Wednesday in the Thirty-First Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 27:2, 11-14; Mark 15:1-5; Luke 23:1-5; John 18:28-38

What Is Truth?

Matters are moving very quickly now.  The chief priests want this done and over by Passover.  So they are at Pilate’s headquarters early in the morning.  Pilate is governor over Judea, a place that Rome had designated a hotspot for riots and so installed one of their own to govern the city directly with lots of soldiers.  And the city is already astir, a matter that weighs heavily on Pilate.  Whatever happens, he can’t lose control over the people.  The chief priests know this and will use it to their advantage.  They approach Pilate, not with accusations of blasphemy for which Pilate could care less, but indicting Jesus with misleading the nation, stirring up the people, forbidding the people to pay taxes to Caesar, and calling himself, “Christ, a king.”

Which, of course, are all lies.  But intriguingly enough, in the midst of these falsehoods, Pilate takes Jesus aside to discuss…well, truth.  Pilate first asks Jesus if he is the king of the Jews, no doubt a ridiculous claim in Pilate’s eyes as he beholds this beaten-up, ordinary man.  Jesus answers that his kingdom is not of this world.  Now Jesus could still call twelve legions of angels to his rescue, but why would he?  Our Lord is not interested in inheriting the kingdoms of this world as they are, but in redeeming them and thereby making them fit for the world to come.  Pilate then answers, “So you are a king.”  Jesus’ response is filled with more mystery than Pilate can endure: “You say that I am a king.  For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”  Pilate then says, “What is truth?”

Was Pilate being snarky, sincere, waxing philosophical?  We don’t know.  It seems he just walked away.  No doubt, he views Jesus as a religious fanatic, and a person who is no threat to Rome.  But Pilate has real-time political realities to deal with and no time for philosophical discussions.  Pilate was not “of the truth,” and so could not hear what Jesus would say.  He didn’t care.  Only those who are of the truth can hear Jesus’ voice.  And when they do hear it, it’s not philosophy they hear, nor deep religious doctrine that will make their head explode.  When people hear Jesus, it’s a still small voice working on the inside as the Holy Spirit applies his words to their hearts.  The word from Jesus that the Spirit applies brings its own proof, its own testimony, its own assurance, for which the believer (or the one whom the Spirit is bringing to saving faith) needs no confirmation from the world.  The one enlightened by the Spirit hears Jesus say, “Here is the good way; walk in it” (Jeremiah 6:16).  Pilate had no time for that; neither does the world.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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