s warm, and our ears that it’s crackling. Because this is the case, that our senses inform us about our surrounding environment and help us to understand our position in space, wouldn’t it be important to know whether or not those senses are reliable? There are two views. One view proposes that our senses are a result of diversification, over billions of years, where undirected random mutations produce genetic variation, and then natural selection acts on this variation—favoring traits that increase an organism’s chances of survival. So, we’re supposed to believe that the human eye is a result of unadulterated luck and a whole lot of time. That’s the first view.
The Christian view states that Christ created everything. Colossians 1, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” John 1, “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” Hebrews 1, “But in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” Revelation 4, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will, they existed and were created.” This is quite a different story. Our senses were created and designed by a powerful God that we might give him glory for the privilege of experiencing His world.
Whether you’re an atheist, an agnostic, or a believer, there is one thing we can agree on: the universe is governed by laws. There are fundamental constants at play: the speed of light, gravitation, Planck’s constant, and Avogadro’s number. King Solomon describes it this way in Ecclesiastes 1, “One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it arose. The wind goes toward the south and turns around to the north; the wind whirls about continually and comes again on its circuit. All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place from which the rivers come, there they return again.” We have the advantage of global positioning satellites, guiding our progress as we drive down the road, helping us get to our destination. But our ancestors were able to look in the sky, find the position of Orion’s belt and use it as a rough guide for east and west. Why does electromagnetism have the properties it does? Why does fusion work in such a way that the sun has 5 billion years of hydrogen fuel remaining? The answer is either God is amazing and that’s why we come here, to sing to Him, to worship Him, to thank Him for His grace. Or, the answer is, we have no idea why things are the way they are. We only can describe what we observe, we cannot answer why.
THE RULE MAKER
Looking directly at the lawmaker will incite one of two reactions. For the Christian, we look to the truth and are comforted. We look to him and see our salvation. We see our own sin placed upon Him as he goes to the cross. We see our hope, our justification, our adoption as sons. We see our blessed redeemer on a white horse, our high priest and intercessor, our king over all kings, our older brother the second Adam, and our friend. But, If you are here this morning and have not placed your faith in the messiah. Then you will see something very different. A day of judgment is coming. And if you do not have the covering, the white robe of righteousness afforded to you on account of faith, you will stand there naked and exposed as your judge brandishes a sword to smite you and send you to everlasting torment alongside the devil and his angels. In that moment, having spent your entire life denying the truth. There you will bend the knee, overwhelmed with your error, and finally acknowledge the truth for who He is. Unbeliever, today is the day of salvation. Let today be the day where you acknowledge your sin and cry out to Him. Do it today, because one day, he will listen to your cries no longer.
Pontius Pilate was blind and could not see the truth despite it standing in front of him. And it is this sort of blindness that vexes the Christian heart. Why is it that my family members cannot see the truth? Why do they kick so hard against the love of God. Why do they choose an existence that is devoid of meaning and has no foundation for truth, beauty, goodness, morality, and the uniformity of nature? My friends, do not cease praying for them, and do not give up hope. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. The light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”