John 18: 37-38 Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” “What is truth?” retorted Pilate.
Whatever your understanding about the bible as the word of God, there is no denying that as literature it has moments of great drama and this is one of them. The power of the Roman Empire stands face to face with the one who claims the authority of God almighty. In the end Pilate is the one who blinks shrugging off Jesus with the quip, “what is truth?” So, what is truth? When I mouse over the word and look up synonyms I get “fact, certainty, reality, actuality, veracity, verity, accuracy.” You can ask, “what are the facts?” but I’m not sure that is the same thing as finding the truth. You could say “of what am I certain?” but, again, would that be the same thing as “what is truth?” Truth must encompass matters of the mind but it doesn’t stop there. It has an element that is perceived with the heart and soul as well. We are used to a world that decides what it wants to believe, or wants you to believe (think about the past elections) and then spins the data and the emotions surrounding it to fit those purposes. It is a tiring, difficult thing to ask yourself what you really know, what you really see, what you really believe and Pilate wanted no part of that. Would we even know truth if it smacked us in the face? Jesus had and has this effect on people. We may not know or understand all the facts about God or creation or the meaning of life, but Jesus claimed he could put us in touch with the truth. Will you do the hard work of looking at yourself, your world, your beliefs, in a stripped down, gut level way? Might that be your advent journey this year, one that points to a stable and a manger and one who claims “the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.”