August / September 2015 - Vol. 81
Pilate asks Jesus "What is truth?"
  “What Is Truth?” 

Jesus was crucified for his claim to speak the Truth which came from God. The Jewish authorities not only opposed Jesus and the words he spoke, they sought to eliminate him once and for all. But since they did not have the legal power to put him to death, they brought him to the Roman authorities to have him tried and executed. The charge they brought before Pilate, however, was political rather than religious.

Luke in his Gospel account tells us that three false accusations were leveled against Jesus (Luke 23:1-2): First, that Jesus agitated sedition. Second, they said that he encouraged people to not pay taxes to Caesar. And third, he assumed the title king. In so many words they falsely accused him of rebellion and insurrection. John goes further than the other Gospel writers to affirm Jesus' claim to divine kingship and the authority and power to rule over all of God's creation - both the heavens and the earth and all that is visible and invisible.

Bearing witness to the truth
Jesus explained to Pilate that he came to "bear witness to the truth" that his kingdom was from above - from heaven and not from earth.
"My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world." Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice." Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"
                                                     - John 18:36-38
Jesus did not deny that he is King. He knew he would die precisely because he was God's anointed King and Messiah. He explained to Pilate, however, that his kingship was "not of this world". He did not come to establish an earthly kingdom, but a spiritual one that would claim the submission of men's and women's hearts and minds to his word. This kind of kingdom made no sense to Pilate since he knew nothing of God and his ways.  Pilate even questioned what was "truth".  Jesus had promised his disciples that his word would open their minds to understand God's truth and set them free to live in the conviction and power of his love, justice, and goodness.

 “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” ( John 8:31,32).

The Lord Jesus died not only to bear witness to the truth - his victory on the cross won freedom for us from bondage to sin, Satan, fear and death. His rising from the dead on the third day demonstrates the invincible power of the truth that makes us free to live as sons and daughters of our Father in heaven.

Unmasking Satan's lies and deception
What can hold us back from hearing God's word and understanding his truth? Pride and indifference can block our ears from hearing God's word. But Satan also uses his powers of deception and empty promises to turn people away from truth to falsehood. Jesus explained to his disciples that he came to overthrow the "Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world" (John 12:31; Revelation 12:9-10; 1 John 5:19; Luke 10:18) in order to set us free from sin and falsehood.

This issue focuses on the truth which the Lord Jesus came to give us - the truth who is God himself - the author and creator of all that he has made. The battle which the followers of the Lord Jesus wage today is not political but spiritual. It is a battle for the truth and the freedom which God makes to all who believe in his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The truth that makes us free
The kingdom which the Lord Jesus offers us is an everlasting kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). His kingdom cannot fail or be destroyed - it will remain forever. May we his disciples take "the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God" (Ephesians 6:17) and wield it to set captives free from the powers of sin, Satan, and deception so they may find true peace, joy, and the love of Christ that surpasses all else.

Sincerely in Christ,
Don Schwager

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