Truth - John 18

What is truth?

I had a long post written when I dove into the different philosophical teachings of truth but didn’t post it. I sat on it for a little bit and decided that I rambled too much and didn’t want anyone to miss the point. So, here’s take two. 

Truth is a fascinating construct. In a discussion about Jesus’ kingdom being of a different substance than this world, Jesus says, “I came…to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Pilate’s response of, “What is truth?” can be taken so many ways. From where he stands: on one side he has a mob outside demanding action, on another he has Rome demanding order, and in front of him is a demanding presence. When you’re Pilate in this situation, you might feel powerless while being pulled between the differing truth claims.

Rome has spread its truth through brutal force and power. They ride in under the banner of Pax Romana(Roman Peace) but if you do not accept their peace they will conquer you with the sword. Truth is in the hands of those with power. Jesus stands before Pilate with the confidence of a greater power and claims that he is on the side of truth. In response to the Jesus’ claims about his kingdom, Pilate appears to shrug and simply ask, “What is truth?” 

How does Jesus’ kingdom spread truth differently than the empires? Rome reshaped the world, carving it up with a sword. Jesus had more power than the Roman Empire but didn’t use it to establish his truth. Why? When truth is spread through power and force, how long does it last? 

How has Jesus’ kingdom reshaped the world? Has it made it better? 

For the last month and a half, we’ve looked at Jesus according to Jesus in hopes of better understanding who we are as those whom Jesus loves. As we wrap up this series, I want to wrestle with what it means to be in God’s Kingdom. Where and when you believe the Kingdom is determines how you live today. Are you trying to live a good enough life to get in the Kingdom later? Or, are you already in the Kingdom because of Christ? If you are waiting for the Kingdom, does that matter to the world around you? If you are already in the Kingdom, how are you to spread truth? Does what you do in this life matter for establishing God’s Kingdom? 

I want to leave us with this imagery of how we should look at what we do in God’s Kingdom. If you are a stonemason working with a great architect, you will inevitably work on cutting stones that may be hard to see how they fit into the great scheme of the building. One stone may not seem that important in a structure so large. But, when you step back from it at the end, you see how everything has come together to create such a magnificent building. The lead architect has the entire building in mind when they pass down the instructions for each individual stone that needs to be cut. You follow the instructions given, trusting that the pieces will all fit in the end. What you do in the Kingdom today to follow Jesus in the truth, you are cutting the stones as he has given instruction to make the world as he desires it. The closer you draw to Jesus the clearer the truth is, and you’ll see the world differently. When you see the brokenness of the world, you’ll know what truth will look like in those places and begin to work to bring truth to reality and carve another piece for the Kingdom.

What is truth?