The question over 1900 years ago is the same as it is today, “What is Truth?”
John 18:33-37: 33 Then Pilate went back into the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about me?”35 “I’m not a Jew, am I?” Pilate replied. “Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 “My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37 “You are a king then?” Pilate asked.
The Kingdom of Heaven came down to earth. We know this because Jesus was born of a virgin. Lived a sinless life. Died a sinners death. And rose from the dead by the Power of God.
Matthew 18:1-5: 1 At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “So who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a small child and had him stand among them. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “unless you turn and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child—this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one child like this in my name welcomes me.
Take a minute and think about children. What do all children have in common? A genuine, authentic, humble, and caring attitude towards all people. What do all adults have in common? We can be brash, harsh, negative, and critical over any little thing that we don’t like.
To believe in Jesus is to have a heart change that equals the character of a child. Some people believe they have the spiritual gift of negativity and criticism. If that’s you, you dishonor the name of Christ. If that’s you, I beg you to repent. I beg you to come to Jesus and stop the selfish bantering for your own desires.
We don’t have to say everything we think.
Let me say that again:
We don’t have to say everything we think.
Proverbs 18:21: Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Luke 6:45: A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.
Proverbs 13:3: The one who guards his mouth protects his life; the one who opens his lips invites his own ruin.
“A grocery store cashier wrote to advice columnist Ann Landers to complain that she had seen people buy birthday cakes and bags of shrimp with their food stamps. People on welfare who treated themselves to such non-necessities were “lazy and wasteful,” the writer said. A few weeks later, Landers’ column was devoted entirely to responses to that letter. One woman wrote, “I didn’t buy a cake, but I did buy a big bag of shrimp with food stamps. So what? My husband had been working at a plant for fifteen years when it shut down. The shrimp casserole I made was for our wedding anniversary dinner and lasted three days. Perhaps the grocery clerk who criticized that woman would have a different view of life after walking a mile in my shoes.” Another woman wrote, “I’m the woman who bought the $17 cake and paid for it with food stamps. I thought the checkout woman in the store would burn a hole through me with her eyes. What she didn’t know is the cake was for my little girl’s birthday. It will be her last. She has bone cancer and will probably be gone within six to eight months.”
You never know what other people are dealing with.
Instead of thinking we have the gift of criticism and negativity, we should act like a child and grow some humility in the way we speak of and treat people.
Now that we further defined God’s Kingdom. And we know our place in it, let’s continue.
John 18:37-40: 37 “You are a king then?” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 “What is truth?” said Pilate. After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no grounds for charging him. 39 You have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at the Passover. So, do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” 40 They shouted back, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.
Now, we all live in the same world, right? We experience this shifting truth all the time. This has actually made it more difficult to do God’s work. I can remember speaking with people about Jesus just 8 years ago, 8 years ago it was much easier to speak about Biblical truth than it is today.
This is why we never give up as a church and keep reaching people where they are.
Pilate asked a legitimate question. We, as Christians, should have a legitimate answer. But, before we get to the answer:
I want to expose the Jewish officials’ view of truth.
Whether or not you noticed this before, The Jewish council exercised subjective truth while handing Jesus over to Pilate. You see, they believed in a version of the truth they studied. There is no doubt these were men of God’s law. They could recite it at the snap of a finger and expound it for hours.
However, look at this:
John 18:39-40: 39 You have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at the Passover. So, do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” 40 They shouted back, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.
The Jewish leadership believed their own version of the truth. They wanted a vile criminal to be released instead of Jesus, who harmed no one! Think about that.
“My best friend, Wayne, and I were playing at his families house when we were 11 years old. We fought a lot but we really enjoyed playing together so we just took it. This particular day we thought it would be a good idea to get into a physical scuffle. You know back in the day when you just nuked it out with your boys and ya’ll were good after. Well, his dad heard us scuffling so he came out like Stone Cold Steve Austin. This man is huge and his voice sounds like he looks. So we cower our way inside and he told us, “You will not play outside until someone tells the truth about what happened. I tell my friend Wayne he needs to admit to starting it so we can play. He denies that it was him over and over. At this point it’s been 10 minutes and it feels like a week. You know how it is being young. I finally walk up to Wayne’s dad and lie saying I started it just so we can go play. Of course, I received a 15 minute lecture about being a man of integrity and all that stuff. The point is, Wayne’s truth was different from my truth.”
The Jewish officials were willing to do whatever they had to to protect their truth. Even though they couldn’t consider the fact that they may be wrong. A vile criminal was released instead of the most innocent man on earth. Pilate tried to release Jesus; however, due to politics his hands were tied. We know this was to fulfill God’s plan for us.
“What is Truth?”
TRUTH is God said it.
NOT you feel it.
TRUTH is Jesus ushered in a Heavenly Kingdom here on earth.
NOT a Kingdom of your making.
TRUTH is what God did and will do.
NOT what you think should be done.
TRUTH has already been declared and sustained.
NOT made up and pitched to society in a selfish ploy manufactured by us.
God is over all that He created. God holds the stars in the Galaxies and makes planets move. God grows the grass and is in control of each weather element. God is huge and magnificent, yet intimate. God is all knowing and all present.
God loves. God loves us so much that He did something no Father would dare to do. He gave His one and only Son to die the death you deserve. You and I deserve that death because of the sin in our life. Jesus took the punishment of our very own sin upon Himself. We call that atonement. He atoned for our sins making us white as snow,
“Now, as you see here my kids thoroughly enjoyed Momma Nichole’s creation. However, our yard doesn’t normally look like this. Usually it is very brown during the winter. The snow changed the look and the actual reality of our yard.”
Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, He changes the look and reality of those who believe in Him. We are viewed by God as sinless and spotless because of the Passover Lamb, If we believe.
Romans 5:6-11:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. 8 But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 How much more then, since we have now been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. 11 And not only that, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation.
That’s the truth. The truth is that we can’t match God’s standard, And Jesus made a way for us to be viewed by God as sinless and clean. This doesn’t mean we don’t sin when we believe. It means that Jesus paid the price; therefore, granting us life.