38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”John 18:38a ESV
The question asked by Pontius Pilate at Jesus’s trial is one of the most important questions ever asked of God. The question reminds us the Truth is not merely some abstract or undefinable reality with no consequences. Truth is something that can be known. It is something that must be known. And within the context of the Christian faith, it is someONE we must build a relationship with!
Each and every day millions if not hundreds of millions of people wake up to repeat what they have done over and over again. This continuous and seemingly endless cycle can become monotonous. But for too many this process is a mindless repetition empty of any purpose. It is this feeling of senselessness that causes many to question whether there is anything beyond the present experience of life.
We cannot go into an in-depth defense of the Truth here. Much wiser individuals than myself have offered better answers to the question. However, what can be said in this limited space is that without the truth nothing else can maintain its integrity. The denial of truth is a self-defeating proposition.
The Truth serves as a binding agent to the experience we call life. Without the Truth, we can trust nothing we claim to know. Without the Truth, we can have no confidence that what we have learned can be of any benefit to us or anyone else. And without the Truth, we resign ourselves to a life of doubt and confusion.
It does not matter how far we try to run and hide from the Truth, the greater our descent into fear and chaos. We may think we can avoid this. We may even convince ourselves that we can escape the effects of living without the Truth to sustain us. But, eventually, that lie will catch up to us. We may never admit it to anyone else. What we will not be able to do is deny it to ourselves.
Those who claim that the Truth is relative undermine the very proposition they make with the declaration. There is no person who has ever lived who has ever been able to operate their lives according to the principle when they know something is a lie.
We can have philosophical arguments as to the nature of truth. We can have theological arguments about the reliability of truth claims. We can even have ethical arguments as to whether or not the truth can be employed indiscriminately. But what we cannot do, and at least maintain any semblance of sanity, is to deny that we all operate from the perspective that at least what we believe and what we claim is true.
It is this approach to life that reminds us that without the Truth we all are subject to the whims of others. We do not have to have delusions of grandeur or be seekers of power to understand the need for truth in our lives. But to reject truth as a form of escape from the difficult realities of life or the pains we have endured because of others is no reason to reject that the Truth exists.
As we continue our time of reflection and prepare for Easter morning we too must ask the question that Pontius Pilate asked: What is truth?
But rather than leaving the question hanging and not waiting for an answer, we should look to Jesus and see what he says on the matter. As we consider the importance of the question, and if we were to give it its proper weight, we would realize that without truth we all are truly lost. Not because we did not have lives we could enjoy but because we could have no confidence in anything that we attempted to do with our lives.