What is Truth?
“What is truth?' said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer.
When Pilate asked “what is Truth,” he did not (as Francis Bacon points out) stick around for an answer. The Gospel does not tell us Jesus’ answer, if he gave one; but rather the narrative continues with Pilate moving on with the matter.
This is not hard to understand. Pilate’s query wasn’t a question at all, it was a defense. A flip remark meant to let Jesus know that he simply wasn’t interested. Or perhaps he had been interested in truth once, long ago; but the weariness of life had purged Pilate of any hope of finding it.
There are people who are done looking for the truth. Some believe they will never find it. Others believe they have already found it, and they don’t need to know anything else. When they ask “what is truth?”, they ask it with either irony or arrogance.
Other people ask that same question and actually desire an answer. These are the truth-seekers, pilgrims who are on a journey to find the answer, whatever it is. They are looking for reality--what is actual and not simply perceived. They are looking for the source of knowledge and wisdom.
Along that road, there are many people who will offer advise. “The truth is in this book,” or “the truth is in this TV show,” or “the truth is in science” or “the truth is in yourself.” There are many directions that the search can take you. All of these directions have something interesting, something exciting, that make them at least seem valuable. However, most of these will lead people to a dead end.
Some people believe that the truth is a feeling or an experience. Some believe it is a series of facts or ideas. Some believe it is a lifestyle. I believe that the truth is a person, everything he says and everything he does and everything he is. I believe that the truth is Jesus Christ. Not simply that the truth is found in Jesus Christ, or that he teaches the truth or knows the truth, but that he is the truth.
Because the truth is a person, I will never come to the end of it. I will never come to the end of Him. There are true things I can say about Jesus. The Creeds and the Scriptures tell me a great deal about him. I can be sure that Jesus is who he says he is--the Lord, the Savior, the Redeemer, and so much more.
But he is not just a series of names or theological thoughts. He is a person. And just like (and certainly more than) any person, knowing him is an endless adventure of exploration. And so the truth is a revealed mystery, and a hidden reality. We can know the truth, but we can’t possibly know all the depths of him. Blessed be God who reveals himself to us, and yet is greater than we will ever comprehend.
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