“What is truth?” (Pontius Pilate; in John 18:38)
When Jesus stood before the governor, Pontius Pilate, these words were the end of their time together. Jesus was talking about why He came – to be a voice of truth – and Pilate dismisses Him, and the subject, with his glib retort. End of discussion. Pilate was not asking Jesus a question – he was making a comment on where their conversation was heading… “Truth?” Pilate was saying: “Endless folly. Irrelevant to my interests. Unimportant, in the whole scheme of life.” Case closed.
As we survey the climate of our own culture, it seems we are very quickly adopting Pilate’s approach to truth. It is becoming quite popular to believe that standards of truth are irrelevant to modern society: “Truth is what we make it. Truth is what seems right to you. Truth is not hard and fast, truth is always shifting – as we evolve as human beings.” The echoes of Pilate’s voice are still ringing in our collective ears.
The real question is… Does truth matter? Are there really standards of truth, by which we all should live?
Let’s look at it this way… Would you knowingly choose to live in a house where the builder never used a plumb line… or a level… or a tape measure for any of his measurements. The builder just “eye-balled” everything, and then did his best to hide all his mistakes and miscalculations (because, not so surprisingly, there were thousands of them!). You openly wonder why nothing, in the house, fits right – or why everything looks so (obviously) slapped together. Ultimately, you are never quite sure that the house is even safe to live in – because if what you see doesn’t look right, what about all the important stuff you can’t readily see?
The fact is: Builders use plumb lines, levels and tape measures because they are the things which insure a properly built structure. They do not trust in their own abilities, or expertise, to make things right. They all turn to things beyond themselves to assure their houses are solidly, and appropriately, built – and that they will stand the test of time. Their reputations are on the line – and a shoddily built house reflects upon them, personally!
In much the same way, we cannot afford to rely upon our own thinking, or society’s current values, to determine if our own personal “house” is in order. This is why truth matters. And real truth comes from beyond ourselves – as the standards by which all our decisions should be considered, and made.
Jesus said to Pilate: “For this reason I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.” (John 18:37)
Jesus came to offer us a “plumb line, a level, and tape measure” to build our own personal lives – and to build them to stand the test of our time on this earth.
The most important thing that any of us can do is to recognize this fact. Listening to Jesus is not just a religious practice – it assures that every area of our lives is built upon a solid and lasting foundation.
Prayer focus: God, let me be a seeker of truth, and a compassionate follower of Jesus and His words…