“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
“What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him."
In this passage Pilate asks such a provocative question of Jesus, "What is truth?", that we eagerly wait to hear what his answer is. This is our chance to finally settle one of the great philosophical questions of all time. Here is the Son of God himself here to tell us exactly what truth is. And yet Jesus disappoints. He doesn't answer the question.
I've recently heard some suggest that perhaps Pilate simply didn't wait around long enough to hear Jesus' answer. Maybe Jesus had the perfect definition ready to give him (and us), if only Pilate had waited around to hear it. Maybe...
Or maybe Jesus didn't answer because he didn't have the kind of answer Pilate was looking for. Maybe Jesus' silence is a heavy silence, full of significance. Maybe he was silent on the question of truth, because he knew that the question "What is truth?" could never be answered with simple philosophical propositions.
Didn't he say, just a few chapter before, that "I am the truth"? Maybe he couldn't give Pilate the kind of answer he was looking for, because truth, in its essence, is not merely propositional but personal, not definable through words but knowable only in relationship. Maybe to know truth we need to know Christ. And not just know things about him, but know him by experiencing him in real tangible ways through his body the church. Maybe Jesus couldn't tell Pilate what truth was unless Pilate was willing to enter a relationship with him, because truth is only possible in relationship.
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