“And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
For the most part, I enjoy the occasional Word Search game. Why? Because the author has already given all the answers! Theoretically, it’s just a matter of time until they are all found. However, if I stare at the page long enough, eventually it becomes one big blur, and progress comes to a halt. I can easily begin to wonder if all the words in the box are actually in the puzzle.
At one time or another, we have all had the experience of looking right at the answer to our problem, but still being completely ignorant of its presence, and sometimes even willfully so. Whether it’s looking for the car keys, our wallet, or the remote, it can be so easy to miss what is often staring us right in the face. As Sherlock Holmes said to his friend, Dr. John Watson, “You see, but you do not observe.”
There are many examples in the Bible of this as well, and perhaps none so famous as Pontius Pilate, whose exchange with Jesus moments before His crucifixion climaxed with a three word question that every human heart seeks an answer to.
“What is truth?”
Commentators have long speculated on all that Pilate meant by that question in John 18:38. At the very least, Pilate was a skeptic who did not know what he believed. We will never know for sure if this encounter with the Christ led to his salvation, but we should not miss the fact that Pilate, like so many others did during Jesus’ time on Earth, looked the Truth in the face!
He did not simply discover a philosophy, an approach to life, or the most effective self-help method for his best life now. He did not look within himself, go on a journey to find his true self, or, as all of our favorite Disney movies would have us do, he did not “follow his heart.”
No, Pilate looked at Truth, the Truth.
As we learned in Part 1 of this series, the knowledge of the truth is not merely an intellectual or academic endeavor; it is having a relationship with a personal God and continuing to live as if what He says is true, good, and wise. In John 14:6, Jesus tells us that, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” That compels us to realize that truth not only exists and can be known, contrary to what many cultural and intellectual elites would have us believe, but also that Jesus is the source and foundation of anything and everything that is true. Truth is necessarily a characteristic of who He is. It is not just an idea, a philosophy, or a collection of wise sayings; it is not governed by our ever-changing emotions and desires; and it is not something that can be denied or changed just because we choose to. Christians must not live like truth is lost, changing, or unimportant, because Jesus is always with us (Hebrews 13:5), His character never changes (James 1:17), and we will give an account for everything we have done (1 Corinthians 3:13).
How thankful should we be that God has revealed the Truth to us by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to this Earth to live the life we should have lived, to die the death we deserved to die, and to rise again proving He is everything He said He was?!
In other words, unlike those car keys, we didn’t have to go and find God, (which we couldn’t do anyway), rather, He found us!
And even more than that, God used His Holy Spirit, whom John calls the “Spirit of Truth” (John 14:17), to write down His Word, that is, His truth, so that we can read, believe, and come to know Jesus better each day. By God’s sovereign grace, we have an answer to Pilate’s question that plagues so many! Through the Bible, God’s written Word, we can know and grow in our understanding of and obedience to the truth.
Truth is staring us in the face, if we would just pick it up and read it.
Now, what is the result of being able to know the truth? Jesus says in John 8:32 that it will make us free. The question is, free from what? Thankfully, Jesus’ answer to that question is way better than anything we think we want.