Theme of the Week: Roads to Easter
Bible Verse: “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.” John 18:38
Scripture Reading: John 18:28-40
Jesus had already been through a difficult night: a spiritual battle, friends who could not stay alert with him in a moment of need, betrayal by a close follower, violence by another, and abandonment by all of them. Then He stood before the religious leaders, the irony must not have been lost on Jesus. The group meant to publicly draw people closer to God was taking God in the flesh away from them, in the quiet secrecy of the night.
Now, Jesus stood before Pilate. We can see this event as the king of the universe standing before the puppet of a national occupying force. The former standing meek and silent, the latter blustering and amused.
The ensuing conversation recorded by the apostle John.
Pilate is remembered best for one line of this conversation. “What is truth?”
We tend to read that question with a post-modern irony, but that’s probably putting too much into a first-century mind. Pilate may have been a trendsetter in some respects, but worldview was probably not one of them. (In the NIV, it is said that Pilate “retorted” to Jesus’s statement about testifying to the truth. But the word translated “retorted” is λέγω, which simply means “to say.”)
What if Pilate was asking an honest question? Jesus said that He came to testify to the truth and perhaps Pilate wanted to know what that truth was. Rather than a sarcastic, dismissive ruler, we have a curious investigator asking Jesus a question of significance . . . not unlike other leaders who asked Jesus questions privately because they didn’t understand (see Nicodemus in John 3).
Pilate went out to say that he found no fault in Jesus, despite the fact that Jesus admitted his kingship—a treasonous claim and one worthy of capital punishment in Roman law. Pilate wanted, like we all do, to know Jesus. To understand Him and ask important questions.
To the end, Jesus was meeting people where they were, even if they were playing a role in what (humanly speaking) was a horrendous miscarriage of justice. Jesus was never off his mission.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you that what you do is always connected to who you are, and that you can be found when we seek you. Thank you that you welcome my questions.
Reflection: Can you relate to Pilate? What about Jesus confuses you that you would like an answer to?
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